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The Golden Age of the Internet Blogger

I was surprised to enjoy the book, "Martin Eden," by Jack London. After all, it wasn't an adventure about the sea, or about sled dogs and wolves in the Great White North. Rather, it is a semi-autobiographical (yuk!) story about a young man of working class origins who gets it into his head to become a writer. He goes from wild and romantic notions about Truth and Beauty to the sordid reality of being a professional writer.

The book can certainly make an amateur blogger of our times appreciate their chance to write publicly, without the miseries of Martin Eden.  As the old saying goes, 'if you want to take the fun out of anything, just try doing it for a living.' Before the internet era, keeping a diary was perhaps the only outlet for somebody who enjoys writing. And that wasn't public.

Amateur bloggers must usually content themselves with only a small bit of applause, if they write sincerely. The alternative is to write to please the marketplace. That means following a half-dozen formulas, disguised just well enough to convince the consumer that it is new!

I like to read, but it becomes stultifying after an hour. I feel more alive when I am thinking for myself, and writing is just a reflection of that.

This healthy outlet of amateur writing can not last much longer. Google must be under anti-trust pressure from the feds. In order to keep them off its back, it must be willing to adopt whatever measures the feds want. Soon there will be an end to anonymity or pseudonyms; writers will need credentials and a license; and then renew that license and pay a fee on an annual basis, after approval by a bureaucracy that scrutinizes the blog's opinions about the Children, the Environment, sacred Minorities, and of course, National Security. 

Or, if it is important to maintain the illusion of a free society, the government and Google could work out the software to bias search engine results. That would be invisible censorship, and is probably the most prudent approach for the government to succeed at what it really wants. The peasants won't know the difference, except for a few chronic malcontents, who will be dismissed as conspiracy theorists.

But let's not end on such a discouraging note. Think of the analogy to life itself: we know that we are mortal, but we don't let that ruin the life that we can enjoy.


Ed said…
"Rather, it is a semi-autobiographical (yuk!) story.."

Now Reading: "Autobiography," by Herbert Spencer

Is there a dichotomy here or is autobiographical fine and only semi-autobiographical is (yuk!)?

In 2012 I read "The Study of Sociology" by Herbert Spencer and posted a series of quotes from "Social Statics, Chapter XIX The Right to Ignore the State". I should find some more of his books - those two were almost understandable for this guy that does not 'get' philosophy very easily.
Hey, 'consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,' and we doant want no little mahnds readin' this blog, Mister. (grin)

Actually, Jack London's character praised Herbert Spencer's Autobiography. Spencer was still "de mode" around 1900.

I would prefer to read a semi-honest autobiography, rather than a stealth autobiography by a novelist. It makes me think the novelist is just a beginner.