Monday, July 13, 2009

All Animals Are Equal

...But some are more equal than others.

Politics are my crack. I admit it, without shame. The first blogs I ever read, after True Porn Clerk Stories, were political. I read Steve Graham (who used to blog at Hog On Ice, now defunct), Straight White Guy, Velociman, and Ellison, and I read the ubiquitous Acid Man, who passed away in 2006.

Steve Graham was actually the person who inspired me to begin blogging, and when he linked to my first post, ever, put me on the personal blogging map. I still have a not-entirely-platonic level of affection towards him, and the thought of him makes me warm in my furry parts.

These were/are all ostensibly political blogs, but they were also deeply personal blogs. Steve blogged about his inability to find a worthwhile woman, and the woman who screwed him over financially during law school, and smoking the world's most perfect piece of pork. And, Ellison blogged about his wife, and what he'd been cooking/eating/listening to recently, and his kids. Rob, the notorious Acid Man, well, he was a fucking train wreck that never ended, in addition to his political blogging. You never knew what Acid Man would be up to, and every day when I clicked in, I halfway expected that he'd have taken his ex-wife hostage with a sawed off shotgun below her chin.

Those were the wild, irreverent heydays of political blogging. You never knew who was going to get fired while working as a political intern and lifting her skirt for political bigwigs, though you could guess. You never knew who was going to get sued by someone they blogged about, though you could guess. You never knew who would die young, though you could guess. You never knew who would make it big, though you could guess.

It was wild, wooly, and a blast.

Political blogs these days are nothing too exciting anymore, particularly in comparison to those days. I still read Andrew Sullivan, of course, and I love him, especially for his ground-breaking coverage of the green revolution in Iran, but most political blogs have become decidedly mainstream, and in doing so, lost what made them fun to read in the first place, and that wasn't the politics, for hell's sake.

This blog, in particular, started off on such a promising note.
I was fired last August after over 17 years at the Transcript. Downsized, as the saying goes. Was I bitter? No, not right away. Now am I bitter? Yes. Add pissed off, panicky, directionless and you get an idea of my mental state. At first I was just relieved, because I thought I had some options work-wise. Now I kind of miss my old job, if not all the people.

(This first post is gonna suck, I can feel it, you can feel it, we all can feel it. It will get better, I promise.)

Now I am down to five stinking unemployment checks left. Five. I owe more money, to credit card companies, etc., than most Third World nations. Some of them, let's face it, are not going to get paid any time soon. And I say this to most of them: too fucking bad.

...Eventually, this blog will be a veritable cornucopia of pop culture insight, political wisdom and overall gems of greatness. Maybe as soon as tomorrow. One never know, do one? But as it stands now, I wake up every day bemoaning my situation, awash in a sea of self-pity, with the clock ticking down on my unemployment checks. Tick, tick, tick...

This is a freaking great post, a promising start. I can see why he was fired, as a copy editor, but the voice is real, and there is some train wreck here that engages me.

It stays bitter, too, and this bitter is a good thing when it renders up tasty morsels like this:
The rest of the paper includes the requisite celebrity worship and mindless designer brand name consumerism. On the cover is a picture of Eva Longoria. Why is this overexposed, talentless bimbo newsworthy today? Well, because she was seen kissing another overexposed celebrity at some L.A. club. That's what passes for news these days at metro. God help us.

Or this:
That's two strikes against Air America in my book, getting rid of Marc Maron and now, at least temporarily, no more Mike Malloy raving against Bush & Company. That's substantial fucking with stuff I grew to like. It's kind of like when Au Bon Pan discontinued their chicken pot pies and, ultimately, their spinach and cheese croissant, but obviously on a deeper, more gut-wrenching level. You don't miss your water till your well runs dry. I think Shakespeare said that. Or maybe Hank Williams.

I liked this blog in 2006. However, by early 2007, the Warden starts getting on my last good nerve by doing nothing more than synthesizing news articles and regurgitating them. He also begins to play with his fonts in unattractive ways, so a blog post starts out in a nice normal 11 pt arial type, and then morphs into 10 pt Times New Roman, and then segways into 14 pt blue Arial Bold, and then changes back into 11 pt Arial. Din't yer mama teach you not to play with your fonts, particularly in PUBLIC?

WTF?

Knock that shit off, you typeographical tool. It's fucking annoying.

And, your blog design is crap. From the over-populated sidebar to occasionally posting in centered or left-sided text, to whateverthefuck you have going on with your undersized header bar and the intelligible type below it, this shit needs work. I'd like to encourage you to trash this design, permanently, and go with something standard. If you don't want one of the generic blogger designs, how about something simple like this? Just try not to fuck it up with a bunch of pictures in your sidebar that are meaningless to everyone but you.

So, Warden, what are the fucking odds that you could locate the soul that your writing once had? If you did, I would consider reading it. As it is now, though, it isn't anything that isn't being done more professionally and better by the Huffington Post, the Pajamas Media people, or others.

It's the soul that sets these things apart. You had it in 2006, and somewhere, you lost it. And, that's a shame. Maybe it's impossible to blog for 3 years without losing your way. Your blog makes that case, loud and clear.

All I know is that you didn't suck, but now you do, and you've sucked long and hard for years now. Can that level of suck be fixed? I don't know, and frankly, you've given me no reason to care.

34 comments:

  1. Damn, LB. You nailed this.

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  2. But tell me, Rassles. Do you REMEMBER those days? The good old days of blogging?

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  3. Well, no. I've still only been doing this for like a year.

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  4. But I do remember the good old days of not blogging. I had so much more time on my hands. For drinking and stuff.

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  5. Ahahha.

    This blog annoys me too.

    I can't say I like the monstrous sidebar. It's way too distracting and I agree with ya on the different clusterfuck of fonts. Holy hell.

    & people who pass on news articles in their blogs. . . just make me want to punch something.

    Good day, LB.
    :]

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  6. I'm just glad that I'm not the only one who's annoyed as all hell by snarkyfauxnewscommentary.

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  7. I only got as far as the first post on the blog and then looked at the sidebar and all the pictures. That's what we are suppose to do right? Peruse the sidebar, no?

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  8. The design is a complete turn off. I have no urge to "try" to dig in.

    Dig into what?

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  9. His blog read like a child without his Ritalin. It was an ADD clusterfuck.

    Just NO.

    The sidebar was the best part of this blog.

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  10. I don't remember those good ole days either. But I sure wish I did. Now that I think of it, I read very few politically driven blogs.

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  11. I remember those days, and wish Warden would remember when he was bitter.
    Damn you Warden. Just. Damn you. Damn you for healing or letting go or staying drunk or whateverthefuck it is that caused you to turn that corner into the mundane.

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  12. I've only been blogging a couple of years (a year and a half on Myspace and 6 months on blogger). So I don't remember those days either, LB, but they sound amazing. I tend to stay away from political/news blogs. I'm like an ostrich with my head in the sand, I'm ashamed to say.

    Great review, LB, as usual!

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  13. I remember those days, and wish Warden would remember when he was bitter.
    Damn you Warden. Just. Damn you. Damn you for healing or letting go or staying drunk or whateverthefuck it is that caused you to turn that corner into the mundane.

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  14. And I wish Fontaine would remember to hit 'publish your comment' just once.
    What, LB? You don't like a bunch of copy & paste? Sheesh! Some people just have to be entertained all the time.
    Oh. Wait. That's why you like me, my crow bar, and my pumpkin muffins so much! Never mind.

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  15. Fontaine, there's a reason that most of the truly brilliant American writers were alcoholics. Just sayin.

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  16. MG--you're cracking me up with the Fontaine remark. As for the blog, why would I look at a regugitation of the news since all I do all day long at work is cruise news sites (and blogs).

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  17. ummm...regurgitation. Actually, not sure if that's right either, but it's closer for sure. Ya know, let's just go with revomiting. And if I'm just here talking to myself, so be it.

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  18. hereinfranklin - I'm listening, I guess. Damn insomnia.

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  19. I remember those days, and wish Warden would remember when he was bitter.
    Damn you Warden. Just. Damn you. Damn you for healing or letting go or staying drunk or whateverthefuck it is that caused you to turn that corner into the mundane.

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  20. Ill give MG a rimjob if she can go one day without mentioning pumpkin muffins

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  21. You did nail it, however most copy editors, even fired ones, would spot the error in using segway for segue.

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  22. Perhaps the fonts were wheeling themselves around? That's so typeical of them.

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  23. The font fiasco just makes me angry and disinclined to read.

    I don't think I remember the good old days of blogging, either.

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  24. I'm mad that I used segway instead of segue. But then, I'm not a copy editor by profession. In fact, if I told you what I do for a living, you'd die of hysterical laughter because it is so fucking absurd.

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  25. The Sheeple have indeed spoken. Next time try reading the fucking posts and thinking for yourself. Instead of ripping on the sidebar, is it too much to ask for a reviewer to actually read the articles linked there? You're the one who sucks for not even being honest enough to admit you made such a harsh conclusion based on a small random sampling of posts. In my opinion, your review failed to make the case why my book reviews, movie reviews, concert reviews, work anecdotes, etc., are synthesizing or regurgitating when they're on my blog, but on your own individual blogs similar musings are praised to the high heavens by the mutual admiration society of your sad little coterie.

    Anyway, I'll be carry on just fine, changing absolutely nothing based on your ridiculous assumptions about my soul, or lack thereof. How fucking dare you? Save the psychobabble for someone more likely to listen to your ravings.

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  26. Warden, here's a tampon. Well, it once was biscotti, but I think it will serve you better in soaking up all that mense you just dropped.

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  27. Wow, Warden. Who's a greater sheep? One who shares opinions with another, or one who seeks confirmation and acceptance?

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  28. From the "herd," at that.

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  29. Ah, the pains of those who expect to be loved, and aren't.

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  30. It's like when you won't sleep with a guy, so he calls you a slut in retaliation.

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  31. They call you a slut? I'm usually told that I'm a "cum guzzling whore." Oh, if only I had a dollar for every time I heard THAT phrase.

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  32. Rassles is a slut!

    Anything?

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  33. Hmmm, Love Bites. Or Meow, or whatever floats your f@cking boat.

    Are you not perhaps a tad guilty - not to mention over zealous - of confusing design over content ?

    After reading some of your less insightful remarks here, I find myself wondering if you are capable of discernment.

    Tampons, ghost of keywork ? just try inserting your woolly head up your ass.

    How very ironic.

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  34. Discernment ? Did somebody mention "discernment" ?

    No doubt the typo will prompt much snickering. Or a rich exchange in banalities.

    Maybe I should just try dressing it up in the emperor's new clothes or a nice new shiny font ?

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Grow a pair.