Why are you writing about blogging?

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.

                Posted: May 12th, 2009
                at 1:12pm by orangemenace

                Categories: architecture,my ninja, please,MNP,criticism

                Comments: 13 comments


                13 Responses to 'Why are you writing about blogging?'

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                1. I really wanted to toss a “can’t we all just get along” on the end there, but it’s probably best for the comments…


                  12 May 09 at 1:18 pm


                2. I follow you on Twitter and generally enjoy your blog and comments. I agree with the spirit of this post and think the distinction between blogging and print media is less relevant everyday. But I have to admit that after reading the article you are railing against, I retweeted it. I did so because I felt it was provacative. I got provoked replies too! If commentary gets people thinking, that’s important too. I would like to be able to retweet your post here, I think it makes so great points. However, because I tweet as a representative of an organization, I can’t retweeet stuff with profanity. So consider this a ‘psychic’ retweet, and keep up the covnersation:)

                  with kindest regards


                  12 May 09 at 1:40 pm


                3. Well, first off – I’ve edited the post for profanity [I think I got ’em all, anyways]. Not so you can ‘Tweet’ it necessarily, but because you make a valid point [if unintentional] that the cursing was unnecessary.

                  As to Abrahams’ article being provocative – I would obviously agree with you. My attacking it is obviously unfair, as I’m really using it as an example of what seems to me to be an increasingly popular trend [the media’s obsession with the ‘net, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc]. That said, I also made a point of holding it out there to be criticized because he seemed to be so unfair in his critique of the ‘blogs’ he chose to discuss in his article. It seemed as if he couldn’t find a ‘blog’ devoted to ‘contemporary criticism’ or ‘theory’, so he needlessly trashed some popular blogs he did know – calling them out for failing to be things that they never suggested they were.

                  Actually, the lone comment [as of now] on Abrahams article is more thought provoking than the article itself – where the commenter simply asks ‘why’ there aren’t more blogs devoted to criticism and theory, rather than condemning existing sites for being something else. That, to me, is a conversation worth having. That isn’t to say that I’m against discussing the merit / worth of blogs – it’s that to me that doesn’t seem to be the discussion taking place. Instead, some ‘traditional’ media comes around and slams the internet [be that blogs, twitter, whatever], and fails to offer up alternatives to the blogging status quo.

                  Sorry for the wordy reply to your comment…I’m just running at the mouth [or keyboard?] today.


                  12 May 09 at 2:58 pm


                4. Abrahams’ take on the “apparent” dipole of print journalist’s dismission or acceptance of architecture blogging as “Both of those approaches is born of fear.”. I find this odd, it seems to me this attitude is injected with far more fear and static-thinking (more dangerous, in my opinion, than somewhat regressive thought he purports), than any of the blogs he linked, or that is linked from anything he linked.


                  12 May 09 at 4:26 pm


                5. Ok, here’s my take. Blogs like yours suck because you don’t KISS enough archi-arses. Blogs threaten the profession’s very bread-n-butter. In order to keep aloft the supernatural-beingness of architects, the public must be mystified, the more incomprehensible, and alienating the forms, the more obtuse and unintelligible the post-modern theory and prose, the better the buildings and their architects. You bloggers just tell it like it is, hell, even poking fun at The Pantheon of Titans, when you should be tracing the trajectory of the ever changing nature of the relationship between the straight line of the design vector of the machinic aesthetic-ecstasy and its tangential relationship to the circle of cyclical yet bifurcating architectural discourse within the time-space continuum of our age ever extending to the reality of new and unknown horizons.


                  13 May 09 at 2:30 pm


                6. ^ That is possibly my favorite comment on AMNP, ever. “…tracing the trajectory of the ever changing nature of the relationship between the straight line of the design vector of the machinic aesthetic-ecstasy and its tangential relationship to the circle of cyclical yet bifurcating architectural discourse within the time-space continuum of our age ever extending to the reality of new and unknown horizons”?!?!? You’re killin’ me man – that’s just too awesome.


                  13 May 09 at 2:56 pm


                7. Ah, orangemenace, I would love to accept the accolade for myself but in truth, I, the amateur, took the liberty to plumb the depths of the awesome talent that is Libeskind and the shoddy product spliced poorly is but a derivative of the original jewel. I present…Libeskind on the Hyundai Development Centre in Seoul:

                  “The Tangent is a project that is about the relationship between the ever changing circle of nature and the straight line of technology. In the contact between the circle and the line, one can see the meeting between the wheel and its path. Through their mutual engagement, nature gives reality to machines and machines extend nature to new and unknown horizons.

                  I designed this unusual image for Hyundai to show that the straight line of technology and ecological sustainable future can become a positive vector in space and in travel. The wheel and the line relate to the tension and sensitivity of one to the other.”

                  The poetry is even more compelling when accompanied by image:



                  13 May 09 at 3:06 pm


                8. Back to topic, in the blistering attack on “Nostalgia”, there appears to be a mushy little interview in the very issue of Blueprint that devoted itself to the subject of an inflatable toy in the form of the retro-cool Berlin TV Tower, called Walter. Someone with a credible login and avatar please go and point out the irony.


                  13 May 09 at 3:12 pm


                9. Wow.

                  Well, I guess I should have known that it came from somewhere – even spliced together it’s nearly acceptable archi-speak.


                  13 May 09 at 3:17 pm


                10. There’s so much more of this stuff on Libeskind’s site – gimme another 10 minutes and I’ll roll out an erudite slogan for AMNP guaranteed to please the gods-that-be at Blueprint. Try it, it’s fun. It gets repetitive though…”vector”, “trajectory”, “phyllum”, “tangent”, “oblique”…I highly recommend a new Math textbook or Pop Science paperback if horizons are to be expanded.


                  13 May 09 at 3:26 pm


                11. These words are still about geometrics. Wait until you see how their use terminology of physics and biology, and, of course, the highest knowledge human race ever reached, THE philosophy.


                  14 May 09 at 1:09 am


                12. frankly i didn’t realise this was even a debate that was being had. I thought we moved past all that about the same time as we forgot about the millenium bug…..


                  18 May 09 at 12:47 am


                13. Interesting notion – if designers shouldn’t be caught in in nostalgia, why is is OK for critics? To your point regarding Maureen Dowd – over the weekend she admitted to plagiarizing copy from a blogger: http://tinyurl.com/o5qdv5

                  Brent Thompson

                  19 May 09 at 12:04 am



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