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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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Dammit, Now I Went and Got All ‘Thinky’… Blech!

Hey, folks — it’s time for this week’s King of the Blogs ‘Judge’s Challenge’ question. I’m vying with two other challengers who’ve made it to the second round, so wish me luck. I’m not sure how entertaining this will be, per se, so please bear with me if this post gets all uncool and heavy.

(Give yourself a pat on the back if you know what TV show ‘uncool and heavy’ comes from. And add a quick little diddle if you can name the character who often said it.

Oh, go on — diddle. It’s okay; you’ve earned it. Just tell people I said it was all right. They’ll understand.)

Anyway (aka, ‘Stop me before I make you diddle again!‘) — on to this week’s Challenge:

Why do you think what you have to say is important to blog readers?

Well, it’s pretty simple, really. The short answer is: I don’t.

(But I’ve never been about ‘short answers’ around here, now, have I? My one-liners go on for three pages. So you just know I’ve got more to say. And far be it from me to disappoint — that would just be rude.)

So, the long answer is this: I frankly don’t think any blog has something important to say to blog readers, including those that are devoted to ‘important’ issues like politics, religion, current events, or the surprise unveiling of Janet Jackson’s peek-a-boob. As a matter of fact, especially those.

(Now, before you fellow bloggers get your McKnickers in a twist, let me explain. Stick with me here.)

Let’s face it — blogs are, by definition, personal sites. Whatever the subject matter may be, however lofty the goals in starting one up, everything contained within a blog is colored, flavored and lemony-scented with the opinions, experience, and outlook of the author. There’s no way around it, and frankly, there shouldn’t be. Weblogs are intended to be vessels of personal expression, and there’s no guarantee of impartiality, fairness, truth, or non-loopy ideas expressed or implied. And that’s all well and good.

(Well, on the loopier end of the spectrum, it does tend to get a bit less well, and sometimes not at all good. But we’re talking generalities here, people. Don’t use crackpots and potheads (or crackheads and potcracks, for that matter) against me — I’m making a point, dammit.)

And what I would say is this: If something is important to you, then I would submit that you should make up your own damned mind about it. Certainly, you’re welcome to listen to (or read) the opinions of others, provided that you remember to take them with a siloful of salt. But to me, the only important thing in the process is what you decide to take away from it — is there really a God? Who should really lead the country? Have we really landed two robots on Mars? And was Janet really wearing a ninja throwing star on that silicone-engorged love pillow of hers? (And for the love of halftime festivities, why?!)

I’d go a step further. (Maybe two. Maybe even a little cha-cha-cha further, all the way across the room. We’ll see when we get there, yes?) I’d say that the more important an issue is to you, then the less important should others’ opinions on that matter be. Why? Well, first of all, if you feel so strongly about something, then (and yes, I’m being shamelessly, optimistically naive here) you presumably found your conviction at the bottom of a large pile of hard evidence, well-reasoned discussions, and a helluva lot of ‘me time’ to think it over. And, no doubt, you’ve already heard a number of opinions, both ‘yea’ and ‘nay’, on the topic. So while I believe that you should remain willing to listen to others’ views, and keep an open mind should new evidence present itself, I’m very skeptical about ‘important’ new information coming in the form of a personal opinion on a blog written for personal reasons by a person who (in nearly all cases) knows little to nothing about that particular reader’s history and situation. It’s like throwing darts at a postage stamp — sure, you occasionally get lucky and find a gem of an idea to chew on… but with that kind of signal to noise ratio, would you really consider it ‘important‘?

The thing to remember, in my piddly little opinion, is that Everything (yes, with a capital E) is subjective. What’s important to you may not be important to me, and some things that are beyond trivial for most folks are — trust me on this one — absolutely crucial, in my mind. So I frankly think it’s impossible for me, or anyone else penning a web page for ultimately personal reasons, to predict what’s going to be important for their readers, or even a majority of their readers, or even that one, over there, in California. Yeah, you, there — drinking coffee, with your feet on your desk. How the hell should I know what’s important to you? I wish I could, but I can’t.

(Though I really, really suspect that it’s probably important for you to get your finger out of your damned nose. Important to me, anyway. I’m trying to eat dinner over here, if you could put off those nasal excavations, just until you click through to the next site, please. Thanks so much.)

Of course, now that I’ve answered the question really negatively, and then suggested that it can’t really be answered honestly at all… I’ll go ahead and answer the question. And even try not to contradict any of the above.

(Hey, never let it be said that I don’t try to cover my ass around here, folks. This is a tricky one — don’t try this at home.)

So, keeping in mind my views that:

  • all bloggers are essentially writing because it’s important to them and not their readers
  • no single opinion on a subject is particularly helpful, and the more important the subject in your worldview, the less useful each opinion becomes
  • you can’t predict what’s ‘important’ as a writer without knowing your audience better than bloggers can reasonably know theirs

I’ll say this: I write about things on my site that make me giggle. There are certainly some (rather outlandish) opinions expressed in my blatherings, but I’m frankly not interested in using my site to sway public opinion, or engage in debate over weighty issues like presidential primaries, spirituality, or the latest slap-and-tickle fight in the European Union. These may be important things to you, and they may not. Either way, what I have to say about them would likely mean very little to you.

(And in most cases, even less to me. Six old white guys grappling to gain the favor of a bunch of people I don’t know in Iowa, so one of them will have a leg up to run against another old white guy for the privilege of throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day? Snoooooooze. Wake me up when it’s all just a soul-numbing memory.)

So, my goal is to entertain. First myself, but if the ‘poopenheimer’s and ‘boobered’s and ‘inflatable sheep doll’s on my blog get a chuckle or snort from other folks, then frankly, I’m thrilled. And, based on the fantastic comments and emails I’ve gotten from kind readers, it seems that a few people out there really do appreciate this crap.

(And that does nothing but encourage me, which should really make you lot who don’t get it shake your heads in dismay. Suck a sheep doll, ya boobered poopenheimers!)

And in the end, that’s one thing that I do think is important — taking time out of crazy, hectic schedules to have a little giggle or two. (Or to upsnort Sanka all over your monitor screen, if you’re so inclined; it’s all good.) Would I say that’s ‘important to blog readers’, as per the question? Well… maybe. Some of them; who can say which ones are going to enjoy what I’ve got to offer, or whether a quick laugh is really all that ‘important’ in their world view? I’m not Santa frickin’ Claus — how could I know these things?

All I can really say is that what I write is important to me, and that I cherish the friends I’ve made by writing things that they enjoy, as well. And that’s the most that I think any blogger can really say for certain.

(Well, would you look at that? There was a short answer, after all. Well, rip me a new one for blabbering on for so long before I found it. And that’s twenty minutes of your life that you’ll never have back, too. Ain’t I a stinker?)

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “Dammit, Now I Went and Got All ‘Thinky’… Blech!”

  1. Jon says:

    I agree. Just really well said.

    And entertaining to boot.

  2. I needed that read Charlie. It helps when someone kicks your arse (metaphorically that is) and keeps things in true perspective for ya! Thanks

  3. Bill Wallo says:

    Nice answer, Charlie. Let’s just remember: The King is dead! Long live the King!

    Which is sort of like, good luck, dude.

  4. zoot says:

    “Suck a sheep doll, ya boobered poopenheimers” – got a giggle out of me.. if it counts for anything.

  5. Fi says:

    That was a short answer? Next time I’ll put the kettle on and make a cuppa first.

    Btw, agree wholeheartedly with “all bloggers are essentially writing because it’s important to them and not their readers”

    Abso-bloody-lutely. Don’t do it for anyone else but me!

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