Some of you may have seen a fairly ignorant rant of a post that was mistakenly published by me a couple weeks ago, where I ‘discussed’ my opinion of the increasingly popular trend to write about [and critique rather fiercely] ‘blogging’. The high and low point was, I believe, my likening writing / blogging about blogging to masturbation – a statement that I’m standing by.
I decided not to publish the post, as it was a fairly ridiculous stream-of-thought freak out. Now, I’m ‘only’ a ‘blogger’, but I have the insight to know that what I had written was little more than garbage to make myself feel better [for whatever reason] – and that that isn’t the purpose of this site. But really, the idea that I need to defend my actions [blogging], when you think about it, is absolutely ludicrous. What I do with my free time / internet connection is my own business – just the fact that I was made to think / feel, even if only momentarily, like I had to defend ‘blogs’ is wrong.
So, on to what provoked me to write this post [well, re-write it]. The latest issue of Blueprint Magazine is out, with an article by Tim Abrahams entitled “Nostalgia is No Substitute for Criticism“. The article is trite and isn’t particularly thought provoking – but it’s so short you might as well check out. Point is, he talks a lot of trash – blogging sucks, the internet isn’t the real world, bloggers aren’t architecture critics, nostalgia is bad, blah blah blah blah – but fails, I believe, to make an actual point. Has the man proposed a shift? No – he’s NOSTALGIC for architectural discourse before the internet. His big references are Banham and Venturi – that’s hardly progressive thinking, my ninjas.
Seriously, my people, am I only the only person reading articles and listening to discussions about the role of an online architectural discourse who’s about to lose his mind? Is architecture so behind as a culture that it still fears the internet? With that in mind, I have some questions for the anti-bloggers out there [or even those that 'question' the 'net]. Not because I’m offended, and not because I’m seeking legitimacy – but because I’m bored by the discussion, and would like to see it end. I’d much prefer read things of architectural substance, rather than idea-less critics complaining about the web.
So follow me on this brief journey – and feel free to tell me I’m an idiot in the comments.
~ If blogs suck so much – and ‘professional’ journalists / writers are so superior [as they should be] – then why are these writers worried? Why bother discussing blogs, and making an issue of it? Bloggers obviously don’t care [as in, we're not attacking authors, etc - I'd say that we care in that we'd prefer not be slandered].
~ I fail to see how Editorials / Op-Ed pieces – which many of these critiques are, essentially – are thoroughly different from blogs. They argue a personal view, are oftentimes full of vitriol, and are frequently based more on emotion and conjecture than substance. Maureen Dowd recently attacked Twitter in her column [to which BLDGBLOG responded] – and I think failed to see the irony of her general attack of the ‘net, as her column for the NY Times has essentially become a blog.
~ Why would these people want more ‘legitimate’ criticism to be happening online, anyways? Then they would actually be out of a job – whereas the current abundance of ‘eye candy’ based sites leaves a great void for critics and professional journalists to fill. And to suggest that some sites that do discuss theory / criticism more frequently aren’t legitimate because of their choice of content [as Mr. Abrahams has] is to suggest that we shouldn’t be allowed to pursue our personal interests. How should we interpret his comment on Sit Down Man, You’re a Bloody Tragedy? Should that apply across the board? Should we be worried about people who blog about antique cars, taking over and destroying a future of power windows and door-locks?
~ Blogs link EVERYWHERE – including new articles in the glossies or a new book’s amazon page. Abrahams suggests a system based on blogs linking only to each other, creating a group of connected bloggers – but this isn’t the case. The reality is that this linking connects all of architecture culture online, which is made up of much more than blogs [Abrahams article, included - I'd be willing to bet the majority of people reading his article are actually online].
~ PA Press [a publisher of books, can you believe it?] pays for ad space on a number of blogs – just look to the upper right of this very site. Doesn’t that suggest that blogs encourage a certain amount of book-buying? That would imply that people are reading – arch books are too pricey to buy and use to prop up your table.
~ The fact of the matter is that if you read blogs, then you’re exposed to more architecture than those who don’t. No, it isn’t the same as going and visiting a building – but neither is a book or magazine [and I'd guess the average architect doesn't have much to spend on travel right now]. Can anyone argue that blogs have reduced the amount of designers and architects who have been exposed to readers? Reduced the ideas these designers are trying to express? Or is the average internet-surfing architect now more aware of a wider variety of work?
~ A lot of this feels like misplaced anger – much like newspapers lashing out at news blogs. The internet isn’t putting print out of business because readers have changed mediums, or because everyone has stopped buying papers / magazines – ADVERTISERS have had the largest impact, opting to pay cheaper prices online rather than taking out ads in papers and glossies. Capitalism fails us yet again.
Finally, I say this, to all you naysayers and shit talkers: Man up. In the face of a challenge a true ninja doesn’t back down – he/she rises to the occasion and whoops some ass. If you’re so concerned about the state of things, write something worth reading and discussing – don’t debase yourselves, trashing your supposed ‘competition’ [note: I don't believe blogs are the 'competition', I'm simply sticking with what seems to be the common feeling among aggravated journalists]. If my blog is garbage, and you take the time to write and publish an article calling me on it, what does that make your publication? Sure, that’s a little bit “I’m rubber, you’re glue…”, but I think it’s a legitimate question.