Sunday, March 20, 2005

Media Shakedown: Digs Through Celebrity Blogs, Comes up Empty

I have a blog. It’s called Dumpster Bust. On it, I write about politics, books, music, movies, the media, the Internet, and just about anything else that pops into my head. Its tag line is “Miracles from Mind Trash,” which sounds kind of pretty, but is also kind of true. I like writing it quite a bit, and get a kind word about it now and then from friends, family, and even the occasional stranger.

Why then do I find myself defending my blog as not a blog? I often refer to Dumpster Bust as a webzine, as though most people would even know what the hell that means, let alone “blog,” which a majority of people likely think of as the slimy residue that resides under a bog.

It’s because “blog” does not automatically equate to a soul-searching or even mundane personal online diary or journal. It can be that – and that’s all well and good – but a blog can really be anything, anything at all. If a website is arranged in any kind of chronological order, it’s likely a blog.

Blogs can be based around anything: horses, chimney sweeping, the Queen’s luggage, love of licking stamps, and so on. Dumpster Bust talks about an enormous range of topics (even the Queen’s luggage, when I’m of a notion). And sure, I pour my heart out every now and again to a worldwide yet miniscule audience, but a weepy sentimental portrait of self you will not find on these electronic pages (that’s not to say the personal e-journal variety of blog has to be such, but I liked the sound of that last bit as it had an Alex of A Clockwork Orange kind of a ring to it).

Which brings us to a article that centers around the new phenomena of celebrity blogs. Now, blogs from the likes of Melanie Griffith or Moby may indeed be of the I ate Corn Pops this morning, then tripped over Snuggles the Cat variety, but that should not stereotype their non-celebrity compatriots.

There's a theory that no one keeps a diary unless he or she wants it to be read, which is as good an explanation as any for the popularity of blogging. For the people who write them, blogs are a means of self-expression first and foremost, but they also reinforce an individual's sense of being part of a community. Even more important, they're a rudimentary form of validation: I'm being read, therefore I am.

All that goes for civilian bloggers, regular, average types who would be invisible and unknown to us if we didn't read their blogs. But it doesn't begin to explain why Melanie Griffith, minor celebrity and, let's not forget, at one time an incredibly charming actress, would feel compelled to share her tips on connecting with her inner self…

Now, I would think that a sophisticated, indie-minded website (webzine? blog with bylines?) like would be hip to the whole blogger thing.

But maybe not.

Maybe that’s why I feel the need to do some educating.


DB Note: The Salon article makes mention of a blog run by none other than Wil Wheaton of Stand By Me and Star Trek: The Next Generation fame. Its pretty good stuff and worth checking out.

Matter of fact, the March 19th edition centers around blogs and bloggers getting a bad rap.

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