why the simpsons are outdated…

1. The family structure of 2.4 children is simply inadequate for our age: grandparents, live-in adults, uncles, single parents, gay families etc. has undermined old certainties

2. The characters fit outdated archetypes: the bumblebee man represents droll foreign TV (which we could have from a pre-digital satellite or cable network); the ‘disco stu’ character represents outdated nostalgia, in a sense, we have all become disco stu with postmodernity’s celebration of the past, and yet, no distinct figure as he is relevant anymore; comic book guy is an inadequate conception of the sci-fi and fantasy savant; for not all of us are fat, white, or male.

3. The history of such a family is becoming a bit inconceivable; given the original age of the simpsons from its original date, Bart’s character would now be the same age as my brother – 28. A 28 year old cannot maintain the guise of being 10 years old for very long (although people in their 30’s can reasonably do teenagers in hollywood films…)

M

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Blog topics: questions of genre?

What is a good subject for a blog? Well a question of literary style on a blog is a meta-topic, a metatopic is quite a philosophical way of looking at things, and the very fact I question blog writing style from time to time on a blog is like a mirror being put up on itself (a sense of irony, and I suppose, breaking the metaphorical fourth-wall).

I suppose the answer is: a good topic for a blog is whatever the hell you want; but, the answer to this latterly thought is what becomes constitutive of the blog’s style. Say for instance, i was interested in sex a lot, and there are a lot of sex blogs, or sex worker blogs, or culture blogs out there. Sinistre would not admit this, but he has quite a penchant for male fashion and grooming blogs, for instance: fashion blogs for men at their best look at not exactly celebrities, but famous men with style. Having a certain style is a psychology; to be refined (or unrefined) in dress reflects on a person. Someone who likes boho chic (I fucking hate boho chic despite my sister’s obvious love for it), represents a mindset or a set of ideals shared by others (of course a question-begging premise).

Talking about whatever you want is like a friendship, there are formative moments in a friendship which define the kind of relationship you have. I am defining the relationship I have as Antisophie, the author, with you, the reader, by talking about whatever I want under this name. Friendships are defined, structured and formed by the kinds of topics we share in conversation and interest. Likewise, we enforce these kinds of relationships by maintaining those topics consistently. I have friends I talk to about fashion, men’s sexy bodies, and chocolate; then I have a different set of friends I talk to about philosophy (and within that, people who want to talk about normative philosophy; metaphysics almost completely on its own; or people, like Michael, who just always relate things to single topics or issues [like Kant]).

I like to have stuff on my RSS feeder to read for a few minutes every day: Slashdot, Stuff White People Like, Mimi in New York, or Leiter Reports. These blogs, by the kinds of posts they put forward, set the tone for what they want to talk about. Ruth Fowler’s blog began as a story about her stripper job after she did her MPhil at Cambridge; concerning the clientele and honesty of being a stripper, and recently there are political and social elements to the story: recent posts concern the USA presidential election, or the bleak life of drugs, parties, and sex. I think Mimi’s blog is a fine example of the genre; especially in the way that she becomes self-referential (sometime when the blog got popular, she got a book deal, and did many interviews and newspaper pieces) without being indulgent. By contrast, a blog like ‘Stuff White People Like’ is consistently cynical, often funny, and generally single-topic (namely, Stuff White People Like).

I suppose I have two thoughts or questions to which I cannot answer:

1. When is a blog post uncharacteristic?

Like friendships, there are some issues which people don’t talk about, many relationships or dynamics exclude certain topics as acceptable topics for conversation. I would never talk about my sex life to my parents, for instance. Some people feel that politics, religion, mental health, money, or family are non-topics; by contrast, those things may be the only topics of conversation. When the taboo issues come up in friendships, or conversations, and blog posts, there seems to be a discomfort.

Even when the uncomfortable side of life becomes the set topic of conversation, the taboo becomes the positive and normal things of life. Eternal Tears of Sorrow could never get away with a song about the joy of casual sex, or the importance of one’s parents.

2. Talking too much

This is one I probably am quite bad at, an Ideal to which I fall short of (despite many devices that I use). Sometimes talking too much about an issue can be a bore. If you hate someone, going on about it all the time is not just unhealthy, its unoriginal and thus uninteresting. If you find innovative ways of hating someone, maybe that’s okay.

I’ve read some blogs where the same topic goes on and on, but it is done in a very well-written way. Others (they tend to be younger females, I’ve noticed), write very badly. I guess it is a thing about upbringing (to which I can admit that my Jesuit/Nunnery/Colonialist upbringing had counteracted): girls not only moan a lot (that’s not a bad thing), but they do it in a way that is bad writing (that is the bad thing).

Good writing is selective, when I get up in the morning I go to the toilet and brush my teeth and put some foundation on, then I check out the news, my mail and then…It’s only interesting if there is a point to be made.

Say for instance I went to a dentist, okay, that’s boring: but make it topical, make it applicable, make it unique:

…there have been studies in Game Theory, Social Psychology, Decision Theory and Artificial intelligence that tell us about behaviour in waiting rooms…

…the nature of the waiting room: the generic magazines about celebrities, the anonymity of the people in the room, possible embarrassment [applicable for GUM clinics, for instance], stigma [maybe at a mental hospital]. Talk about sociological or psychological issues…

…the woman with the red jacket that looks like a petticoat. Was she hot? Was she a fucking whore? Was she a typical person? Was she a nobody, and yet an every body? Was she stylish at appearance but lacked elegance in every other respect. DIGRESS. Some people can’t understand the importance of digression, I, for one, find that the most important things I have to say are by digression, or meandering, or preamble. Going directly at something is boring, and not only that, uninteresting as a conversational piece, as an argument, and indicative of boring mindsets. Start off with a joke, an intuition, an anecdote, a study, something!

Sometimes an alarm bell rings off when I see a badly written blog; I think it is a waste of time to read and I unsubscribe from it. But the one morbid thing I find fascinating is analysing in my own mind why it is a bad piece of writing, and often I find it to be endemic of bad writing in general. I always seem to want to find a higher genus concept to the single species instantiation as integral to a classificatory and explanatory schema…Oh bother! I sound like Michael now!!!…. 😉

Antisophie