Friday, June 30, 2006

Sturgeon and then some

" with absolutely every form of media ever, 99% of the 'blogosphere' is rubbish created by idiots."


tom l said...

well, somebody's got to write these things :}

now, who can name some famous works of art once categorized as "rubbish" by "some idiot"?

patroclus said...

God bless Charlie Brooker, he was always so much cooler than anyone else, ever, wasn't he?

Of *course* you're too old for MySpace, you dumb twat.

Me little brother was doing TVGoHome in the 80s, meticulously cutting bits out of the Radio Times and - ahem - 'mashing them up' with other bits of funny stuff. I suppose Charlie Brooker was just the first to put it on the internet, damn him.

Spinsterella said...

He's got a point, young Mr Brooker. The blogosphere is indeed 99% shite created by galloping fuckwits.

Apart from all the stuff done by us lot.

WE'RE great.

Robert A. Swipe said...

"...99% of the 'blogosphere' is rubbish created by idiots."

I'm probably responsible for about half that....(mental note to self: "fewer posts with less in them....)

Good job we've got the septics to supervise our efforts, isn't it?

(mutters under breath: "Neo-con cunts")

Interpreter Pavlov said...

Sceptics, surely.

Although 'septics' opens interesting possibilities.

Billy said...

"I mean, I could go and create a page myself, but somehow I'd rather scrape my retina off with a car key."

That made me laugh. Hard.

Tim Footman said...

"Septic tank" = "Yank" I think Bob means.

Now, I do have a bit of time for Charlie Brooker, if only for the original Nathan Barley (star of Cunt, the hight spot of TVGH). I always imagined him as a black-clad avatar of modernist minimalism, superficially cool and brilliant, yet hollow, insecure and a little pathetic inside. The first person you knew with a mobile phone. Kinda Dylan Jones, but teetering into Paul Ross. Late 30s/early 40s (at the time), about the right age to have been on the edge of the Blitz/Wag/Groucho crowd when it was cutting edge. Or so he'd have you believe. And, as I'd worked for someone just like that, it was almost too real to be funny.

Then the TV version came along, and it turned out Nathan was just a scruffy Hoxton 20-something wannabe.

Ho hum.

Geoff said...

I like his writing but he's got a face for radio and a voice for The City.

We are in the 1%. Aren't we?

Betty said...

I like his writing actually. Perhaps the only blogs he has read are earnest, Grauniad-approved political ones rather than the erudite, funny, perceptive stuff.

Not that I'm in the one per cent anyway: I can't string a sentence together and haven't even got a degree, heh heh.

patroclus said...

I *like* his writing. The original Nathan Barley was a work of outstanding comedy genius.

But the thing about blogging is not whether what people produce is 'rubbish' or not (and the associated issue of how and why Brooker gets to be the arbiter of what is and is not 'rubbish'), it's the fact that *anyone* can have a go at it. I can't understand why more people don't think that's a good thing.

I suppose Charlie would rather that everyone just sat there reading his Guardian column and chuckling about how cool and funny and edgy he is.

Tim Footman said...

It is a good thing that anyone can have a go. It's also unfortunate that, as CB says, most of them are shite. (I'd be a little more generous with the figures. 97%?)

The two are not exclusive.

It's like democracy. It's a good thing, even if the vast majority of voters are witless nimbys who'd vote for Jeremy Kyle if he promised to execute asylum seekers.

And, yes, Geoff, we're all in the 1%. And that includes Betty, whether she likes it or not.

First Nations said...

gosh. that kinda describes lots of things, doesnt it? how pithy! *yawn*
this is the type of person who gets really, really exercised when his favorite waitress isn't available and secretly agonizes over his choice of shirt all day long.

First Nations said...

gosh. that kinda describes lots of things, doesnt it? how pithy! *yawn*
this is the type of person who gets really, really exercised when his favorite waitress isn't available and secretly agonizes over his choice of shirt all day long.

First Nations said...

...yeah, echo. crapola.
well? it was a great comment.
not like 99% of what one sees on the interweb.

patroclus said...

I'm not having the fucking Guardian dictate whereabouts on its self-created quality measuring stick my blog - or anyone else's blog, for that matter - comes up to. It can stick its blog quality measuring stick up its own bourgeois élitist media arse.

Ah yes, giving up smoking - always does wonders for one's sense of equilibrium.

Tim Footman said...


OK. Since the blogosphere is a level playing field and anyone can play (well, anyone with functional literacy, access to and facility with the technology, spare time, situation in a putatively 'free-speech' political regime, etc) there's no quality control that keeps people out. Good.

But does that mean there is no measure of quality? Or is it just bourgeois élitist media measures you object to? Why, for example, do you read some blogs and not others? Or is that purely a measure of your own preference and/or prejudice, rather a than any quality metric? And would you apply that measure to your preferences in, say, books or films or music as well?

The need for access (anyone can blog) and the need for discrimination (not everyone's good at it) can exist side by side.

Have you tried acupuncture?

And, FN, we'd rather have you double-posting than certain other people single-posting. Which kinda exemplifies my point to Patroclus.

patroclus said...

*rant ahoy*

Sorry Tim, went a bit nuts there. (Er, and am about to go nuts again). It's just that I think that comparing blogging with the media - as the media is annoyingly wont to do - is totally missing the point.

Good journalistic writing is a skill not many people possess, and most of those that do are journalists already. Blogging isn't going to throw up a load of brilliant undiscovered writers, because writers who are truly brilliant will by and large already have been discovered. Sure, it'll throw up a few excellent writers, and they'll probably be snapped up sooner or later by some established media organisation, which is probably what they wanted anyway, so all well and good.

But applying journalistic measurements of quality to a form that isn't journalism is just wrong. Of course there are some blogs that I read more than others, but my decisions aren't based on the quality of the writing so much as the personality of the writer and/or the appeal of what they have to say. And it doesn't even have to be writing; yesterday I was looking at the . blog of a girl who doesn't write much, but makes pretty impressive art and videos.

I know that not everyone is good at it. And I know that some people don't want to be 'good' at it, because they're not blogging for anyone but themselves, or they see it as social networking rather than cultural production, or they don't see it as something they're obliged to be 'good' at by someone else's standards of what qualifies as 'good'.

I also know - because unlike a lot of journalists, I've been here for more than five minutes* - that other people *do* want to be 'good' at it, and they work hard at it, and they get better at it over time. To damn it all as being 99% rubbish simply because not everyone out there is Oscar Wilde - or Charlie Brooker - I think is arrogant, élitist and just plain rude, actually. Stop measuring it and just let people get on with it, I say.

* Oohooo, I wondered how long it would be before I played that card. Ugh, I hate myself already.

Tim Footman said...

That's all very fair. But you know how the (old) media works. They need to have an angle. Inevitably, if there's nobody to suggest any alternative qualitative process, they'll judge blogs in the same way they judge their own stuff. "Just let people get on with it" is not an option - that's the same as telling them to ignore the phenomenon. Which might mean you don't get Brooker sticking his oar in, but it might also stifle the development of blogging. I'll bet you only a minority of adults in the Western world actually know what a blog is; even fewer have read one; a fraction of that have written one. The only way this is likely to change in the short term is through dissemination by old media, with all the inappropriate measuring sticks that entails. So, bloggers must either provide some alternative metric of quality that these bozos understand, or accept that blogging will take some time to get out of its ghetto.

Because it's going to need help before it truly goes mainstream. And if you don't want it to go mainstream, isn't that a different flavour of elitism?

This is one reason I'm fascinated by old media hacks who also blog. Many of them take the easy option and just bung their second-hand think pieces up there. One or two do, however, demonstrate that they understand the difference between the two worlds.


patroclus said...

Hmm, it's true that the (old) media is giving some publicity to blogging, but saying things like '99% of it is rubbish' isn't exactly encouraging people to go out and start doing it - probably the opposite.

It's as if David Beckham went on telly and said 'I've watched a few Sunday League games, and 99% of those people are rubbish at football - I don't know why anyone bothers'. Or like Dame Judi Dench saying that kids shouldn't put on school plays, because most of them are crap actors. It's an abuse of a privileged position, and it's just...just...wrong.

Very good examples of journo blogs there. I do like Richard's, I have to say. And if we're looking for alternative measures of quality, perhaps the presence or absence of comments counts :-)

Actually I'd say that the measures of quality in the blogiverse are a) number of people who link to you, b) number of commenters, and c) readership stats, but the first two of those are probably still too otherworldly for many in the old media to understand.

OK, I'm really going to stop now, or I'll be ranting on all day. This is my favourite subject, after all. Thanks for the top debate!