Thursday, March 23, 2006

On gossip

This short reflection is motivated not only by recent events on this blog, and by Martyn C's reflections at North Yorkshire Times (btw Martyn your posts are definitely not crappy and don't you dare stop blogging), but also by my reading of a few other blogs which my fellow bloggers here at "Thoughts" probably don't know about. Martyn refers to "reading blogs of late where people have been posting about people they know in really quite pathetic ways". I don't know what he's referring to, but given my sad attraction to gossip, I'm sure I'd like him to tell me. They certainly aren't on his blogroll as far as I can see, any more than such blogs are on ours. But some of them are on my private blogroll on Bloglines. I need to lay bare my soul at this point, and admit to being an addict of a blog, which appears to be genuine, called The Darbyshires. This is (in their own words) "the adventures in married life and the political experiences of two hyperactive 20 somethings". If only everything were so sweet and innocent. The rather excessively overdetailed and twee blogging style of the Darbyshires, which was also combined (and continues to be combined) with some very pointed criticisms of others, resulted in a parody blog being established called The Leicestershires, which has now disappeared. People ask from time to time whether The Darbyshires is in fact a spoof - most notably in a quite generous article which recently appeared in the New Statesman. I mean, I ask you, a blog which is not politically serious, and is not seriously funny like the recently discovered My Neighbours are Hoors, seriously explicit like Milady de Winter, or seriously engaged like Rachel from North London, actually getting coverage in the mainstream media? Whatever next?

It seems to me that what makes such blogs addictive, and makes a sad blogger like me use links and search engines to find the objects of their ever increasing ire when they turn nasty, as well as those who are laughing and snorting like drains as they rapidly lose their sense of proportion, is obviously a base human attraction to gossip and personal detail which I share (but which I think will make my fellow bloggers on "Thoughts" disown me...). Humans are often like that. Even about themselves sometimes. RoadRunner is often heard to relate the story of a mutual friend of ours, late one night in his flat years ago, after a few whiskies, being heard to say: "Right, any more gossip? If not, I'll just have to gossip about myself..." going on to relate a fascinating tale about himself which all present still remember vividly.

But the point is how quickly things turn nasty on blogs. This must be something to do with the absence of reasonable external controls imposed by the medium of blogging (especially the attraction of going anonymous in some cases), and the failure of some people to apply the necessary self-control to compensate. That doesn't mean to say that personal blogs cannot work. They don't all become too self-indulgent. Or bitchy. Or overdetailed. Sometimes they just work. Like, for example, another blog that I've been reading recently. Dear Readers, I give you Pat The Chooks. Go on, read it. You know you want to.

Update Friday 12.45pm Biscit points out in the comments and on his blog that he was not laughing, but experiencing "extreme horror, bewilderment and incredulity, and [is] extremly dismayed at the general level of mirth out there." I apologise for my linking to him in that context, but I must have been bamboozled by the title of his blog 'I don't wish to spread any gossip, but...'. I should instead have linked to this. The fact of the matter is that we are all getting pulled into talking/blogging about this issue.


Blogger Biscit said...

I'm not laughing at the Darbyshires. A lot of other people are.

Friday, March 24, 2006  
Blogger Biscit said...

Thanks! I think I came up with the title based on the fact I talk about life more than politics!

Friday, March 24, 2006  

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