Thursday, 12 June 2014
I made a book out of what I thought to be the best posts on False Machine and put it on Lulu .
I think other people who run interesting blogs should do the same thing.
This is my argument for that.
Firstly the negatives.
1. Blogging is free, that’s the point of blogs.
Firstly, you can still set the profit margin for a print copy of your book on Lulu to Zero, or near-zero if you like. Secondly, don't worry, it doesn't make any money anyway.
2. Information on a blog is accessible to anyone at any time, they can look at it whenever they want and share it with whoever they want. A book does not do this.
My counter-argument here is not a logical one.
A book lodges in the mind and in the world in a different way to a blog. Blogs are part of the daily flow of information that surrounds us at all times. They kind of have to be part of that flow to remain what they are.
There is a lot of cognitive variety possible here and I expect many, or some, would say that they read a blog post with all the seriousness, contemplation, attention and consideration that they dedicate to a book. These are qualities they possess inwardly and they simply apply them to information in the world as they become aware of it. This being the case, a blog, with its accessibility and ease of navigation, is always superior to a book.
Now some of these people will be knobends with shallow minds who do not know what it means to really deeply attend to anything and so believe they attend to everything. But some will not and that must be considered also.
I will say that I consider a book, especially a physical book, differently to a blog. I attend to it more deeply. I keep it with me physically. I return to it at greater intervals.
(I am a proponent of magical thinking about books. I do not have airtight arguments in their favour, but they are embedded in my personality, in my history and my perception of the world. Through years of poverty and movement from terrible place to terrible place, the one constant has been my books. They define me more than any other owned object. It's almost true that apart from clothes and this computer, I own no other objects.)
3. This will take me valuable time which (being a fully optimised human being (as I know all of you are)) I cannot afford to lose. Great works and mighty entrails press upon me constantly and if this be done, who knows what legend shall go unfulfilled by my hand?
It took me about a day and a half of real (ie constant, effective, non-rambling, non-distracted) work to put the book together. Maybe two.
Now I am an inefficient flake so if one of you (fully optimised) humans tried to do the same thing then it would probably take you less time and effort. That is still time out of your schedule but the more valuable your time is then probably the more well-read your blog is and the more likely that the (small) profits of the book sales will pay for your time. So maybe it evens out?
The Second Part
I will now move onto the positive arguments in favour of this idea.
I’m not sure if my blog is an ‘OSR’ blog. It’s certainly connected but it’s kind of its own strange thing off on the margins. They say that if you can’t see the clique then you are in the clique, therefore I think of my blog as being in the;
Clique Of Self Absorbed Knobends Who Cluster Around Zak Smith
Which I capitalise as;
Then shorten and simplify to;
It seems that the CLOSETCASES are approaching the end of a big cycle of thinking
Blogs appear and grow in strength from strange gaps in people’s lives. The golden age of Noisms was when he was trapped in a Japanese office all day with nothing useful to do. Jeff got a job, James M disappeared. When the life changes the blog changes and as people move into new phases the blog either disappears or becomes much less regular or less intensely imagined. And blogs need to be regular and vibrant in order to really fulfil their potential as blogs. A blog that liveth not, is not a blog.
In addition, the current crop of OSR blogs seemed to draw strength and impetus from the Living Disaster of 4th, combined with the OGL. Yet soon, 4th shall be but a hungry ghost, flitting around the edges of the feast, and its inheritor, 5th, is thought by all to be “a bit old-school really” and “really more than we might have expected”. What fierce beings shall possesses this re-made world? Who can tell?
Ideas have a kind of life inside them. They only work through human minds, and through transmission between minds they must change, ever so slightly, or die. They must also change the world in which they act. But ideas are rarely suited to survive in a word shaped by their own success. In this changed environment they must change again, or die. In either case the original is lost. So an active living idea is also an idea with a clock ticking inside it. It will not last. We CLOSETCASES have sustained this idea for some time.
Therefore, in the same way that the Necrontyr were clad in immortal bodies of living metal by the C’tan star gods, let us transmute this great age of self-absorbed intellectual titting around into a different form, that it might better suffer the long reaches of the interstellar night that must surely fall when Zak can’t be bothered any more. For lo, the CLOSETCASES will all ultimately either sort their lives out, or just fall the fuck apart and in either cases their blogs shall go untenanted, standing as dark cyclopean monuments in the dusty netherverse of the world wide web.
You may say it will never happen, but it has happened to every other clique of self absorbed knobends in human history, and it will happen to us.
Books = Good
A book can be given as a gift to a strange yet interesting person and count well with them. Saying ‘hey, read this blog’ does not work as well, despite its ease of access.
You can probably punch a book through a class or culture divide more easily than you can a blog. A blog comes with a ‘I am this kind of person’ feel to it, yet anyone may receive a book, even a doctor, or a lawyer, or you know, real people.
The self-curation of a person reading their own blog and selecting only the best or most original means that you end up with a purified and intensified version of that person. Or, at least, how that person would like to think of themselves.
You can put them on your shelf and thus display your ‘Nerd-but-actually-slightly-better-than-those-mediocre-nerds-that-like-worse-stuff-not-that-there’s-anything-wrong-with-them’ identity.
It is a physical and real thing to show for what was, for many, quite a lot of relatively serious effort over a long period of time. It is a talisman.
You can tell normal people who ask what the fuck you have been doing with your time ‘I wrote a book’ instead of ‘I have a blog’ which is code for ‘I masturbate a lot’. You can then show them the book. And prove you have not just been masturbating.
There could be a small library of nerds and if one of them got mysteriously popular then people would probably check out the rest.