Writing Machines is the course website for English 170L at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
The comic posted today from my favorite newspaper strip seemed oddly appropriate....
Fark, which is a blog in the first sense of the word--a list of links (usually to weird news stories) with brief commentary. The links are updated constantly, which clues you in to the fact that a whole lot of people work to collect those links.
Another blog with weird stuff is the Museum of Hoaxes, which is exactly what it sounds like.
I have a lot of family in Chicago and have therefore spent too much time on the train there (the El) and the CTA Tattler is pretty funny, even if you've never spent much time on public transportation.
I'm basically completely new to the world of blogs, so it's been a fun yet oddly tiring thing for me to search and read all sorts of blogs in an attempt to learn about them. The more I read, the more complicated my definition of "blog" becomes. Though I'm not a photographer myself, I love looking at photographs, and one blog I found and really like is Photoblogs. It makes me wonder, though, how much sites like these--with more photographs than text, or even no photographs--are considered true blogs. (I guess a similar site is the one marmalade posted called Postsecret.)
As I was making my first forays into the blogoshpere (still hating all the made-up words) I stumbled upon a very controversial blog that I think raises interesting questions about the responsibilities of those who write and read blogs. Chinabounder is a white male living in Shanghai, supposedly an expat who teaches there, who documents his sexual encounters with the local women on his blog. This has caused a furor among the conservative Chinese population.
I suppose that this will be of little interest to academically minded students. But a lot of the stuff that I read online is gossip in some form or another, particularly celebrity gossip. I use Oh No They Didn't as my primary source for straight information. It's a community live journal that's constantly updated by random contributors. I assume the posts are monitored for accuracy and general offensiveness by a group of moderators, but I haven't figured out exactly who runs it.
However, the more interesting blogs are those that take small bits of gossip and present them in a sassy manner. Among my favorites is What Would Tyler Durden Do?. It's written by a random guy who doesn't seem to have much connection to actual celebrities. But his lack of exposure is made up for with his in-your-face, super politically incorrect style of writing. Finally the site Perez Hilton is also kind of cool because he has become a minor celebrity in his own right due to his internet gossiping. He posts pictures of himself with B-List celebrities like Paris Hilton (note the name of the site) and somehow manages to hobnob with celebrities and trash them on his site.
A few days ago, USA Today published a rant about blogs by a guy named Bruce Kluger that may of interest to some of you.
Kluger argues that bloggers are essentially screaming children that have no real power, but like to make noise. He cites Ned Lamont's primary victory and the hype surrounding Snakes on a Plane as conclusive evidence that the blogosphere cannot be trusted. (Does anyone else find this pair of data points amusing?)
I'll acknowledge that the blogosphere represents a relatively small portion of the country.
OK, so here is what I've dug up--
(1) Postsecret. This is a sometimes funny, sometimes kitchy, sometimes all too serious collection of secrets written on "postcards".
I'm not sure if it technically counts as a blog--but then, we never nailed down what exactly a blog is in the year 2006. Whatever this site technically is, it's pretty neat to scroll through--especially if the heat is shortening your attention span.
(2) Martha Stewart Stinks. Now this next site really appeals to me. It's a bit girly, I'll admit (well, a lot girly) but it's not over the top. Once again, it's not really a "serious news" outlet, but it's a lot of arts and crafts projects, nifty recipes, funny observations, and helpful tips. And the name doesn't hurt either.
For 12 years or so I've been concerned with electric literature. I'd like to see work with links that does what literature does -- that props revery, that torques thought, that creates of necessity something more than the sum of its parts.
I've tried to do this a lot of ways. I've learned some things, and I like what I've done (yes, and my mother claims to), but without any feeling that I've solved the problem, altogether.
I'd like to show a few things I've seen that seem to me to relate to the problems and opportunities of electric literature: hopefully somebody can straighten me out about some things.
Apparently Huntley didn't order enough copies of We've Got Blog. If you've got a copy you'd be willing to lend a student in need, would you comment here? If you need a copy, leave a comment here as well.
This is the usual getting started post, which mostly serves to test the software, and to see what this is all going to look like. The installation was super-easy, but certain kinds of theme-tinkering seem a bit more difficult. Generally speaking, I like this theme (pushbutton), particularly because of the keyboard image in the header, but the site name (Writing Machines) is much too small, and I can't find a way to increase its size. I'll keep poking around.