I was caught by a turn of phrase on pretty serendipities: “One of the pleasures of diving in and out of blogging is revisiting old favorites and reaffirming fondness for their offerings.”. Of course, reading quickly as I usually do, I misread it—I would have sworn she said “driving.” Hence, I immediately found myself conceptualizing a tool, a “blogdriver,” if you will. It might be something like a screwdriver, or it might be something like a taskmaster who would force someone to persist in the blog habit. Sometimes the mondegren is more striking than what was really said.

I’ve never been able to accept the whole “blogs are conversations” thing. Usually, when I conceptualize my audience, it’s a weird hybrid of my conception of myself and my conception of the people who have visited me for a long time. It’s very much like a friendship, and you don’t want to bore either yourself or your regular visitors. But all the same, the tinge of guilt one feels at walking away in the middle of a conversation is much stronger than the guilt one might experience from not being a good “blogger” in those times when you really have other things to do. A person can slip in and out the door easily and largely unnoticed. It’s a big community, and while conversation occurs, it isn’t a necessary prerequisite for participation. And it is of a substantially different tone than conversation in other venues. The degree to which some people “just don’t get it” is not surprising.

I was watching Peter Jennings on the Daily Show a few days ago, and he read aloud a selection from “one of the astute bloggers” out there regarding his upcoming special on UFOs:

Let me throw this out to the rest of you, then you can all call me crazy. A while back Peter Jennings did a special on the JFK assassination. He tried to convince us that LHO acted alone in the face of an overwhelming number of skeptics I might add. What if a deal was cut with ABC and Peter Jennings that if he did this JFK documentary for ‘the shadow government’ that still denies there was more than one gunman, then ‘they’ would let him be the first anchorman of the big 3 to start the disclosure process. It would be very tempting for him to want to be the focal point of the greatest revelation in the history of mankind.

I found the original text by googling “the focal point of the greatest revelation in the history of mankind” (which only garnered one hit, surprisingly enough). Today there are two—another blogger researched it too. The source was one “Dr. Love” on a conspiracy forum site. It wasn’t a blog at all. But Stewart and Jennings had a good laugh about blogs as a result. Why does this matter? Because there are many types of communities on the net, but bloggers are the most vocal when defending and highlighting when they are misconstrued or lumped with other denizens of the internet. I think it’s because it represents an organizing locus for sociality, and people hate it when others insult them or their friends.

There is a dissonance in all this. The web is very “leaky” and people pass in and out of it; and yet we seem possessive of it, as if to insult it insults us all. The Gorman controversy, covered elaborately by many others, is perhaps more important than a fake news show so almost no one noticed. The real question is why we care at all. I suppose that no one likes being called stupid, even by proxy.

This sort of thing is an efficent blogdriver

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