It’s an interesting manifestation of the times, the blog. With the doors of expression wide open anyone, anywhere (with the necessary access to the net) can now thump away to their heart’s content on any topic that takes their fancy. Some use the platform to extol the virtues of their social life, some put it to work as a promotional component from which to market a product, others fill it up with noodling and musings on themes ethereal and insubstantial. Still others take the opportunity to disclose salacious details of their latest bedhopping gymnastics (a la Petite Anglaise) and others (a la Llewellyn Kriel) make use of the opportunity to vent frustrations in the direction of their employers, and even me – here I am, writing a piece on blogging…on my blog. (The irony is not lost.).
In any case - the door is wide open and the result of the general public having the means with which to express itself willy-nilly on any topic that pops into its head leaves much to be desired at times. Because everyone can write, can’t they? (No, I am not unaware of the dire state of literacy in my country. I’m not talking about literacy. I’m talking about the ability to ‘write’ as in ‘to be proficient in the use of the English language’. How the ability to remember and transcribe an alphabet can be confused with the capacity for well-constructed discourse is beyond me. There should be a different word for it. But I digress.) The problem arises when subliterate morons take to literary emancipation like ducks to the proverbial and start splashing about in the manner of hogs in the muck. The results are predictably chaotic, and the mess gets everywhere. It becomes a free-for-all, and I find myself asking the question: ‘Where the hell are the marshals?’
But then it would go against the whole ethos of blogging to even suggest that there be some kind of restriction that would see blogs at least hold some level dignity dear. God forbid. As far as I’m aware, the rules are that you’ll only get the chop if you veer into the sordid or defamatory, as is the case in life in general (and as is only right). It would be spurious to suggest that some bloggers should rather stick to sending malicious notes to their classmates via sms or for others to restrict their personal attacks to one-on-one exchanges. Because it gets a bit yellow, in the end – sniping remarks and accusations being flung across the gulf of cyberspace from the comfort of an impersonal medium is all a little cowardly. For lack of a better description, I would call it guerrilla wordfare.
In all fairness, some of the attacks are warranted and you have to take into consideration the various motivations to make use of a blog as a platform for criticism. Sometimes it is literally the last resort, as I’m sure the Iraqi and Burmese bloggers and those that similarly make use of the one opportunity to voice their condemnation of human rights gone wrong will agree. But the tendency for us as a species to turn advances in technology into an opportunity to pander to lower impulses than those for which the medium was originally designed continues to boggle the mind. Case in point – the guy who invented the robotic beer-launching fridge. Refigeration! We can keep food for longer! How fantastic! Robotics! Incredible advances which could herald a new age in technology! What should be made of these wondrous applications for uplifting humanity?
A machine that can keep you from having to get up off your lard ass to fetch a beer.
The same can be said for blogs – some will use them as an opportunity to get off their figurative lard asses, but others will be perfectly content to have the machine throw the beer. This is the problem with the global village that is the web - we get the village, but we also get the idiots.