Did everyone read stav's phenomenal post on his blog? January 21, 2004 6:56 PM   Subscribe

Did everyone read stav's phenomenal post on his blog?
EmptyBottle.org: Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Wonderchicken
Tom Coates called it, "the 2004 State of the Weblog Nation."
posted by gen to MetaFilter-Related at 6:56 PM (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

wordy wordy word!

awwwww yeah stav!!
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:10 PM on January 21, 2004

I agree with the man -- there are too many people who buy their own hype, forgetting that this whole thing is One Big Gag. When the world is no longer strange and funny, any world, be it the femtocosm of weblogs or the big scary place outside, is it really a world worth living in?
posted by majick at 7:29 PM on January 21, 2004

A fine rant. Dave Eggers, however, is still full of shit. "Do not dismiss a book until you have written one, and do not dismiss a movie until you have made one, and do not dismiss a person until you have met them" my ass.
posted by languagehat at 7:35 PM on January 21, 2004

D'jever meet him?
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:46 PM on January 21, 2004

Heh. Thanks for the link, gen, although I'm not sure if it's Metafilter-related or not. Now that the Blogroots sidebar is gone, and no 'weblog-related' category in Metatalk anymore, well, I just dunno.

As far as Eggers being full of poop goes, LH, well, perhaps. We all are, one time or another. The key part of the passage from him that I quoted, though, and which I wanted to quote without leaving bits out, was probably this, at least in terms of my essay:
"What matters is that you do good work. What matters is that you produce things that are true and will stand. What matters is that the Flaming Lips's new album is ravishing and I've listened to it a thousand times already, sometimes for days on end, and it enriches me and makes me want to save people. What matters is that it will stand forever, long after any narrow-hearted curmudgeons have forgotten their appearance on goddamn 90210. What matters is not the perception, nor the fashion, not who's up and who's down, but what someone has done and if they meant it. What matters is that you want to see and make and do, on as grand a scale as you want, regardless of what the tiny voices of tiny people say."
I don't think that's bullshit at all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:52 PM on January 21, 2004

Stavros the Wonderchicken is the James Lileks of the metablogosphere....
fightin' words if I ever heard 'em...

It's a good manifesto (and always good to remember), but aren't there bloggers around who see Stav himself as part of the established blogosphere? He fights with Megnut and stuff...
posted by amberglow at 7:52 PM on January 21, 2004

A terrific writer; a great communicator but, above all, a very, very, very interesting and passionate guy.

I wish I wasn't his friend so my praise could seem purer - although I became his friend because of his literary qualities, rather than the other way round.

("Other way round"? WTF would that be?) ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:09 PM on January 21, 2004

Oh crap, here we go. I'ma get my kid gloves off now. (This is not directed at you, amberglow.)

There's such a thing as the "established blogosphere"? Really? We've had our heads jammed so far up our own asses all this last year with this power-laws, A-list, meta-meta-wankery that it's amazing anybody has anything else to say.

I consult something like Technorati and I see that most of the "top" bloggers are either folks writing largely about technical issues, like Mark Pilgrim (read his site maybe twice in the last two years), or warbloggeresque ranters (ditto). Meanwhile, the people whose sites I read every day or close to it, and whose voices I trust to enlighten me and contend with me - stav, Abe Burmeister, Anne Galloway - are nowhere to be found in such an accounting. So what, really, does it matter to me what's to be found atop the heap?

I couldn't give a flying fuck about Python. I care somewhat more about politics as conventionally understood, but frankly, it's not something I care to read or think about much. *I care about as much about the most popular blog as I do about the most popular TV show*, which is to say: not at all.

Unless you're interested in parsing the pathways of an evolving social network which has the good grace to leave its own breadcrumbs - I am - this whole discussion should be tangential at best to anyone. I'll be blessedly relieved when it's once and for all behind us.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:10 PM on January 21, 2004

"I became one of his literary qualities thanks to his friendship?"
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:10 PM on January 21, 2004

Slightly off topic: I have always read his name as starvcostermonger and was highly annoyed at the mispronunciation in the post. Reminds me of the day I realized the font was pronounced Verdana instead of Veranda.
posted by rhapsodie at 8:29 PM on January 21, 2004

that works, miguel : >

adam, I just meant it as an observation--I don't have a dog in that fight. Stav's blog is well-written and well-known...other people are too...
posted by amberglow at 8:31 PM on January 21, 2004

adamgreenfeld: I'm confused. chicken says, more or less, "get out there and do your thing, and to hell with being better than anyone else," with a little ranting about how terribly serious people are, and you're saying the discussion is tangential to anyone not engaged in some vaguely defined serious study of buzzword of the month? Clearly I'm missing something, because I can't find a way to connect these dots. Discussing the fact that there are heads inserted into rectums, and what we can learn from those examples, seems like an awfully good idea to me.

The whole point is that the popularity contest is meaningless: anyone taking popularity seriously is taking themselves too seriously to be taken seriously.
posted by majick at 8:34 PM on January 21, 2004

Saying "weblogs are whatever you want them to be" doesn't doesn't sell books and that's why those that have written books (or articles) tend to try and define it in certain terms.

I don't buy the Punk analogy because I don't see commercial blogs having any effect on sites that have been non-profit from the start. They have no effect on what I do.
posted by john at 8:36 PM on January 21, 2004

majick, that's not what I'm saying. Leastways, that's not what I mean, not at all.

That's what I get for posting-while-Simpsoning, I guess. Sorry I wasn't more articulate.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:38 PM on January 21, 2004

I feel a poem coming on.

I like some stavroses
But just in small doses
When they get too verboses
They show their neuroses

posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:53 PM on January 21, 2004

*sticks tongue out at mr_c_d, but in a disturbingly sexual way*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:06 PM on January 21, 2004

There's no reason this shouldn't be on the blue. Great stuff, as ever, stav.
posted by jpoulos at 9:53 PM on January 21, 2004

That was great, Stav. Seriously dead on.

Let's all pogo in MeFi posts now!
posted by me3dia at 10:13 PM on January 21, 2004

Jimbob freshens up the PPS Wax in his hair, puts the Black Flag tape in his pocket, and heads out into the wide world, renewed and refreshed.

Nice one, stav.
posted by Jimbob at 10:20 PM on January 21, 2004

Wordy indeed, but worth every word.

People taking themselves too seriously and/or having their heads up their asses whilst talking is and always has been both necessary and pointless. I believe that us humans are always looking to see which way the wind is blowing so that we can be part of the pack, so that we can belong, and be able to partake of the common shared wealth that the pack brings in. Even those who don't want to be part of the pack and profess not to give a crap about what the pack cares about need to know what the pack cares about so that they can not care about it, if that makes any sense.

Those talking heads and suits with big titles (such as President or Pope or CEO) are needed because really, who has the ego and the balls to think that their way is the only way, or that they will take the blame, be that publicly or not, for any accidents (such as illegal wars or chemical spills or whatever). Who wants that kind of responsibility? Who has that sort of arrogance? I don't think that many of us do, so we let those crazy fools take their leadership and captaincy and good luck, but good riddance.

A-list people exist, in the real world of physical life and in the real world of virtual life. Stavros is right, it's becoming muddled, and the voices are becoming thin and small and strained, and self-important people do their best to remain important and that's okay, because really, who wants the accountability and responsibility that goes with the position of being The Boss, or the Trend-Setter, or The Coolest Person on Earth.

Ultimately, whether you like Eggers or not, that bit that is quoted is so on the money. That quote is what life is about, and we all know it. Everything else is small potatoes.

Stavros, good job. You struck a chord in me. Again.
posted by ashbury at 11:27 PM on January 21, 2004

posted by dg at 11:31 PM on January 21, 2004

Even those who don't want to be part of the pack and profess not to give a crap about what the pack cares about need to know what the pack cares about so that they can not care about it, if that makes any sense.

My point is that it's just a distraction and I've been sucked into talking about weblogs numerous times saying most of the same things, but it comes down to doing what you want, connecting with those that like whatever it is you do and not worrying about the rest.
posted by john at 11:52 PM on January 21, 2004

it comes down to doing what you want, connecting with those that like whatever it is you do and not worrying about the rest.

Which was my point precisely, or one of them, at least, john, depending, I guess, on what you mean by 'the rest'. Not worrying about all the meta-stuff doesn't mean that it's not fun to think about it once in a while.

I was just trying to bring together a few threads that I've been thinking about a bit lately, when I think about weblogging, and I'm genuinely pleased that so many folks have gotten something out of my public musing. Although different people are taking away different things from the essay, well, that's the way I like it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:06 AM on January 22, 2004

I consult something like Technorati...

well, there's your mistake. despite manually 'pinging' them repeatedly for days, here's what technorati currently says about my site:

everlasting blort
Blog last updated 10 days 10 hours 50 minutes ago

posted by quonsar at 12:24 AM on January 22, 2004

q : try this.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:51 AM on January 22, 2004

I guess it was time for another UBU omelet.
Served flambe.
Must've been time - lotsa people chewing stuff with egg in it.
I'm not winking, BTW.
I'm blinking with one eye.
'Cause another rocket from the tombs is flying by.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:43 AM on January 22, 2004

Right, that's what I meant by saying I've said the same things., but my stress would be on ignoring the rest (being those that distract you, like every John Dvorak or that guy from the Register's articles on weblogging).

I think maybe I'm just tired of the weblogging on weblogging talk and annoyed that I ever bothered to respond to the likes of those that wanted to pin it down. I'm even more annoyed by statements like Tom Coates' that seem to dodge the spirit of the essay, "that there is no state, no fixed face, nothing that can be said of the 'community' as a whole." Damn maybe the punk think does work, because that last part is how I see the music.

I think part of me is still pissed that stuff like this still needs to be said and it's not against you stavrosthewonderchicken at all.
posted by john at 8:36 AM on January 22, 2004

stavros, is, quite simply, the MeFite for whom I have developed the biggest, cuddliest, loviest feeling right here [indicates sternum]. And that's all that matters. For a persnickety, belligerent fuck like me, that's no small feat, but then, maybe that's why they call him the WONDERCHICKEN.

[raises glass to stavros]
posted by scarabic at 11:08 PM on January 22, 2004

*blushes, pours a round for the house*

Thanks, scarabic, and all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:07 AM on January 23, 2004

Good show!

For what it's worth, languagehat, I agree with Eggers for the most part but have some problems with the bit you mentioned. It seems like something of an untenable position. Then again, one only needs to listen to an overly dismissive, elitist, pretentious fuck dissect art to an absurd degree--often to the point of liking almost nothing--on a couple of occasions to at least understand what general direction he's coming from.
posted by The God Complex at 3:11 AM on January 23, 2004

TGC: I don't believe a single word out of Eggers's mouth (or rather pen). Yes, much of what he says sounds "good" and I could "agree" with it, if I could "believe" he "meant" it... but all those invisible quotation marks get on my nerves. To me he sounds like a potentially good writer ruined by postposteverythingness and premature fame and fortune, and his writing seems coated with smarmy layers of bad faith and fake knowingness. I could be wrong, but that's how I see it. Stavros, on the other hand, agree with him or not, is always speaking straight from the heart and gut, and that's an irresistible quality.
posted by languagehat at 7:43 AM on January 23, 2004

I have never read anything the whole way through with Eggers. I couldn't even manage getting through the first chapter of You Shall Know Our Velocity. Reading his quote about critics in the original essay put a bad taste in my mouth and perhaps fueled an overreaction.
posted by john at 12:06 PM on January 23, 2004

A+ for ideas.

C+ for expression.

A- for web design.

Which, for me, all too often sums up blogging.

Though I have to say this Eggers chap doesn't seem up to much, and he apparently gets paid for his trouble. Pshaw.
posted by johnny novak at 2:28 PM on January 23, 2004

(johnny novak - I frequently have people disagree with the substance of what I say, but it's pretty rare that they criticize how well I say it, at least when I'm making any kind of effort. I'd welcome an email from you about why you reckon the C+ for the writing - I'm always trying to improve my skills. Thanks, if you care to take the time.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:22 PM on January 23, 2004

Stavs: our heart and gut man in Seoul.

It was long stavs, not winded, not shit.

honor were honors due....


oh, it is chilly
posted by clavdivs at 8:40 AM on January 24, 2004

Stavs: our heart and gut man in Seoul.
The only doctor to see when you have palpitations and nausea? ; >
posted by amberglow at 9:39 AM on January 24, 2004

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