A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

07 November 2004

Blogs & the Blogging Bloggers Who Blog Them

I was pretty harsh in my last post, coming on as strongly as I did. I feel no shame about the posting, just a vague disappointment. Why? Well let me explain. I'll try to keep this as brief as possible.

During my recent education, I studied blogs and genre theory. What, doth my reader ask, is genre theory?

Most people use 'genre' to describe a 'type' or 'sort' of something. IE: "The Incredibles is a fine example of the genre of animated movies".

Genre theory in writing suggests that form plus motivation equals genre. That is, the item you want to write combines with the reason you're writing to give a defined shape to the piece.

Genre theory also posits that as new situations of form and motivation (or 'exigence') arise, the end format also changes. Consider the internet and text-messaging (a new verb). How else could "wil u c me 2 nite" seem like a reasonable and useful message between people over the age of six?

Genre theory suggests that true genre, the "real" type of any given sort of writing, is a unique response to the situation. You don't send sympathy cards to birthdays--well my dad did once, but that's another story.

Caveat--since situations and the medium can change over time, so does a given genre: my father's gesture was within the rules for written birthday greetings between old friends.

Nontheless, certain rules develop around genres. If you're reading a piece and think "that's bullshit!", odds are that your interlocutor has violated the rules or 'terms' of the discourse.

As an example: Dick Cheney got slammed for telling a Democratic Senator to "go ₤µ€λ" himself on the floor of the Senate. He had unquestionably violated the rules. In the time of the Puritans, he'd have gotten a flogging at least, because the rules of discourse in the US at that time considered a minimum level of politeness to be a term of discourse and enforced it with sanctions.

Are you with me so far?

Basically: What you write and why you want to write it determine how you may write it. The internet is full of message boards and forii (plural of forum) with messages like "this band suxxxxxxxxx!!!!" (looked for the reference at Darren's blog but no soap).

{Update Nov. 11th. This link thanks to Darren Barefoot.}

This is not literary criticism, but may be acceptable at that place and for the given purpose.

Personal note: Multiple exclamation marks are not emphatic; they are a sign of a diseased mind.

I've been taking the long way around to explain that blogging has evolved into a genre, and that I hopelessly and persistently violate the hell out of such rules as it has.

After over a hundred posts, I'm realizing I need to tighten things up a bit.
Starting by ending this post.

  • Oh--good article here.

  • Some blogs which are in many ways better than mine:

  • Jeremy C. Wright's "Ensight"

  • Gizmodo

  • Vanderwoning.

  • I also refer you to my list at right. More discussion of the genre of blogs to come.


    At 10:17 AM, Blogger Norlinda said...

    Diana and Sharon would be proud.

    At 12:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I believe you're looking for this entry:



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