In Heck Of A Guy 2006: Part I, I made a stumbling attempt to begin answering the question, “Why publish the Heck Of A Guy blog?” This exercise has already proved enlightening to me – which does not, I realize, preclude it boring the bejesus out of everyone else. I’m going to ask the readers’ indulgence for a bit more of this before returning to our irregularly scheduled programming.
To recapitulate the earlier post, Heck Of A Guy, at least as I perceive it, doesn’t function primarily as a diary or journal (AKA private confessional), one of the broad categories of blogs. Nor does it routinely serve as a nexus connecting readers with the author and each other in a conversation.1
If a blog isn’t a dairy or a conversation, odds are that it falls into the dreaded informational grouping.2 Of course, this genre is so all-encompassing as to be meaningless, including blogs dealing with quantum physics, sociological rants, book reviews, political punditry, technical support for Atari computers last produced twenty years ago, encyclopedic (literally) data, newscasts, recipes for low calorie, high fiber, trans-fat free dishes, dancing instructions, celebrity gossip, veganism, paganism, and Ronald Reganism.
And, I suppose informational is as accurate a label as any for the Heck Of A Guy blog.
The more pertinent (and difficult) issue is “What’s the point of conveying this information?” After all, the author of a “How To Jitterbug” blog hopes, one supposes, to render the reader a more knowledgeable and competent jitterbugger. Political pundits want to persuade others of the correctness of their views, the creators of the Marlo Thomas Fan Club site wish to have her talents more widely appreciated, and the Dilbert Blog is produced to make us laugh while shaking our heads over the foolishness of middle management. The point is that informational blogs convey information for a reason.
And it follows that the Heck Of A Guy blog has a reason – although I’m damned if I know what that reason might be.
Some posts look as though I was trying to be funny, others seem straightforwardly factual (although I may be missing some of my more subtle comic turns; I can be pretty abstruse), some are heartfelt to the point of bathos. Some posts are product reviews, some are fripperies created de novo, others are reprints of ancient pieces excavated from the detritus of earliest days of the internet, others are no more than pointers to my patient compliance blog, and still others are about Julie or pieces written by her. The list of Heck Of A Guy post titles from early October (any time period works) attests to the resolute randomness of its content:
- Line Rider Rides Again
- Virtual Vertical Video Virtuosity
- Oh, The Ant Bites With Its Mandibles Babe …
- Abecedarian & Non-Abecedarian OED Updates
- Autodidactic Videophilia 101
What was I thinking?3
If Freud was correct, then the good news is that blogging as brought me halfway through that process.
Now, all I’ve got to do is sit back & await the arrival of the big bucks, the appointment as universal czar, and the babelicious blogger groupies.
What I’ve learned from my navel-gazing
- Some hours after hitting the “Publish” button on Heck Of A Guy 2006: Part I, I realized that I should have provided examples that approximate pure plays in the blogs as conversations category. Larvatus Prodeo (introduced to me by Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony is one such site; while many of its are posts themselves are substantial, they often serve primarily as a conversation starter with the real action taking place in the comments. Dean’s World is an even more extreme example with most posts ranging from a few words to a few lines, almost always followed by a discussion contained in 5-50 comments. [↩]
- It occurs to me as I write this that a valid blog category not listed in essays like this one is the blog as art. I don’t mean “blogs about art” or well-written blogs but a blog consisting of posts, each of which is the medium for an artistic expression. While art can be characterized as information, it seems to me that there is a qualitative difference between data meant to be processed intellectually and material presented to be experienced as art. I don’t know if such blogs exist and, if they do, they must occupy an infinitesimally tiny corner of the blogosphere. It’s just a thought. [↩]
- This is not a rhetorical question; if you have the answer, let me know [↩]