After The Gold Rush


I've been thinking (I know, it's a bad habit) about a bunch of stuff recently, none of which has gotten blogged yet.

Actually, very little of it will get blogged, I think, simply because, when you get down to it, navel gazing is really boring.

No-one really wants to read stuff that boils down to "I looked down. There it was, same as always. My bellybutton. I looked at it for a while, then I picked some lint out."

(Ok, so maybe I'm making an unwarranted assumption about my readers here. (For some reason, I'm number #12 on google for "bellybuttons". I don't really understand it, and for all you freaks out there looking for it, there are officially no pictures of any bellybuttons on this site. And why the plural "bellybuttons" and not the singular "bellybutton"? Unless something went terribly wrong during delivery, we only get one each.) I mean, the blogosphere is so freakin' huge that there are probably blogs about navel fuzz. There's even probably bad poetry written about it. Though I can't honestly imagine that there could be any other kind of poetry written about it; it may be one of those subjects about which is simply impossible to write good poetry about. But I digress.)

There's a lot of stuff that I write (this the right word? wouldn't "blather" be more appropriate?) about: movies, music, relationships, food, other bloggers (a common pastime among bloggers), tech stuff, photography, travel, and so on (gee -- by some odd coincidence, that matches up almost exactly with that list of categories! (Paul, shut up--you're giving away all your trade secrets here!)). And there's a bunch of stuff that I don't write about, mainly politics (OK, I do have a politics category, but most of the stuff in there isn't political in the sense that, say, InstaPundit (wait -- you've read his site exactly once, so how do you know what he writes about? Ah, my little alter-ego, I know because everyone else writes about him; this is called, in the academic world, 'using secondary sources'; it's also how I know what's going on with the Sopranos despite the fact that I don't actually watch the show)).

I try to stay away from the navel-gazing too much. I mean, certainly, I've done it (what's the point of having a blog if you don't navel-gaze (not to be confused with naval-gazing, an entirely different kind of activity))?) I suppose I could start stalking Christopher Hitchens instead, but male fifty-something alcoholic writers with 'tude aren't really my type).

I was talking about this with a friend over dinner a few nights ago. How much personal stuff do you put in your blog? It's a tricky line. Some folks steer entirely away from writing about personal stuff, preferring to discourse on the wonders of skee-ball. For others, it's pretty much the entire purpose of their blogs (dating blogs, for example, are inherently explicitly personal). Some people use their personal life as fodder for jokes about their teeth (or is it the other way around? I get confused sometimes).

Some people say that there's really nothing personal in here at all. My mother (yes, my mother (Hi Mom!) reads this, and no, it doesn't affect how I write (Hi Mom!)) thinks that I put waaaaaaaaaay too much personal material on the site. Me, I think that it depends on how you look at things, and what you define as being "personal." I'm fond of saying, "It's in the F.A.Q."

You can't really know someone by reading their blog (two different people told me on consecutive days last week that "people read her [a friend's] blog, and they think she's really like that when she's really not." The scary thing is that these two people were talking about two entirely different writers and blogs, and no, I'm not telling you who they are). The nature of blogging means that blogs only represent a slice of what a person is really like. I mean, reading this blog, you'd never find out about my enor[DELETED-DELETED-DELETED-DEL], or the time [DELETED-DELETED-DELETED-DEL]. But that's not really relevant.

What I going to say before a cheap joke got in the way was that blogs only represent a small part of what someone is really like, and because of that, it's easy to make erroneous assumptions about the blogger. Meeting bloggers in the flesh is usually a very interesting experience, because you have to adjust your expectations to the reality of what that person is like. And as you are adjusting your mental map, you're also seeing how that person's blog personality (for lack of a better word) integrates into their real personality. And it's often, if not usually, somewhat different than what you'd been expecting. Heck, sometimes it takes meeting someone several times to really figure out what's going on.


Interesting post, and some of the same sorts of things I've been pondering recently.

On a totally different note: does your blog have an rss version? I'd like to just add it to my LJ friends page to make checking it easy, but I can only do that if you're rss'd. :)

I would say that the blog personality is the "real" personality. That meeting a blogger in person would give you the false personality - the one they put on in order to interact with other human beings. It's like the act of watching an experiment changing the results of the experiment. Having another person in the room implicitly changes each person's personality. Whereas being alone, blogging, allows the personality to come through without any outside interference. Now, if only we as a race could find a way to remove those masks permanently.

paul (can i call you paul?) what's with all the parenthecal asides.

does this ring true for a lot of bloggers (what's a lot - a dozen, two dozen?) cause it's just the plain truth (and does that make this a navel gazing post?).

(hi paul's mom).

(there have i provent that i'm completely bonkers?) this was a very interesting post from you.

To comment on Bozo's comment:

No one blogs purely for themselves. The fact that it's publically available on the web, and often linked to on several other pages sort of invalidates that whole theory.

The problem is, no one ever (or very rarely) sees a person's true self. A blog is one view into it. The way they act with their family is another, with their friends (or better yet, each group of friends) another, with their coworkers, yet another. (And so on, and so on, ad infinitum.) We wear hundreds, or thousands, of masks - often switching them from moment to moment.

I had something else to say, but just forgot it. Oh well.

If you're interested in an rss feed for this site, try for an rss 0.91 feed or for an rss 1.0 feed.

As for the parenthetical comments, consider the time of day (or night) that the post was written.

So, Paul, what the heck prompted that?

a propos of your theme, I try very hard to keep my politics out of my blog for two reasons:

1. reading the impassioned politics of a metaphorical one thousand earnest conservative bloggers very nearly made me wish for personal and immediate death and I had no desire to inflict the experience of the same on the same by reciprocating with my completely incompatible views of the world.

2. paranoia concerning my eventual internment which I wish defer as long as possible.

Flashes of my irascible nature still creep in, however.

Unfortunately, Skee-Ball is my personal life.

And then i told you the exact same thing about an hour later.

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