Saturday, November 08, 2008

In Defense of the Dilettante Blogger

Of late, there have been a few attempts in the blogging world wherein certain elements have taken a swipe at the rise of numerous literary bloggers, a thing that is seen as the rise of the idiot blogger. Now , in the past, I have been forced many times to think of my personal attempts at blogging, the value it has, if any, and the ultimate purposes it might serve. The ideal and very notion of blogging has not been an uncritical presence. It has always been a conscious area, even while any self forced absence has been conscious too. However, the reasons why people fancy that they can write, that they should write, are different too. To write, which any amateur blogger thinks they are doing, is obviously an act that only the concerned person can answer. There is a difference between writing and blogging and so long as this difference is not forgotten, the dilettante blogger is not usurping anything at all.

It is important to see how the professional or self declared serious literary blogger, the self anointed literary critic, the self declared messiah of blog land, the new conservative blog land hawk has spawned an entire new area of operation in blog land. Any blog search, even to a new literary dilettante novice will reveal a totalitarian control of what should be read and reviewed and how; you will find in various blogs the same drum being beaten again and again. As you scroll down such self consciously important blogs, pathetically declared as the best of literary coverages and so on, you will find the same blogs being read and promoted everywhere, the same names everywhere and those same comments which smack of self importance, egoistic milking and self declared literary benchmarks.

The literary novice is usually far well read these days than the professional blogger. He or she does not play to the gallery of literary critical establishment. The literary critic is now nothing more than a journalist, reporting rather than discoursing, and in the process adding nothing to the reality of debate. It is, as Daniel Bell calls it, a bourgeois addition to the whole debate, for the response of the new blogger is equal to what the middle-class reader evokes. This journalistic chatter, passed on as serious literary coverage and pasted on blog faces everywhere is cringing to see. On these self declared great literary blogs, where all the self important names are continually mentioned, this totalitarian control does not allow the possibility of an outsider to venture in; an outsider dilettante who might be not only a better writer but definitely more widely read.

Some of these so-called literary portals are devoted exclusively either to promoting each other and thus create a fraternity of literature-land ( and in the process stop judging each other and start judging others) and also to promote certain writers, who incidentally might be either good or bad; these main literary portals on the web today are the equals of those who killed a Keats in earlier times. The value and worth of what is written is exclusive to the reader alone. Each individual reader has the capacity to judge the value of what is read. In the same way, this almost totalitarian control of Internet spaces amounts to nothing less than a kind of imperialism of the net. The dilettante blogger has now got the means to speak about those texts that are either being declared holy or have been declared beyond criticism in the past; he or she also has the prerogative of challenging, even if naively, the current wisdom of our Journalistic seers.

Therein, lies the modern paradox. The space of the Internet cannot be justifiably colonized though it can be hogged continuously by the self appointed guardians of literary critical writers. Most of them unfortunately are either failed or failing writers who perhaps should take solace from Bolano's fiction and fictive heroes than create activities, hierarchies and ladders of bloggers and blogging. The dilettante blogger does not have recourse to hidden psychological motives that only the professional critic sees. The novice blogger must write if she/he wants to and in that process a certain meaning to a read text might be achieved. The meanings gleaned might be off the mark but will not be totally wrong for the real exigency is known to the writer of the primary text alone. The dilettante writers blog is one click from deletion but so is the professional self declared best blogger's too. That in itself might be the egalitarianism of the Internet. Everything good and ugly is just a click away from oblivion.


Anonymous said...

I've come to enjoy the swipes media professionals make at bloggers. Sniff the air. Take in that fear. Ha ha!

Roxana said...

hi kubla. well, if the words are superflous, and the images too now, I should give up blogging, shouldn't I? I've stopped.

Roxana said...

don't worry, no, I know that you meant it as a praise and I was immensely honoured and touched. I have to thank you again. I understand now that my comment here could have been ambiguous, but it isn't, not in the way I meant it. I just wanted to tell you that I understand why you are so skeptical about blogging, because sometimes everything seems useless, words and images too.
it is just that I need to be silent for a while. you know how it is.