Tuesday, April 18, 2006

An Unoriginal Contribution To Human Thought

Currently plumbing the depths of sleep deprivation and mental exhaustion after spending the whole weekend trying to assemble 5,000 words on how the blogosphere is giving rise to a New Folk Culture.

Betty, incidentally, has done this infinitely better and more entertainingly in just a few short paragraphs.

Sometimes I find this topic very exciting, and sometimes I think "but blogging - it's really just one huge wanky Islington dinner party, isn't it?". Anyway, the 5,000 words are done now, and some of them make sense, and there are properly formatted footnotes, and I probably mentioned Gramsci, as one is supposed to, and I criticised Howard Rheingold for not covering certain topics in enough detail (Yeah *Howard*, get back to your desk this instant, you feckless layabout).

And when I wasn't doing that I was out delivering election leaflets for my new friends the Lib Dems, so you can see how exciting a weekend it was. The Lib Dems in my council ward all have terribly posh names, which makes me worry slightly about their appeal to the ragbag local electorate, but hey, they've got me, Woman of the People, as a footsoldier, so perhaps they'll be OK.

Rounded off the weekend by having a torrid dream about my long-lost cat returning with a huge gaping wound where its ear used to be, while a fellow blogger (mentioning no names, of course) attempted to ravish me on a pink sofa as World War Three broke out around us.

On waking up it occurred to me that this is not dissimilar to the final scene in Vile Bodies. It could be a portent, or it could just be because I ate too much mashed potato (again) last night. Who knows?


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37 comments:

ScroobiousScrivener said...

Well, if it was a pink sofa, it must have been me. P, I'm touched. I didn't know you felt that way. *blushes prettily*

So why should I vote Lib Dem then? I really want to know.

patroclus said...

This is just between us though, right, Scroob? Whatever would happen if Mr Scroobious found out?

Well here in Hammersmith & Fulham, voting Lib Dem will ensure that metal rubbish gets recycled, that Allied Carpets don't expand their satanic temple of Mammon opposite the Seven Stars, and that the streets are cleaner.

But I'm generally trying to keep politics out of my blog, because I can't bear arguments.

james henry said...

My MP is Lib Dem (hurray), but six years younger than me (boo).

Six.

Jesus/

patroclus said...

That's exactly why I stopped voting for the Green party. It shouldn't matter, but somehow it does.

Spinsterella said...

I'm voting Green these days. One of them might even win a council seat here in South Brizzle. Might.

But the greens and the yellows can get along harmoniously, eh?

Anyhow, what I meant to say was:

1 - can we read your essay? Go on!

2 - don't be silly, nobody's gonna invite ME to a wanky dinner party in Islington.

Vicus Scurra said...

Hey Spinsterella, I am having a wanky dinner party in Islington. Would you like to come.
I am aware that 'wanky' and 'Islington' constitute tautology.

Tabby Rabbit said...

>>blogging - really just one huge wanky Islington dinner party>>

I do hope that's not your title...

Chaucer's Bitch said...

you've finished your 5k word thingy, so this is probably too late and may not be relevant anyways, BUT...

blogging as a new folk culture has been a godsend to me. i have asperger's syndrome, and it makes it near impossible for me to distinguish faces or interpret facial expressions. the resulting difficulties of social interactions are many, varied, and frustrating. this has led me to rely more on words and explicit statements from others than your average bear. blogging has been a godsend because interacting online eliminates all the things that trip me up, ie facial expressions and body language, and depends entirely on the one thing that doesn't confuse me: words. It's BRILLIANT! The Blogosphere subculture has added a whole new dimension to my life, and probably hundreds if not thousands more like me.

If this is of any interest to you, I'd be happy to discuss it further. (you know where to find me.) if not, i'm awfully sorry for leaving such a long and rediculous comment.

patroclus said...

CB, that is indeed very interesting, and I can relate to a lot of what you say.

I'm OK with facial expressions and all that, but I don't like the physical world generally because I don't like being looked at. Also, spoken words don't seem 'real' to me, so I either forget to listen to them or I can't remember what people said, and I hate talking because to me, talking is just making stupid noises while people look at you, which is horrible.

Sorry, didn't mean to go into quite so much detail there. The essay was only a part of the overall 18,000 word dissertation, so there's plenty to go. I'm also semi-considering (since about three minutes ago) writing a book about blogging, in which your experiences would go into a chapter about how in blogworld, our words *are* our bodies. And I've been known to develop crushes on people because of the way they write (as opposed to what they write), which is quite...interesting.

But essentially the dissertation is now about how people produce and share their own cultural goods in the blogosphere, generally for no money, and what - if anything - this means for the mass culture industries like film and TV and book publishing and that. Very interesting stuff if you ask me.

patroclus said...

PS I cannot believe I just said I was thinking of writing a book. I am categorically *not* thinking of writing a book. But if I was, that's what it would be about.

surly girl said...

dissertations? books?

oh, if only i had the motivation. instead, all i can think about now is mashed potatoes, and it's only ten o'clock.

Pashmina said...

Re: pink sofa - oh go on, give us a clue...

(none of your high-minded theories about the cultural significance of online discourse here)

patroclus said...

Well, it was someone who in real (i.e. non-dream) life I wouldn't expect to have a pink sofa, still less be proud of it. And that's all I'm saying on the matter, heh heh.

Pashmina said...

Imagination running riot now..

patroclus said...

On the other hand, I can't actually think of any bloggers whom I *would* expect to have a pink sofa, except Scroob, and that's only because I know she's got one. Two, in fact.

ScroobiousScrivener said...

Plus an armchair.

We have *got* to move.

entropy said...

Turning up late to the discussion on words vs real time ... I rely an awful lot on non-verbal cues when I'm talking to people (especially as I can see if I've lost them entirely, since I am a fast talker, and do that annoying thing where the first two stages of the train of thought have already taken place in my head before I open my mouth), so I have a morbid fear of dealing with people I don't know over the phone where I'm deprived of this. Which means in theory I more sense in cyberspace than meat space.

entropy said...

Er, "make more sense".

james henry said...

Nicely done.

albert said...

I'm confused. What is 'meat space.'? Is it like a meat locker?

patroclus said...

Like a huge, spherical meat locker with six billion seething human bodies in it. Brrr. Meatspace is horrible.

Arabella said...

I can relate to the 'style crush'. This was how I felt about Muriel Spark when I began reading her. Had a bit of a cry when I read she died on Sunday. What a gal.

Dave again said...

I haven't got a pink sofa.

Just thought I ought to clear that up.

Oh, and I'm not here either, in case anyone goes looking for me.

patroclus said...

Have no fear, Dave, it wasn't you.

Dave again said...

*crushed*

GreatSheElephant said...

never mind all that, what about the cat? I thought it had come back. Or is there a second missing cat?

First Nations said...

i want to read your essay too.
cool subject, p. i was just talking about this with my husband. i described blogworld as kind of functioning like a mix between yellow journalism and the old Citizens Band-Ham Radio thing. and like ChB (yo, momma) its been a godsend to me too. i have a.d.d. i can only tolerate meat interaction for a brief time before i go into complete overwhelm and mental shutdown-i lack a 'imput rheostat' if you will. in blogworld i can have my say or carry on a conversation without having to flee to a bathroom or a back bedroom or something to get my brain back. i mean, i spent the majority of my own wedding reception hid in my ex-mother in laws' half-bath.
so yeah, blogging.
ps-get off the couch and take the cat to the vet, you wanton!

Spinsterella said...

I talk complete bollocks very loudly and very quickly in both cyber space and meat space.

But at least in the blogosphere you are all spared my grotesque Norn Iron accent.

(We have a red sofa here at Spinster Towers BTW)

patroclus said...

Morning all.

GSE: The sad truth is that although the cat did come back (well, not 'came back' so much as 'was forcibly repatriated'), he ran away again soon after, and hasn't been seen for four months now. The other one remains.

FN: I can relate to all that, too. In real life people seem to talk for the sake of it, rather than summing up everything they want to say in one, er, pithy comment. And then they expect you to just carry on talking for no good reason as well, while they look at you. It's barbaric! Give me blogworld any day. The introverts will inherit the...er, cyber-earth (be thankful I didn't say 'metaverse' there), or something like that.

Spin: You have a lovely accent, and red sofas are clearly de rigueur among the, er, blogerati.

Why am I *using* all these words?

nibus said...

Albert, by 'meat locker' I wonder if you mean 'meat safe', which is a kind of miniature Victorian Tardis with the sole function of artificially ageing cake, bannock etc. before sending them to deserving grandchildren. It harnesses the opposite of 'pyramid power', which was apparently invented by Ted Bovis.

occasional poster of comments said...

>>Also, spoken words don't seem 'real' to me, so I either forget to listen to them or I can't remember what people said<<

I have that too. If someone speaks to me at length, at some point I just forget how they began and spend the rest of the time trying to work out what they're on about and trying to look like I'm still following them, whilst worrying that my eyes are actually glazing over in sheer incomprehension. I can feel them doing it, even if they're not.

And I hate speaking. Mainly because my thoughts never come out fully formed and properly organised. I find it so much easier to compose them into something vaguely coherent on a computer screen. Plus, I always have this horrible, creeping suspicion that everything is arbitrary, I know nothing, and my words are just empty sounds that may or may not be understood properly by anyone else depending entirely upon blind chance. And don't even get me started on the horrors of having to talk about myself.

I know, I know, I think too much.

patroclus said...

>>I always have this horrible, creeping suspicion that everything is arbitrary, I know nothing, and my words are just empty sounds that may or may not be understood properly by anyone else depending entirely upon blind chance.<<

Christ, OPC, it's like you can read my *mind*!

Actually, can you? Because that would be quite worrying.

patroclus said...

*warming to topic*

And I too have this 'thing' that everything I say with spoken words makes me sound like a complete imbecile.

And on top of all that, do you ever worry that if you look people in the eye when you're talking to them, they can see right into your head?

Wow, this is like Introverts Anonymous.

GreatSheElephant said...

eh - I have a red sofa too. A deep pinkish red that is.

sorry to hear about the cat

Ceridwen Devi said...

Sounds like Islington could be fun after all.

occasional poster of comments said...

>>Christ, OPC, it's like you can read my *mind*!<<

Don't worry, i can't do that. Well, except for the bits you've left on your blog.

>>And on top of all that, do you ever worry that if you look people in the eye when you're talking to them, they can see right into your head?<<

I don't get that problem exactly, but sometimes when someone constantly stares me in the eye during a conversation it feels like some ocular feedback loop has been set up that builds in volume and pitch until it becomes almost unbearable and eye contact must be broken by almost any means possible.

Incidentally, I'd love to see a meeting of Introverts Anonymous. That would surely be comedy gold. If anyone turned up.

patroclus said...

Phew.

I'm pretty sure I saw Ocular Feedback Loop play at the Big Chill.