Sunday, February 02, 2003

There are many strange facts...perplexing things we may never understand

It might be good to remember how little you know but if you did you might be unable to make assertions on a regular basis and you'd become unpopular and perhaps lose your job.

Oh, but this isn't what I meant to say at all....First, I was going to talk about how perplexing it is that sometimes I just like to smell bad. Sometimes I smell and sometimes this seems like a good thing. I guess I'm saying "I smell bad" when in fact I really think--sometimes I like to have a smell. Who's to say it's really bad?

I'm just kidding...Maybe I'm hemming and hawing because I had this thought and it embarrasses me because it is a thought about writing on the internet and when I think about that I remember that I write on the internet and when I remember that I feel sort of geeky. I also feel guilty because I am writing on the internet and really have much more important things to do. Then, I feel scared that someone I know might find what I write on the internet and figure out it is me. Ick. Of course, I make so much stuff up...most of it...but at the same time people often don't get that. The fact that you could make up something that strange is bad enough.

This made me realize something else: Goddamn would I hate to have anyone know much of anything about me. And I simultaneously have this paranoia that people are overly interested. That they want to know. They seem so damn curious some of the time but perhaps it is only my deep seated paranoia that makes it appear as if they are prying.

I also wonder: If I'm this bizarre...and if my (even self-edited) musings would truly freak out many whom I come into daily contact with but I have fooled them into believing I am relatively normal...what are they really like. However, I know...I do know: They are lacking in imagination. I've tested them out once in a while with little tidbits here and there and the look of bemusement (at best) or alarm (at worst) on their faces is genuine.

I also know due to my brief foray into the therapeutic realm (more on that bullshit later...or not) how narrow the socially-acceptable options are with respect to one's own world view.

Wait! Don't read that bullshit above 'cause this is what I in fact had to say about the paid/unpaid distinction

I was thinking about all these quite talented and gripping writers I've come across since October when I started this filthy habit. And I was thinking: They are working in offices. They are going to be something else. They aren't going to be writers.

But I thought: Wait...Aren't they already writers? What's the distinction between these people and your run of the mill writer--the one who gets published in Ploughshares or Black Raven/Riverrocks Yada-Yada or some other kind of nature-sounding journal with a small readership? Or even journalists? Some of these people in fact have a larger readership than many literary journal writers or even journalists at small magazines.

I thought: Is it because they aren't getting paid? Is this what makes them 'hobbyists'?

For journalism (in the form of web punditry) there is: The editorial oversight thing. Yeah...we've seen how well that works. The crap that is written in many magazines and newspapers boggles my mind with its oversimplifying and unreflective parroting of the current ideological line. We don't know what information is reliable in many cases, anyway.

It is sort of a funny thing about the U.S.--or maybe anywhere? There is this kind of 'acclaim' you must receive...some kind of credentialing you are required to have...before you count as anybody. Certainly, there are many people out there who can analyze history or literature or even do astronomy quite brilliantly. Yet, they lack the degree but they are sort of part of some lower-tier. Intellectuals without Ph.D's or who don't work for major publications are regarded by most as failures and freaks.

I tend to think this is because there aren't very high standards for anything. No one knows what the standards are. The credentialing makes it 'safe' somehow. We can imagine the person met some standard, that they know what they are talking about. Since we can't always be bothered to figure out whether they in fact do know what they are talking about it is easier simply to see what other people said about they (their professors, their university, the people who hired them) and go with that.

You can't just do something good--someone important has to say it is good for it to count as good. Just like movie stars might have been regular people to some extent prior to being movie stars but automatically get upgraded to ravishingly beautiful or fascinating and charismatic once they become movies stars.

But I realized that perhaps it is because bloggers are part of that scorned category of writer: The self-publisher. Still, this seems absurd since people read what they write and so is there any truly meaningful difference between what they put out on their own and something that is OK'd by some editorial board? In fact, they not only read it, they sometimes write about it...They communicate with one another about it--it affects our daily lives sometimes, blabbity bla bla bla.

Somehow though it still doesn't 'count.' Does it?


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