2008-02-16

Sarah Boxer on Blogs

The latest New York Review of Books (Feb. 14, 2008) contains an article by Sarah Boxer on blogs, books on blogs, and the trouble with writing books on blogs. In her article, she asks the following questions about blogs: "Are they a new literary genre?Do they have their own conceits, forms and rules? Do they have an essence?"

She says some pretty interesting things about bloggers and blog writing:

Of course I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure that bloggers have fouler mouths, tougher hides, and cooler thesauruses than most of the people I've read in print.
The very tone of most blogs--reactive, punchy, conversational, knowing, and free-associative--is predicated on linkiness and infused with it.
Blogs are porous to the world of texts and facts and opinions on line.
Bloggers are golden when they're at the bottom of the heap, kicking up. Give them a salary, a book contract, or a press credential, though, and it just isn't the same.
Bloggers at their computers are Supermen in flight. They break the rules. They go into their virtual phone booths, put on their costumes, bring down their personal villains, and save the world.
The law of the blogosphere is Hobbesian: survival of the snarkiest.
Blog writing is id writing--grandiose, dreamy, private, free-associative, infantile, sexy, petty, dirty.
The article contains some good tips for getting famous: "One of the surest ways to hoist your blog to the top of the charts is to bring down a big-time politician or journalist." Sex, doesn't hurt either, apparently, and can "give your blog a lift".

I have prepared a small quiz for all of you (based on the Boxer article) to test your blogging knowledge. Don't cheat. Don't look up anything on Wikipedia. I know, I know -- telling a blogger not to cheat is like telling your cat not to jump on the counter while you're out.

Here's the six-question quiz. No prize this time, because there is no way to prove that you didn't cheat.

1. Define "link whore".
2. What does the Japanese blogging term, ishikoro, refer to?
3. What famous blogger uses the acronym, "SAHM"?
4. Who coined the word "Weblog"?
5. What's a "troll" in blogspeak?
6. What is "astroturfing"?

4 comments:

zoom said...

You'll know I didn't cheat by virtue of the fact that I only know the answers to #1, #5 and maybe #3.

4th Dwarf said...

Aggie, before reading her article, I only knew one of those answers. But I can tell you that Ms Boxer hasn't been reading us or any of the blogs we follow.

Bloggers have tougher skins?

coyote said...

Of course we have cooler thesauruses. I keep mine in the freezer. With my astroturf.

Aggie said...

I know, Dwarfie. I don't know where she got the tougher skins idea. We are all a bunch of delicate flowers. Boxer has no idea about the time we all ended up in group therapy together.