Friday, December 17, 2010

Exit Music (For A Blog)

Radiohead apparently made In Rainbows to be a track-by-track companion album to OK Computer, their monster album from ten years prior; all you have to do is alternate the tracks (giving them each a ten-second crossfade) and you’ve got yourself a complete, flowing super-album with songs recorded a decade apart. It sounds amaaaaaazing, seriously. It’s nerd-honey poured directly on the tongue of your ear, the most orgasmic headphone rock ever spliced together by man or beast, and if I had more ears I’d be catatonic. As it was, I almost shit myself when "Paranoid Android" shifted into "Bodysnatchers" and had to borrow one of the kid’s diapers as a cautionary measure…

What? Oh, the blog. Right. So, I’m kind of blissfully gurgling as I start my read, getting my head repeatedly kicked in by the awesomeness of RadioheadÜberAlbum, when I hear this muted caterwaul blip through the chorus of "Electioneering"; I pause, thoughtfully, expecting to hear the kid upstairs wailing away, but no - there it is again, like a shrill champagne flute resonating with the echo of a tortured budgie and it’s in my headphones. Slightly panicked, I tenderly pause my music and listen instead to what I soon discern to be Mariah Carey.

Ah, I think. Super Single Mom must have a music-player at the bottom of her blog. I’ll just scroll down, shut Mariah up, and then go back to reading whilst Radiohead kills me nerdly. Sure, no problem… but for the fact that she has FORTY FUCKING POSTS on the main page. Oh, I counted - oh yes: More than a couple, twice twenty, the big four-oh, FORTY. Ah, I think. She doesn’t really care about her readers, then; she’s more interested in an overabundance of posts right off the top because… well, I actually don’t know why. I calmly return my music player to the "rad" position (if sopping-wet syrupy pancakes were distilled down to sonic vibrations, they would be "Reckoner" coming out of "Electioneering") and go about sifting through said overabundance.

Eventually, I find that she uses some variation of "beyond X" ("it was beyond fun", "it was beyond painful", "I am beyond tempted") an awful lot. Let’s link that! I say, excited to find something remotely noteworthy to write about. But, lo, what’s this? "Function disabled"? I cannot pull the links to individual posts without creating a link on one of my own blog’s pages? Surely I’ve made a mistake somewhere, I say, my voice rising. SURELY I’m not going to post a review without any links, the lone indicator we Askers have of proving we read our assigned blog. I click the archives, hoping that this link-dysfunction is but a front-page issue, but as "function disabled" zings me click by click, over and again, something that sounds like a trash-can being stabbed with a chainsaw interrupts "No Surprises", and it’s WHAM! singing "Last Christmas". Oh, of course - I switched pages, which means I get another snoot-full of autoplay. Awesome.

In what can only be considered a foolhardy maneuver, I figure to escape by clicking on another month in the archives section instead of scrolling down and shushing George Michael, but there I find the archives… missing! Ah, I think, smiling mirthlessly. Those fucking snowflakes she has cascading down the page are messing with the sidebar loading. I turn off iTunes. Ah, I think. She is trying to murder me.

What the fuck, Crystal? Why would you do that to me? You can’t just autoplay me like that, not when you’re trying to get me to hang around and read your shit. As a reviewer, however, you’ve got me by the short hairs because I have to read your shit, though now I’m doing so with a heart heavy from Radioheadlessness and am thus enervated. Here’s the thing, my dear, about your writing: you’re not, really. Technically, sure, you’re putting words on the page in sentences that far too often end with multiple exclamation marks, but you’re not delving or crafting or creating anything. You’re pedantically writing down what happened without any flair or verve and strangers who happen upon your blog are given utterly no reason to care. You’re trapped in a vent/update/upload-pictures-of-kids cycle, and without the glue of interesting writing to hold it all together your blog is only a facebook profile with autoplay music and snowflakes.

(Instructions to readers in regards to the next paragraph: when I say this post, imagine a hyperlink to the actual post, but then click here, scroll down to the bottom, turn off the music, then scroll back up about a third of the page to Who cut the cheese? from October 19. Thank you.)

Example: This post about your kids fake-farting in a pharmacy should be hilarious and yet, sadly, it is not. Why is that? Well, partially because "He was using his lips, his arm pits blowing on his arm" doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and partially because kids fake-farting really isn’t anything close to "insane". Now, a kid shitting his pants, taking off said shitty pants and folding them inside out to paint a feces-mural of The Last Supper across the pharmacy bulletin-board, that would be insane. Blowing a mouth-fart into the crook of an arm? Kids do that all the time.

In fact, most things happen all the time. To everyone. Constantly. So, instead of merely telling me what happened, show me what happened, and I’m not talking about photographs; I’m talking about constructing a narrative that paints a picture for your readers and allows them to participate, at least cognitively. When you announce "X happened, and that makes me feel Y", it’s stale and lifeless; if you start with X, skip Y, and go to Z (the consequences of X), you can allude to how you feel while letting readers reach their own conclusions. A blog might seem like a monologue, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk at people.

Merry X-Mas.


  1. You know, I've never really listened to Radiohead.

  2. I'd just like to say, I fucking HATE when the right click option is disabled. I open all links in tabs, using my right click and not having it available makes my teeth hurt.

  3. Me neither HIF, but NJ has inspired me a little.

  4. But wait, over there. To 'the blog'. And it took BEYOND a long time to load what my computer said was '43 items remaining'.
    When it did load I thought I had arrived at the JC Penney catalogue.

  5. So what's up with the links disabled? She thinks someone's gonna steal something off her blog? That Dooce might come by and crib some of her musings?

    Hmmm, don't get it.

    On the other hand, awesome NJ that you used your review to slip Radiohead an IFLY.

  6. So funny HIF, neither have I. I'm feeling old now, like I should go outside and watch some birds or something.

  7. Jesus. You warned me; nonetheless, when Wham! started caroling me (at 5:30 am on Sunday in bed) I panicked. Crap.

  8. People who autoplay shit music should be Guantanamised.

    I'm totally trying that Radiohead thing. Do you have to be stoned?

  9. I cannot thank you enough for not only putting up with WHAM and the dreaded snowflakes but also for taking the time to read my blog. Your review opened up my eyes to so many things that I need to change!
    Again, thank you!
    Crystal Lynn

  10. I love it when they are gracious and stuff.

  11. I'm not disturbed by Dooce cribbing from people, more disturbed by the number of pisspoor imitators she has.

    Anyway, liked the review, autoplay is an abomination but I also like the fact that it was received so nicely by the reviewee.

  12. SSM&HSK was so nice.
    What the hell is going on here?
    Are we all going to revisit her blog in a month or two to see if she meant it?
    Is NJ going to revisit to see if he can endure it without Radiohead?

  13. On the way home I was singing along to an old song on the radio called High and Dry. Lo and behold, its by Radiohead. So whatdoyouknow--I do like Radiohead.

  14. Lo and behold, she was nice and actually made some changes. I'm appalled.

    In a good way.

  15. Radiohead is too sad. They just remind me of a dead cat.


Grow a pair.