Tag Archives: blogging

Not Dead Yet

Dear all,

None of you read this anymore, but some of you will end up here, anyway, since these posts automatically share to my Twitter feed and it’s almost 1:00am and you’re still on the internet and what else have you got to do at this hour anyway? (Don’t answer that.)  I have, to put it mildly, been remiss in my posting duties, and I’d like to say that ALL OF THAT IS ABOUT TO CHANGE, but let’s be honest, here.  I’m just one person, and there are only 24 hours in a day, and now I have a subscription to Netflix.  I also have a full-time job, and weekly editorial commitments to CASE Magazine (like, follow, subscribe… please!).

ON THE OTHER HAND, I miss writing, and I miss writing here, and while CASE is on summer vacation, I thought I’d take the opportunity to pick this up again (and try to stick with it this time).  I feel like, with all the more formal writing I’ve been doing lately, I’ve lost touch with my sassy 20somethingbloggergross internet voice.  AND I DON’T LIKE IT.

Things will have to change, though.  For one thing, I’m not going to commit to more than one post a month for the time being.  I’d rather make a promise I can keep, and then maybe exceed it, than try to force myself to do something I know I won’t have time for.  I’m also planning on writing more casually from now on (if you couldn’t tell).  I don’t plan on turning this space into a diary exactly – language will still be a general guiding theme/topic – but I don’t want to get too worked up over structure (ha!).  I do enough of that in other parts of my life, now.

I’ll write a little something for you.  You can write a little something back.  IT’LL BE AWESOME.

For more frequent, more random updates, you can check out the tumblr I created as a space for idea vomit, and sure, follow me on Twitter.

Get ready, cuz there’s a big rant coming your way.  I’M BACK!

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linking about stuff

Hello friends.  Yesterday was a rough day.  Today is a little better… mainly because today’s article on Case builds a really subtle framework that we can use to think about my haphazard observations about vulgarity.  Not to mention, Salon just posted an article that further unites these discourses, positing slang as a universal language.

What I like about all of these articles is that slang becomes both a personal identifier and a geographical mechanism.  Displaying a knowledge of certain pockets of slang might render me an insider in New York and an outsider in Chicago.  Using one kind of language at home and another outside might organize our lives – a kind of social bilingualism.

Speaking of shared languages (so good at transitions), I have one more link to share.  Emue is a small publishing outfit whose name is an acronym for Édition Multiculturelle Équitable.  Founded by a French expat in Australia, Emue wants to share French as a literary language, wants to publish authors who write in French, regardless of cultural or linguistic upbringing.  Be still my Comp Lit heart.  Given the synchronicity of our sensibilities, I was probably always fated to join the very international Emue team… and I am very excited about the possibilities for Emue in the US.  So check us out, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter!

what should duchamp call your mom?

First, a moment of silence (as it were) for the amazing layout/design in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine:

Damn that’s good.  Speaking of Instagram, I’m toying with the idea of adding a new component to this blog called “Instagrammar” in which I (surprise!) capture grammatical errors in ads around the city using Instagram.  I think it’s a winner.  Updates will be completely unpredictable (just like me).  Also, speaking of the Times, one of my friends just posted this article on facebook, so I just thought I’d share it here as a friendly reminder that girls run this motha.

Okay, now for something that isn’t news… or something that is old news.  However you want to look at it.

Over the past year and some, the Internet has birthed a number of tumblogs that are relevant to my life and interests, among them: #whatshouldwecallme, How Do I Put This Gently, When in New York City, Admissions Problems, My Life as a Black Squirrel, and What Should Brearley Call Me.  This is so much  more than just a meme; it’s a way to create instant anonymous affinity groups for anyone anywhere with any kind of problem.  The Internet cannot spawn enough of these little beauties.

Although I’ll admit that the term “affinity group” might be a bit strong for this type of website, separately, these two words help define the success of these kinds of tumblogs.  Each one has to appeal to a specific demographic or group of people, however broad or specific.  These blogs pull people in by speaking their language, whether it be the jargon of a school, profession, or location.  They also hold on to readers because of the affinity they create through commiseration.  Whether explicit or not, the purpose of many posts is to complain or critique – albeit in a self-effacing way, most of the time.

Humor, though, is the most important element to the success of any of these tumblogs.  Anything too serious or too real becomes a prime candidate for another favorite tumblr of mine.  SO HOW DO THEY DO IT?!  The basic formula is pretty simple: (1) think of a problem and/or encounter said problem in your life, (2) find a gif that expresses said problem or your reaction.  Or is it the other way around?  Regardless, a lot of the time the gif is the punchline, but the joke is the juxtaposition between the title and the gif.

In a Conceptual Art class I took my senior year of college, we often considered the relationship of a work to its title (or was it the other way around?) as a way to create meaning from the pieces we saw/heard/watched/experienced.  Some work depends on its title to make sense.  Forgive me for going there, but Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain does happen to provide a perfect example.  Duchamp didn’t make the urinal himself, but he made the title; he constructed the irony; and he, perhaps, elicited a laugh from his public.

#whatshouldwecallme and progeny rely on the same conceptual framework to be funny.  The authors do not create the content of the gifs or the problems; both the situations and the cultural references must already be familiar to us.  The authors create the juxtaposition and the wording.  The digital nature of this work, though, also requires Internet age brevity.  As for any good joke, the setup has to be perfect: timing is everything!  If the title-build-up is too long, the gif punchline usually falls flat.  You know, it’s that thing of when you have to explain a joke to someone and it still isn’t funny.

And next week… hyperlinks as hypertext.  (Lol not really… but maybe.)

7:57pm — UPDATE: Vinny gets it #jussayin

updates from the archives

Hey.  Sorry I haven’t written in a while.  Time’s been short (like me).  Ok, I have a LOT to tell.  On the Monday of two weeks ago my friend [Rita] came to visit.

[…]

Alrighty, I can’t really remember what happened throughout the rest of these two weeks.  [Arthur] got braces.

This week [Harriet] was being all nice to me like we were best of friends.  I have no problem being nice to her, but I don’t trust her as a friend.  Anyway, I think she was being so nice because for drama we were gonna put on our play this Fri, & in the play Harriet & I play best friends.

[Henry] kinda ignored me this week & I embarrassed myself twice.

I was really sick on Wed. so I missed school.  I had a science exam the next day I’m POSITIVE I flunked.

I’ve got a lot more to tell, but I’ve gotta go now.  We have Monday off, so, don’t worry, you’ll hear all.

No, friends, what you just read is not, in fact, the first of the regular Monday updates I have vowed to write.  I have just shared with you an excerpt from my seventh grade journal.  You may note the brackets around the names; the sense of paranoia that comes with being a dork in middle school dies hard (actually, never dies).

I rediscovered all of the journals I used to keep when I was cleaning out my bookshelf in a bout of feng shui a month or so ago, and it was like meeting a completely different person.  If only I could have done this the other way around and sent a journal entry from the future to my thirteen-year-old self – a self who, by the way, kept “crush statistics” at the end of every entry.

A few days ago, my friend asked me if I ever kept journals as a kid, even though to look at me is to know the answer.  By high school I had moved on from handwritten journaling and had made my first foray into the blogosphere via livejournal, and it’s taken me until now to reflect on how the transition from analog to digital has affected my writing style.

Of course, I have grown up, and my voice has changed (although probably not as much as I think it has), but my audience has also changed.  In our conversation, I admitted to my friend that the Diary of Anne Frank had a profound effect on me; without knowing who she was writing for, Anne had written a memoir for a global audience.  I, self-consciously, began to write to an ambiguous “you,” which may have been my journal, but might also have been the readers I anticipated long after my death.  Blogging allowed me the instant gratification of a (mostly) sympathetic audience.

I am still trying to figure out to what extent the medium of blogging has affected my voice.  It has certainly made me more guarded with information.  In my seventh grade journal I tore classmates to shreds using their real names – in 100 years, who would remember them, anyway?  Now, even though none of us have kept in touch, I’m worried about posting their real names on the internet.  On the other hand, I feel almost obligated to include as many of my incidental thoughts as I can.

Maybe the internet is just like seventh grade.  I’m working, right now, on a balancing act of authenticity: on the one hand, sharing what I’m thinking, to the world, immediately; and on the other hand, wanting that world to find me, and read me, and like me.