Tuesday, October 26, 2004


I owe an artist an e-mail. I have an unopened copy of GTA: San Andreas sitting on my desk, calling my name in its sweet siren song. I picked up three classic horror movies -- Little Shop of Horrors, Dementia 13, and House on Haunted Hill -- for A DOLLAR APIECE! (I heart Best Buy.) I should be writing. I haven't had a bite to eat all day. There are, literally, 5000 things I should be doing instead of this.

But here I am.

Now, I don't believe in shock and posturing for the sake of shock and posturing. Some people do. I'm thinking specifically of that Talk to the Face situation and its various hangers-on; Congratulations, suckers, you've hitched your wagon to the Jacqueline Susann of our time. I'm a bit surprised some of my fellow bloggers responded so positively to such an obvious handjob of self-importance and gimmickry, but whadyagonnado. Next I'll be hearing that US Weekly is legitimate press and should be taken seriously.

No, I believe shock and posturing should be like miracles: a great big conflagaration that draws attention to something else that needs attention. I understand the argument to "lead by example," but the critic has his or her definite place on the food chain. They serve an undeniable function: Shaping and guiding the consciousness of the greater masses.

(If you scoff at that, and you're a blogger, ask yourself why you have a blog in the first place. If you scoff at that and you merely visit blogs, ask yourself why you visit them.)

That's all pretty fancy talk. Here's the low humor part: you've got yourselves front row seats to a hell of a train wreck. I admit to no small joy in being the one manning the engine.

It's time to Name Names, and I'm just going to go down my bloglist on the lefthand bar there. I won't talk about everyone, because frankly not everyone needs to be talked about. If this shatters your ego, I have advice for you: cope.

Ian Brill - No strong opinion. I like Ian. He writes good stuff. Hooray Ian.

Mark Hale - Same. We always have need of people who archive our collective past, and all the better if they do so in a humorous fashion.

Johanna Draper Carlson - I do not believe Johanna reads and talks about comics to enjoy herself or to have a good time. I believe she reads and talks about comics to be miserable about something in an intelligent fashion. I sense no joy or love for the art in anything she writes. All I read is informed misery. She's smart, no doubt, but hardly an entry goes by that I do not say, out loud, "oh for god's sake, pull the stick out." Please: LIGHTEN UP. Note: This entry works if you replace Johanna's name with Chris Butcher, and adjust the pronouns accordingly.

Rick Geerling - Rick doesn't have the stamina to put up with disappointment, which is really too bad, because he's very funny and very clever. We need more people like Rick, hanging on the fringes, well-known enough to be noticed but not so popular he can't just do whatever the hell he wants whenever the hell he wants. A loss.

Graeme McMillan - A cornerstone of the blogosphere, undoubtedly. It's funny, because if you just laid out a quick summary of what it is Graeme does, you wouldn't figure he'd be so important to the whole works. The man wields as much power as any of us can, and he doesn't really use it. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Franklin Harris - Knowledgeable, but oh so snooty. Oh, lord, the snooty factor. We're all very impressed, my boy, no really; just TALK already. This goes for Franklin, and for everyone else, too: we're not nearly as important as we think we are until we've EARNED IT. And we haven't yet.

John Jakala - Help me Obi-Wan, you're our only hope. Jakala fit all the traits I look for in a good blogger, and for all intents and purposes he's gone. This saddens me, and I'm not speaking in hyperbole.

Matt Maxwell - See entry: "Brill, Ian." I actually love Matt to death. I consider him one of the Good Guys.

Marc Singer - Too smart for us.

Dave Intermittent - See entry: "Jakala, John." Dave is brilliant. He's very smart but doesn't flaunt it; he just gets on with his point and makes his point in about a third of the space of the rest of the "intellectual" bloggers. We would do well to follow his example.

David Fiore - I love David to death, and I, like most people, think he might be mildly insane. There's no question in my mind that David is very, very smart. Most of the time, though, he sounds like he's chiming in from another conversation that is quite similar but distinctly different. I also believe he's completely sincere in everything he says, and that most people react very poorly when they encounter someone who talks with zero guile. They simply don't know how to respond to a man who hides nothing and keeps everything on the level.

Neilalien, Mike Sterling, and Johnny Bacardi - When the bombs drop and the world ends, the last things left alive will be Twinkies, roaches, and these three guys. And that warms up the coal-black pits of my heart something fierce. I understand Neil has lately been called "Dirklike" in a complimentary fashion, but I consider this a disservice. Neil is not Dirk, nor should he have any reason to be. He's Neil. As long as these three continue to do what they do, all hope is not lost.

Kevin Melrose & Shane Bailey - I've often commented that these two are necessary components of the blogosphere, perhaps even vital. I also think their style of blogging inhibits the emergence of any true personality. I get the sense with Kevin that this is the intention, but I chalk that up in the Loss column.

Jeff Chatlos/Otto - We Need Otto. Another of a small cadre of bloggers who set the example just by doing what they do.

Rose Curtin/Steven Berg - Have grown distressingly inconsistent on blogging. Now, just being regular once a week is fine; not everyone needs to blog every day. Not everyone can. But I'm starting to wonder about this blog's shelf life, and that's too bad; we need all the smart dissenting voices we can get.

(Note: that's dissenting, not arbitrary naysaying. A lot of bloggers mix the two up often.)

Dorian... whatever his last name is - My sole complaint with Dorian is that there's only one of him. We need him like we need Mikester, like we need Neil, like we need Johnny B, like we need Jeff/Otto, like we need Graeme. Essential.

Milo George - Wasted potential. A lot of intelligence and a lot of insight squandered on so-backhanded-it's-useless commentary. Though, I admit, the "yours in Christ" signoff never fails to make me laugh. Could make a difference; apparently chooses not to. Which is too bad.

Me - I don't know my place here and never have. I've always considered myself just about the least essential blog on the whole sphere, which is really saying something. But all the right people seem to like me. Chances are, if you don't like me, the feeling is mutual. But if you want to know for sure... why not drop me a line?

There. I feel much better. Have a pleasant day.

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