I will tell you right now as Snotty McShot, as a man who doesn’t like to mince her words, that this blogging business has me a bit uneasy.
Like white people felt when all those far-off countries started developing The Bomb, blogspot’s made it possible for any old crepuscular shitheel to see his words published, and because it’s in the same format as the online Telegraphs, Chicago Tribunes, Financial Times or Le Figaros, it’s somehow equal in weight, depth and scope.
To blogs is extended the same thought behind television that, if it’s being broadcast, it must be real. And with that extension has come the ubiquitous comment board, allowing people to create a small, insular community they believe to be Pangea. I submit that this false sense of community gives just enough positive reinforcement for many to adopt the distorted notion that their links to the Guardian or National Review are modern muckraking and are changing the world one link at a time.
I can only hope I articulate this as well as it sounds in my misty medulla at the end of an afternoon and evening of drinking, but blogging – blogging to make a difference – is like these self-serving Saturday anti-war marches through permit-secured side streets, state-sanctioned "get it off your chest" zones, after which we all go home and watch "Strictly Come Dancing", our civic duty fulfilled. Meaning well just isn’t enough anymore. Like chronic drunks and masturbators, that energy needs to be channelled into more productive emotions for it to be worth its expense. Not to say that a good beat-off won’t clear the mind, but it’s only with a little tactical patience that you’ll fuck something up. Turn that energy into outrage. Into hate.
Anger is the greatest litmus test we have, but we tell ourselves we must suppress it. Show no emotion. More often than not we are most honest with ourselves and others when we fly off the handle. Hate is anger, anger is pain, and pain is information. And that’s why the bad guys are always more successful. I always rooted for Darth Vader because he gave into his hate and he was at least being honest. If those rebels a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away were part of today’s crowd, Luke would post on a blog he ran from his sustainable farm in Degobah, Leia would play bass in an emo band, while C3PO would be the queen. No one would be fighting the empire.
The distant, impersonal nature of blogs has neutralised the editless spontaneity of natural outrage. Anger should not be diluted with links. It should be read on the face, not on messageboards and leaflets. Our crimson cheeks are the most meaningful scarlet letters we have.
These blogs make it easier for us to stop testing ourselves. If we can come home from work and post 300 words after dinner about how Rumsfeld’s comments in The Guardian contradict his pre-Iraq press conferences, and we know that, because of the great vastness of the internet, these words can potentially be read by billions, we feel like we’ve done our part. In reality, however, we’re just one guy standing in the vast expanse of space, turning on a flashlight for an hour everyday at 7:30 in the midst of all the other stars who believe their words, too, are celestial.
And in that sense blogs really suck an ass. They’ve turned civil disobedience into something private, like masturbating in the work toilet. Something a lot of people could know about, and should know about, but they don’t. Blogs are, though well intended, a collective tug at the cock of commitment. Like a Saturday march through police-approved zones that disrupts no corporate trading, a blog post offers the safe middle ground of posing no threat to its targets and no sacrifice to us.
And so to Jason and Jessica and every other asshole like me, I ask, how committed are you? If they took the blogs away, what would we do? How far would you go to secure the ideals you write about under your funny nickname?
Let’s say your phone rings right now and a raspy growl says, "It’s Dick Cheney." Mr. Cheney, you gasp. He says, "We need you in Washington. A plane is ready. Your driver will be at the door in five minutes. Pack a few outfits." What gives, you’d probably say. "The world depends on it."
Like me, you’d probably go, if anything because despite his propensity for ordering the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people, you wouldn’t expect the vice president of the United States to order yours.
You arrive in Washington and Cheney, decked in his jacket and tie (for the cameras) and Puma track bottoms, is waiting on the tarmac and levels with you.
Still smiling at the flashbulbs, he squeaks through gritted teeth: "George is a bit unstable these days. The drug cocktails are less effective everyday. He’s more paranoid than ever. He wants to nuke the world’s financial capitals and all of Europe. He’s got the missiles programmed, and these days it’s all a matter of distraction. But he’s got this strange fetish he mentions in his sleep that we think might help us subdue him. Can you help us?"
Doing what, you’d probably ask.
"The fate of the world depends on it. Does it really matter?"
"Because you’re his type."
I would look at him quizzically, but that’s just me.
"We need you to lie on the grass in the Rose Garden - Kentucky bluegrass, very soft and delicate - and allow the president to stand over your neck and chest. We need you to take his penis into your mouth and fellate him with your tongue and slight pumps with your hand over his shaft until he begins reciting Bible passages, which are actually just Creedence lyrics he’s come to believe are the word of God. He is now about to ejaculate. You will need to stimulate his testicles with your fingertips, which will encourage the president to release the contents of his bowels onto your sternum."
You will look at him blankly.
"The world depends on you."
Why me? you would probably reiterate.
"We’ve read your blog. You’re a sensitive soul. You’re kind. You care. You stand for freedom of expression, and this is something the president really needs to express. Only when he has double discharged does the president see the world as an island of hope in an as yet undiscovered universe. Only then does he see the blind pursuit of power as fruitless and recognise that the true strength of man is the energy within us, the original life force that expanded with the initial atom and pulses through the hearts and minds of animal, plant and man. We are one, and we are free. But only if the president can come in your mouth and shit on your chest."
So if I don’t submit to this, the world ends, you’d repeat.
"The world as we know it, yes."
I’m guessing you would agree to this atypical nuclear disarmament. I would. I mean, for God’s sake, would you let your family die?! You can wash your chest and brush your teeth. You’d do it and the world would be thankful. You’d feel quite good about yourself. And so you ask Dick where you can get changed. For once in your life you’ve done something to make a difference.
* * *
You’re in the Lincoln bedroom of the White House and there’s a rap on the door. Dick Cheney pops his head in before you answer and sits down on the foot of the bed. He kneads the loose skin on your knee.
"Was it so bad?" he softly growls.
You pull the cover down from your face, and he smiles. The skin on his face is paper-thin and could tear at any moment. He stares at you long and intently. He knows you know something is up but he plays it off with smiles and more massage.
"You were very successful. The president played with his toy box all afternoon and never once said he wanted to be 'Parisless'."
You know there’s more, and that’s why Dick Cheney’s come to see you like this, so soon, so submissively. In your heart you know.
"But he’s getting bored with his toys."
Can’t you get him new toys? you’d say.
He shrugs his shoulders and fondles an autographed Texas Rangers’ baseball on the nightstand next to you.
"What do you get the man who has everything? Listen, we need you to visit the president everyday at lunch. It’s the only way."
The only way?
I’m guessing you would clasp your heart with your trembling hand, touching that defiled hole in the centre of you.
It will be dirtied and soiled no matter what choice you make.