‘Medium Bad,’ or, Why I Hate Blogging
To celebrate my first article on medium I shall recount the episode of the sophisticated Olympics commentator who, when asked by the coanchor to evaluate the mistake just made on screen by one of the competetors, stated after a moment of hesitation that the move was “medium bad.”
Yes. A love and passion for the careful art of movement combined with years of careful scrutiny somehow congealed into the mental equivalent of leftover waffle batter in front of a worldwide audience.
“Medium bad” has since become a beloved meme in my family. When you see a new hair style that deserves something less then praise, but something less than outright ridicule, you may say “it is… medium... yup, medium bad.”
My wife and her sister watched back footage of gymnist events, obsessed with finding the moment — the precise moment — in which it was uttered. We never found it, but all of us continue to believe that it happened. It is like that line in the Treasure of the Sierra Madre in which the actors do not actually say “Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges.” They say something else, in fact, but I forget what it is, and no one cares, because we prefer to remember it the way we do.
I’m trying to remember if this article had a point.
Oh yes, I hate blogging.
I have gone a full twelve months without blogging. I have started to repress the guilt of not providing for my readers with a constant stream of commentary.
Blogging is like having a conversation in an entry room, recording it on a tape player, setting the tape player on a table in the middle of said room, walking out, and leaving the door open. If someone happens to wander in to the empty room of your blog, you don’t know their purpose. Are they looking for a fast cheap thrill or a sober long-winded reflection?
I mean, I write a book and it becomes a cathedral of thought. I spend six years on it, weaving together the various threads of biography, history, theory, and memoir. You know that if they made it to page 400 they were still committed.
Who has ever read to the 400th page of a blog post? Nobody ever.
They may experience boredom or nirvana while reading the blog, you would never know. Unless they react or comment. And I’ve never had a comment from a reader “I achieved nirvana reading this blog post.” I’m not sure how I would feel about that.
As a long-winded chapter writer, I find it hard to continually produce, like entertainment for an audience. I just can’t abide the idea that a blog post will be quickly covered by sedimentary layers of new posts; presented in reverse chronological order, on a website that only dedicated readers seek out to read.
I want each article to mean something, to hang around like a nugget of an idea.
Remember Knol articles? No, you don’t, because I think I was the only one who wrote a Knol article about anything before Google canned the platform and dumped all the refuse on Wordpress. At the time, the idea of a Knol article was to provide a reputable source, an author or small group of authors, who could write an authoritative article on some topic. Knol was Google’s hip word for a unit of knowledge. The idea was that the article would hang around, intact, on the web.
I think some permanence is a good thing. Even if there is wikipedia, I believe there is a place for personal expression, personal opinions, ideas that aren’t watered-down to their mass-consensus form. Wikipedia is not the place for new ideas, ideas that are unresolved and cutting-edge, or controversial, or that benefit from original research*, or in short anything worth writing about.
So my point: blogging sucks because while the rare blog post can overcome death by rapid sedimentation (like that article about sexual misconduct at Uber which became a national story), we need a forum in which articles are designed to last, to become literature and part of the canon of human civilization. Middle schoolers a hundred years from now may be required to read something that was posted online in the year 2019. I certainly hope it isn’t a blog post.
I think this medium, Medium, or something like it, might be good for us, and might mean the death of blogging. The only question that remains is, what the hell do we call ourselves if not bloggers?
Next time someone asks, I will be like, “Well, I am, you know, a medium blogger.”
- Note: wikipedia prefers not to cite original research, in favor of ‘tertiary sources’ of material. A tertiary source cites secondary sources, secondary sources cite primary sources. It is also frowned upon if someone closely associated with the subject (i.e. the author of a book on the subject) is also a wiki editor. Weird huh.