Saturday, September 15, 2007

Radar Magazine Names Blogging as Overrated

Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
As a subscriber to Radar Magazine since it's auspicious beginnings, I have had many a good chuckle and even felt a bit enlightened at times. The magazine is irreverent, no-B.S., and filled with interesting information. It has covered everything from Tom Cruise's odd behavior to a behind the scenes look at how the soldiers fare in Iraq.

When I received the new issue in the mail today I expected no less then an excellent read. The cover featuring Becks and Posh was a sure sign that "overrated" people and things were going to be taken to task. I thought it was pretty cool until I realized that Blogging was being taken to task as one of those things. The quote by Erica Jong is as follows:

"Blogging is vanity. Like loving the smell of your own farts. Like not only tasting your menstrual blood, but making bloody thumbprints and buying gold-leafed frames in which to display them. But the truth is, not everything you think is worth publishing. Not everyone's opinion matters. How to distinguish a "pundit" from a gasbag? Impossible! On television, they yell and posture. On blogs, they are equally puffed up with self-importance. Only blog if you can make others laugh. This includes laughing at yourself."

Pretty heavy stuff, huh? After my initial astonishment at reading the whole "menstrual blood" comment, I really had to consider what Ms. Jong said. Certainly she had to be referring to bloggers other then me, right? Hmmmm...

Probably not.

That being said, I know that there are a dirth of people who blog about comic books and the genre in general. What sets us apart from the general statement about blogging being made? Is it the fact that we are being more specific about our references? Is it that we are each fulfilling a need in ourselves by not staying silent? What is it that drives us?

I can only speak for myself, but I know exactly why I blog. I feel passionate about my "hobby". It is important to me to make my thoughts known, even if no one else will read them. Lately I have been finding myself blogging to find out what others think as well, and to foster discussion. I feel a sense of community with many of the people I interact with, and I feel blessed with their presence. I know that others don't always agree with me, but I have always stated the importance of the First Amendment right of free speech, even though it sometimes hurts.

So that is why I blog.

Either that, or I am a self-deluded sociopath. Heh.

I am going to go with reason "A".

That being said, the comment by Ms. Jong really got me thinking. What about you? What is your response to her words? Is Radar Magazine right? Is blogging overrated?

What do you think?


James Meeley said...

I don't think blogging is overrated, just some of the people who blog. The line about "loving the smell of one's own farts" could describe quite a few blogger I've read.

Sorry, gang, I'm not naming names. ;)

Nick said...

This probably isn't the most eloquent way of retorting back to Ms Jong but, if I were to comment to her how I felt on her opinion I think my thoughts could best be summed up in two words:


Firstly people who think blogging is overrated probably don't know where to even read a blog, let alone how to post one. Secondly, blogging in general is a way not just for people in the US to go on about their favorite hobbies, hectic days, etc, but, it is a way for the WORLD to make their voice heard. Though not celebrated in all countries freedom of speech is a human right that should be respected in all it's forms. Sure there are some assholes who blog who I couldn't give a flip about but, in that same breath most people probably couldn't give a horses' ass on how I feel about Booster Gold, or why in the world I still read X-Factor. Community is key I do believe but, more then that blogging has opened up a new avenue for a person to voice their feelings and views on a global scale. Blogging helps us look to other ideas and thoughts, other sides to things, and not just what the general news stations shove down our throat as right and wrong. Through blogging we are provided another avenue from which to comment and define ourselves.

Sorry, kinda went on non-sensical rant. The gist of this all was blogging is great and she's a wanker, lol.

Elayne said...

Blogging is overrated in the same way any writing is overrated. It's kind of like Sturgeon's Law, 95% of any entertainment is probably bullshit. But 5% of blogs, any kind of blogs (political, cultural, personal, industrial, etc.), is still an amazing number. For those of us who've been doing one-to-many writing since long before blogging existed, this latest pronouncement is nothing new. Those who can't do something well usually wind up disparaging it.

Anonymous said...

"That being said, the comment by Ms. Jong really got me thinking. What about you? What is your response to her words? Is Radar Magazine right? Is blogging overrated?"

What I see in Jong's nasty quote is actually a little fear on her part...since most internet-savvy people enjoy material from a wide spectrum of sources...and not just her little "Dead Tree" magazine realm. See, for decade upon decade, self-proclaimed "good writers" like Jong were the opinion-spewers that mattered (or so they thought)...but now the internet has tossed so many of those old assumption and old ways of transmitting information out the window, you can see where some of Jong's venom comes from.

Of course, 80% of the blogosphere is either dull, redundant, or I'm not saying everything done by the common man is spun gold...but at the same time, 80% of the so-called "real media" is crap, it all kinda balances out. In the mean time, I get to connect an amazing number of people from around my planet that like the same things I do and, if I'm lucky, I can become their friends.

Like you and your hubby, Heidi! In fact, I'd much rather be YOUR friend that a shrill, bitter pill like Ms. Jong.

We bloggers will just keep doing what we like to hell with the wordsmith glitteratti. They'll be blogging with the rest of us once the magazines finally drop into the junkheap of history.

Lisa said...

That menstrual part - yikes! One of the most offensive analogies I've read in a long time.

As far as blogging being overrated, is writing in a magazine overrated? How is putting her opinion there on paper any more or less important than writing it in a blog? At least with a blog you're not paying to read it. I'm betting she got paid something to write those comments - and I know most bloggers don't get paid.

Sure, there are bad blogs out there, lots of them. And sure, there are bloggers who think that their opinion is the one and only opinion on the matter and all others are simply stupid and wrong. But people don't have to read those.

Everyone can choose what blog to read, or what magazine to buy, what TV program to watch. There are hundreds of cable and satellite TV stations playing thousands of programs a day, and still they want more because there are still more nitches to fill. Blogging is like that. The majority of people today are information junkies and want hundreds of options to view and read and watch.

I know I've met some really great people thanks to my blog and the blogs of others like Heidi, Elayne and Mark. In a smaller community like comic book fandom, people almost need blogs in order to be able to communicate with each other because the small community is spread so far and wide.

Heidi Meeley said...

Nick. That was incredible. I got a bit misty reading it. I like the way you condensed your feelings on this issue to be sure. :-)

I have always felt that blogging is a great way to use my First Amendment rights. It is my own little corner of the world, and the sense of community I have felt is unmatched by most other feelings. I am sure that non-comics readers are repulsed in general by my blog, and that is cool with me. It is the fact that I can express myself the way I see fit that drives me, not the adulations of others, even though that is not always a bad end result.

Freedom of expression is an inalienable right and for Ms. Jong to believe herself a foremost expert on the subject is a laughable pretense that makes me wonder what she is putting in her coffee.

Nick, once again, nicely put.

Heidi Meeley said...

Elayne, that is absolutely true. I love your remark that "Those who can't do something well usually wind up disparaging it."

After reading Ms. Jong's remarks, I was left wondering if she even knows how to turn a computer on.

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, your remarks hit home with me. I agree that the wordsmiths of old are most likely not at all attracted to the new school of thought. Many of the "names" that have risen in the advent of the internet are maybe not the expected glitterati of the past. There isn't a cocktail party atmosphere of elitism. The internet can be a great equalizer.

What the internet has done is give everyone a voice, whether it be well spoken, well read, or the polar opposite. Every age and every subsection of our culture can respond to any subject that moves them. That is an astonishing thought to digest.

If we are lucky, like I have been, we can meet people and make friendships based on mutual respect and interests. I really feel that way about you and several of the other people that comment here. It is an opportunity for fellowship I would never have otherwise had and I treasure it.

Here's a toast to the great equalizer and a big raspberry to Ms. Jong.

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, the menstrual comment in general repulsed me as well. I felt it went a bit far, but evidently it helped the lady get her point across.

I think you and Mark make very important points that fellowship and friendship are valuable currency that is the result of this interaction. Twenty years ago, I would never have been able to meet you- what a sad thought. To know that there are people like you, Nick, Mark, and Elayne out there, just further serves to remind me of the value of this tool.

While I agree that not every blogger is bringing greatness to the world, I must certainly yell to the skies that it is the right and joy of all of us to have that opportunity.

You speak true Lisa.

Vaklam said...

Quotes like Jong's remind me of Andrew Keen's "Cult of the Amateur" blather. Yes, there's bad stuff out there but if we threw out entire forms of expression because they contained bad art or crappy writing we'd have no TV or radio or stage plays or newspapers or anything.

It's all about scale.

Carl said...

Erica Jong?! Ummmm, from the 70's erotica-passing-as-mainstream-fiction Erica Jong?! Two sentences come to mind:

1. Whoa, she's still alive?!

2. How relevant is an erotic fiction writer from the 70's in 2007?

Yeah and wow, reading her rancid retort, I am kind of glad I never picked up one of her novels, especially if anything other then regular sex was involved, bleahhh...

Siskoid said...

Whenever you hear about blogging in the media, it's always those political blogs (the only context in which I've ever heard the word "pundit" as well). So she's not talking about us. She doesn't even know we exist.

Probably asked someone at the office what "blogging" means and went from there.

Lisa said...

siskoid - while I agree that she probably doesn't even know about us - meaning the comic book fan bloggers, I don't think that she is only referring to politics.

Her menstrual comment specifically targets feminist bloggers. Maybe only feminist bloggers who blog about political issues or feminism alone, but still, it was a direct attack against feminist bloggers.

Heidi Meeley said...

Vaklam, that is certainly true. For the amount of crap found online, there is also gold. Obviously Ms. Jong hasn't mined the field!

Heidi Meeley said...

Siskoid, your comment "Probably asked someone at the office what "blogging" means and went from there." struck a chord with me. God knows that is probably what happened. People who don't embrace the internet tend to fear it.

Interesting point.

Heidi Meeley said...

Lisa, you make a good point as well. What is it about Ms. Jong busting on the females out there? I am not sure how metaphorically she meant it, but it left me cold. I found the menstrual comment to be offensive for the most part. I am sure she used it for shock value, so I guess it worked. :-)