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Thursday, August 13th, 2009 | Posted by James Enge

For writers, blogging is almost certainly a mistake. (For “blogging” substitute almost any kind of social networking common nowadays.) Writers make worlds out of the stuff in their heads; they can’t be wasting it on blog-posts (at least, if they think they’re going to run out of words). Further, though it may be very amusing to describe the life-and-death battle that recently occurred between your cat and a shoelace, at least to you and your cat (and housecats are a significant portion of the audience for the average blog, a fact I can prove with science-based assertions upon presentation of a relevant court order), still: if you run your mouth endlessly in public, sooner or later you will say something you wish you hadn’t. In my case, it usually involves tangled parentheses of some kind, but with regular people it can sometimes be quite serious.

Plus, saying stupid stuff is relatively harmless compared to blogging stupid stuff. Suppose someone says something stupid in your presence. Later on, you’re talking to a mutual acquaintance, i.e. me, and you say, “You’ll never believe what Whatshisname said.” (You have better things to do with your time, certainly, but bear with me here; it’s just a thought experiment.) And I don’t believe you. I say something like, “Oh, I know Whatshisname and he’d never say that. Are you sure he wasn’t being ironic?” Maddening. Someone has to do something about this irony stuff. Anyway, that’s the way it might play out in conversation. But if what’s in question is an injudicious blog-post, a convenient link will slay the Ganondorf of disbelief. That’s tough on old Whatshisname, since we won’t be buying his stupid books anymore.

So: blogging. Bad for writers, possibly.

Good for readers, though. It’s a tremendous benefit to potential readers of a book to find out that its author is a porcinely gross, foul-mouthed, bloviating bag of toothless malice squirting flatulent saliva-streaked jets of verbal poison into the eyes of any innocent web-wanderer who happens upon his blog. If they like that sort of thing, then they can support it by buying Whatshisname’s books–and if not, then not.

So, in addition to the “Blog Against Blogging Week” to save writers from themselves (which has occasionally been proposed), I counter-propose a “Blog Against ‘Blog Against Blogging Week’ Week” to save readers from writers. Eventually, everyone will be saved from everybody else, and what a relief that will be.


  1. Amazing how people can put their foot in their mouth, isn’t it?

    Comment by Bill Ward - August 13, 2009 5:59 pm

  2. Yes. It’s when they chew it off and then start on the next one that I really begin to take notice. Because I’m always looking for role models, I guess…

    Comment by James Enge - August 13, 2009 10:39 pm

  3. […] is a direct follow up to James Enge’s post yesterday, Metabloggery. Being completely devoid of ideas as to what to write about here this week — the previously […]

    Pingback by Black Gate » Blog Archive » Public Opinion In the Age of Fractured Culture - August 14, 2009 12:29 pm

  4. […] you don’t miss a thing. Go on and click it already, it won’t hurt you. I swear it won’t.James Enge recently posted a short exploration of the perils of too much freedom to publish — what happens when a writer […]

    Pingback by Fracturing Foot-In-Mouth — - August 14, 2009 12:47 pm

  5. Ah, but, what if you’re like me, and both amazingly handsome AND charming? And constantly spouting off witticisms and bons mots like there’s no tomorrow?

    That knowing me personally is beneficial to my readers was never a question–it’s beneficial to all people, readers and non-readers alike. But I believe it’s also beneficial to me to be adored by more people, and exposure to my luminescent presence can only improve that number.

    Comment by braak - August 17, 2009 4:27 pm

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