MaximusAugust 18, 2014
Slaters in the woodwork
When I was a young fish, helping my Dad stack the timber in the woodshed, there always used to be shiny silver slaters running for cover as we shifted the timber. I remember that on occasions, when loading the wood into the fire, a slater would still be marooned on a log as we placed it into the burning grate, and there would be a satisfying little sizzle as the creature lept off the log and perished, tiny legs shriveling in the heat of the flames, and fat little body curling up until it turned to dust.
There is another Slater around these days, about as welcome as those slaters of old, but a lot more nasty, and this one can’t be got rid of quite so easily. I’ve always thought that the “Well I’ll be fooked” website was hugely obnoxious and amazed that grown people want to read or interact with that sort of shit, but apparently I’m in a minority, and the more vile, gutter-sniping crap he writes, the more that his rabidly right-wing audience lap it up. The fact that he has been so publicly and strongly linked to JohnKey also fills me with revulsion for the whole of Team National, and I want to have nothing to do with such scummy, pond-life politics. I hope that they all burn in hell and they deserve to go down together in a screaming heap of nasty, back-biting bitchiness. I really don’t want to have anything to do with a political system that encourages or facilitates that sort of a blog. It gives blogging a bad name…
It intrigues me, however, that apparently the Blog, as a form of medium, has apparently officially died. That’s clearly news to me, who continues to blog on, apparently pointlessly, but clearly not to my former fellow writers, who have all abandoned me to my pointless existence. And clearly not news to Slater, Farrar, Bradbury et al, who continue to blog on regardless. Jason Kottke says, in his article “The blog is dead, long live the blog” that:
“Sometime in the past few years, the blog died. In 2014, people will finally notice. Sure, blogs still exist, many of them are excellent, and they will go on existing and being excellent for many years to come. But the function of the blog, the nebulous informational task we all agreed the blog was fulfilling for the past decade, is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like but also decidedly not blogs.
Instead of blogging, people are posting to Tumblr, tweeting, pinning things to their board, posting to Reddit, Snapchatting, updating Facebook statuses, Instagramming, and publishing on Medium. In 1997, wired teens created online diaries, and in 2004 the blog was king. Today, teens are about as likely to start a blog (over Instagramming or Snapchatting) as they are to buy a music CD. Blogs are for 40-somethings with kids.”
Bugger. I’m not even forty and I forgot to have kids. Indeed, I’d argue that you can’t have kids and a blog – surely they are mutually exclusive attractions – they each take up as much time, but one costs a lot more money than the other.
But I’m dismayed that Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter are seen as valid forms of interaction. They just all seem so banal. Twitter, especially so. One of my good friends is a frequent user of Twitter, which I refuse to use, as it just encourages inanity. This friend used to be a frequenter of this website, but now no longer, instead preferring to spout off 140 character spurts into the ether, and nothing of value is said or done, nor any real value comes out of it. In return, other friends spurt one liners back again, all so much random loads of old wank. Other people i know prefer to post Instagram pictures of their food, amusing once, pehaps, but every fucking night! Come on! Or a friend who moved to New York, greatest city on the planet, and all she does is take photos of her shoes, on unidentifiable pieces of New York pavement. Frankly, Katherine, I don’t have time for that crap.
It’s all just so… well, banal really. We are missing the careful thought processes and valued comments that are afforded by a well-written reply to my (hopefully) carefully provocative pieces. The newspaper is clearly dead, or very much dying, in Western culture, and having skim-read “The End of Print”? the other day about the systematic destruction of Fairfax by its owners, I’d only give the Dom Post a couple more years to go before it disappears up its own orifice in a puff of yellowing newsprint smoke. At present, it is only serving as a platform on which Pac’n’Save and Countdown and New World can display their banal full-page double-spread adverts for raw meat and coca cola. On this weekend’s Weekend edition, in a 24-page section A, there was at least 13 pages of full-spread advertising, nearly all for supermarkets, Dick Smiths, Harvey Norman, or Smiths City. Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn, for your sausages and spam. I’ve had enough, and don’t plan to ever buy a newspaper again in this country.
But if not a blog, if not a newspaper, if not on television, then where do we have intelligent conversation about matters that are important? (Clearly not on television, which is now just running back-to-back adverts for new seasons of more banal reality shows – I’m sick of seeing adverts for The Block, and the show hasn’t even started yet!) The mawkish out-pouring of sentimentality for Robin Williams on TV and Facebook over the past few days – has no one realized that he was a walking advert for manic depression? You just don’t get someone so brilliant, so funny, so manic in his acting method, without there being a downside too. Having a close friend who is manic-depressive, I understand how the two go hand in hand. But having post after post by friends on Facebook saying Nanoo Nanoo RIP, just about drove me up the wall. Perhaps I should delete my Twitter feed (unused anyway), delete any interest I had in Pinterest, untangle my Tumblr, stop my DomPost subscription, kill off all Facebook-related activity, and just go back to books. Perhaps lock myself in a nice quiet dark room, with a book. And nothing else.
In other news today, Site 10 is back again, without a top floor or a rooftop public garden. Yawn. I’m over it.