Monday, July 12, 2004

Blog Review:

The artistic accomplishments that a person is supposed to like are legion. The so-called classics of literature that are considered must-reads for example. I've lost count of the number of these that I have attempted to read that have caused me to slump forward in my chair while my eyes glaze over. From the pedantic, long-winded tripe of Ayn Rand, with wooden characters and bland plot-lines, to supposed cult classics with cryptic back-stories such as Confederacy of Dunces.

The opposite of those are the ostensibly low-brow offerings such as Mr. Bean or reality TV shows that many would be loathe to admit they watch but are drawn to nonetheless.

I can't remember how I first stumbled onto this website. It's the type of site I tell myself that I least enjoy. Instant intimacy with all the details of the author's life out in the open, no thought left unexpressed and accompanying photos as well. Loads of gimmicky little items adorn the sidebars of her site; lists, itemized links and all manner of self-referential bits and pieces.

She is a yank who seemingly couldn't find a US university to accept her so she found some frozen Canadian outpost with a campus desperate for warm bodies. What is she studying? Apparently "rhetoric"...which means that essentially she is learning how to be a bullshit artist...and here on her blog she aspires to hone her craft. Perhaps her blog is in response to the paucity of others to talk to in the sterile wasteland she finds herself.

On the face of it the concept doesn't appeal to me. The only thing she feels capable of pontificating on is herself or pop culture examples which she can weave her own experiences into. She reads books about other navel-gazers who seem to provide the hope that one day her self-serving maunderings will be celebrated as well. She is likely skilled at working into conversations the fact that she has a blog and "here d'ya want the address?"

But somehow I find myself returning occasionally to find out what trauma she has blown up, what melodramatic sentiment she has latched's the voyeuristic appeal, and the sense that she could embarrass herself at any moment...but someone who casually offers up the details of her life doesn't embarrass easily.

She does have a rather striking smile, which is featured nicely on the home page of her blog. In a medium where she has total control over her image, she does let a few pictures slip through where she seems to be built a bit like a fire hydrant...ahh...we'll chalk it up to the layered clothing in the frozen tundra of the north. And while this certain lack of self-aggrandizement and willingness to share some of her vulnerability must be part of the appeal, at times it feels somewhat contrived, catering to the image of the angst-ridden, confused young woman with all the appropriate reference points that seem to make up the current zeitgeist.

A person can generalize and claim to be no fan of a certain genre of book or movie. It's safe to say that some lend themselves more to superficial crap than others do. But when someone is committed to producing a certain style of commentary, the consistent output and relatively good writing skills can make it surprisingly enjoyable despite what the concept suggests.

Maybe my earlier barbs were off target...after all she's only 24 years-old and she did seem to turn her back somewhat on a bible-beating upbringing, which I applaud. Growing up in the overwhelming cauldron of yank wackos desperate to be recognized, where celebrity is more and more something to applaud simply for itself instead of any real accomplishment, she is very much a product of her environment.

And who am I to criticize...while she only fled a few hundred miles north, I went half-way around the world, and I do have this blog, though I make a conscious effort not to get into the constant self-analysis. But I have been slipping lately...

That's it. When you engage in something for any length of time, it can't help but have some effect on you. Still, when I add a sidebar category with a constant update of what my current mood is, it will be time for this cunt to call it quits.

If you have a blog you would like reviewed, send me an e-mail.