Most of what I write stems from what I am reading. When I’m feeling particularly unintelligent and uninspired I spend the majority of my time browsing websites like Buzzfeed, a site devoted to teaching America’s youth to seek out internet fame, where they will be upvoted and lol-ed at until their funny vine is treated with contempt as “last year’s meme”.
However, this week, I’m in an intelligent mood, which means I’m reading half of the articles on the Daily Beast everyday. It also means that the poor untouched books piling up in my bedroom get taken off their shelves. I’m an obsessive compulsive book hoarder, you see. I contribute 50 dollars into the honors system bookstore every six months, which entitles me to taking as many secondhand novels as I want. The Fate of Africa, a thousand pages of detailed and painstakingly compiled details of contemporary African history, right down to the last time the ruler of Nigeria farted? Why yes, I need that book. Bad Hemingway, a collection of Hemingway parodies submitted yearly for a New York contest? Of course I want it on my bookshelf.
But I digress. I’ve been feeling intelligent lately! That means I finally finished a Gore Vidal novel! I’m starting The Devil in the White City.
It’s a thrilling depiction of events around the World’s Fair of 1892, and the terrifying serial killer who haunted it…the point is, when I regularly read I’m a pompous asshole.
I also have the urge to write well. This blog and most others on WordPress are filled with flimsy little accounts of the silly or slightly-less-boring-than-your-average-day events that happened to the single person managing the blog. The posts are laughable. My posts are laughable. I want to write something that pertains less to myself and more to world.
But I’m not qualified to. Sure, I could write about eighteenth century fashion and its effect on women, but I don’t have access to the types of real artifacts that I could learn from.
Internet searches are fine for high school sex ed essays. If a student cites Cosmo as a source at least you’re in for a laugh. But brief skims of Wikipedia do not an expert make. Why would I read a blogger’s article on feminism when there are much more qualified individuals conducting social studies? Because, you know, they are real journalists? Bloggers simply aren’t as knowledgeable as journalists who write or film for more sophisticated websites.
(Should I even be criticizing blogs for not being informative? Perhaps they’re entertainment. It’s unclear what the purpose of a blog is for readers. The only person clearly benefitting from the thinly researched blog is the blogger.)
A blogger is not a journalist. So let’s stop acting like them. I’m not saying that I have a problem with day-in-the-life-of blogs and posts urging readers to look at the blogger’s pretty flowers. I have a problem with bloggers that take themselves too seriously and write opinions that they haven’t thoroughly researched (much like I am doing in this very article). At least, though, I’m self-aware enough to notice my own hypocrisy. I often refer to my posts as articles, and that’s just ridiculous. But perhaps I’m being overly critical. An innocent blogger airs their un-edited, uninformed opinion. So it’s a lousy piece of writing. So it’s a lousy piece of thinking. Does that mean it’s beneath contempt?
It’s much like this gentleman eloquently states: “No fuckhead, you are not a storyteller.” Just because a story is bad, is it not deserving of being a story? I agree with Stefan Sagmeister, and yet I continue to put out my own shabby little posts that I dare to call stories and articles. It’s a very insightful video, and he has a wonderfully silly accent, I suggest you watch it. Go ahead, click the link, I’m definitely not being paid. I’m just a dumb, unqualified blogger.