Monday, April 25

Our Mission Statement

We started this blog (and, to avoid any confusion, frequent use of the journalistic "we" is now part of our mission) as the result of a handful of fellow commenters inquiring as to whether we had one or planned to start one. One of those mysterious occurrences in Life--who knows?--biorhythms, phases of moon, nothing on teevee, bad pot roast the night before? made me stand up and say, "You want to know why I don't have a blog? I'll show you why I don't have a blog!"

But as sure as there are Mods and Rockers, there are Gods and Mockers. I was misled. I've--that is to say, we've--floundered. We don't need to tell you that. It's depressing as hell. It's easy enough to shine in the reflected genius of an s.z. or a norbizness; there's a giddy thrill that comes from being the only Michael Bérubé commenter without a high school diploma, but it's a much different matter when you're staring at a blank Create Post field and you've lost track of how much cinnamon schnapps you've had. It's Dark Night of the Soul time, baby, as someone said in a movie I saw once.

Last week, or month--I dunno, I seem to be sleeping a lot these days--I dashed off a pretty good bit, I thought, with Michelle Malkin as a dominatrix with a phony German accent, about to hit Hindrocket with a pie. Only this was in World O'Crap's comments. I almost cut and pasted it here. Reduced to stealing from myself. Next I'd be posting that really funny fake news story I wrote about Mr. Hutchins in high school.

It was the Slough of Despond bell ringin', dude. (Did you know that "slough" is the only word in English which is pronounced three different ways for three different definitions?) I though maybe I could get by posting parenthetical trivialities. I went through the cat pictures. Enough fluff stuck to my clothing to somehow keep posting (Moon Martin Week! That'll bring 'em in.) But my heart just wasn't in it.

Then it happened. I'd dashed off another of those pro-forma TV Guide™ things (I know...I'll say I don't know the answer to the Crossword puzzle clue! Har har har.) And this morning there's a comment from:


Alex is the living embodiment of a cosmic truth I've learned the hard way: while old age, guile and bitterness trumps youth and inexperience, a smart young person will kick your ass every time. Alex's Virginia Woolf parody turned up on roughly the same day we started this blog, and we almost quit right there. But Alex sent us a link to a story that has changed our life.

TV Guide™ is in trouble.

Advertising revenue is way down. The demo is all wrong: traditionalist, analog rather than digital, fearful of technology. The very people the Bush administration plans to leave on ice floes if there are enough left. You can buy a share of stock for what you pay for an issue. Only the intervention of Rupert Murdock has kept the magazine from abandoning its traditional role and turning into something edgy. Paris Hilton edgy. Or edgier. Who's edgy this week? You see, we don't know, and we're tired of not knowing stuff.

It's Road to Damascus-ville, Mildred. In God's name, what are we becoming? I don't mean that Patriot Act-bankrupting the country-invading the Third World stuff. That's last year's outrage. The people have spoken, and that "Huh?" echoes loud and clear. But what will happen to us when every last room in America has been made over, when every last straight guy 18-34 is restyled, when our toasters won't work without a USB cable?

I'm convinced now. One man can make a difference if he simply refers to himself in the plural. I pledge to you that wherever there's a confused old person clinging to analog, I'll be there. Wherever there's a demographic unpopular with advertisers, I'll be part of it. If you drive a Buick, I'll be behind you, matching your 32 mph. As long as there is one man left who says "What the fuck is this?" when served mango chutney, or chases teenagers off his lawn, or secretly yearns to throw 'er in reverse and slam the rolling boombox stopped behind him at the light, I swear they'll have a champion. That is our mission.

Or maybe I need another eyeopener.


eRobin said...

I'll add to your era of good feelings. When I read that story, I immediately thought of you and wondered what you'd write about it.

Anonymous said...

As one of those occasional commenters over at Wo'C, I believe I am partly to blame for Mr. Riley the Plural getting mixed up in starting his own blog. Actually, no, I'm not at all to blame, and he was already mixed up when I got here. Doghouse, if I may call you that, just because you haven't managed to siphon Digby's traffic or co-opt the lonesome Billmon refugees in the less than two months BLTR has been alive, doesn't mean you are a failure. No, we--and by "we" I mean "others"--are to blame. We suck (metaphorically).

James Briggs Stratton "Doghouse" Riley said...

robin, thanks, I'm touched. And Thorlac, actually, you are to blame. It was your post that provided the spark that lit the fuse that ignited the kindling that touched off the powderkeg. So grab a bucket, man.

Seriously, though, I have no idea what I'd do with real traffic. Run and hide, probably. It's been more than gratifying just to have so many smart people drop in an leave a comment, and especially to meet some very fine bloggers I'd overlooked. Really, thanks. And I'm not drinking any more than usual.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll tell you what I told Bérubé: try more poop jokes. It's been working for him, too; better than all that poofty academic stuff had been. Fame can be dangerous, though; once Seb of Sadly, No! became rich and/or famous, Brad R. forced him to grow a second penis (probably to make up to Brad for him giving up his own blog)! Or you could be like Norbizness and scurry about thwacking people with a crumpled wad of coupons while belittling them about their taste in film and music (it's painful, no matter how deserved the belittling may be). It's a glamorous life you bloggers lead. I'd do it myself, but then I'd have to be creative, and I save "creative" for my tax return.

Anonymous said...

Well, pour one for me, too. And none-a those pink-colored drinks, either.

Beautiful rant.

Anonymous said...

You know, I think buried in here is your response to the "Caesar's Bath Meme". How incredibly cryptic of you. And how do we know Alex is young. Just because he says he's a student doesn't mean he's not another grizzled, frustrated Berubean commenter looking for oxes to gore. Speaking of that, I'm thinking of blogging sarcastic responses to John Tesh's radio show, Intelligence for Your Life. Any tips?

SuzanH said...

Love the "If you drive a Buick, I'll be behind you, matching your 32 mph."

Keep up the good work.

julia said...

see, though, Annenberg was an evil Republican jerk who gave a ton of money to conservative causes, so as far as I'm concerned TV Guide can go down.

Anonymous said...

Doghouse, if you want to repost the Malkin thing here, have at it. If you want to do an entire day where you do nothing but put up haiku dedicated to the proposition that fax machines are toasters with a telephone attached, I'll be here to giggle. For some reason, every time you type "you kids get off my lawn" I get a chortle. Is it high art? I dunno. But I know what makes me laugh.
Curmudgeon on, dude.