July 9, 2009
Imagine all your friends suddenly disappeared.
But only physically. They still existed, but the only way you could communicate with them was online. You know, IM, social networking etc. You’ll see the on screen “LOL,” but never hear it. There’s plenty of “xx” but never any tongue. They type, “What’s up?” But there’s no little hug hello.
I like hugging. (If the friend happens to be hot, I like “enhanced hugging.”) A friend’s physical presence is the most effective conduit of emotion. It’s the sanctuary of shared experience. Basically, when I’m with you, I feel you, yo.
I like emotion. It comes from your gut. So, I have a bit of a bone to pick with blogging: You can’t touch it. (And yes, seeing that I’m blogging this second, I realize the irony of this confession.) I guess you could stroke the computer screen, but good luck getting the grease marks off your monitor, Señor Handsy. As for the rest of us, the only sense entertained while digesting a blog is our sight. That’s one of five. When you look at it that way, I dare say technology is somewhat cheating us.
Once upon a time in a land without the Internet, a bunch of chicks had an idea. Well that, a photocopier, and perhaps a few safety pins in their t-shirts. But regardless of the threads that graced their backs, these rebels had an objective: hold up a certain finger to the established girlie magazines while simultaneously publishing their own zines. Women are nothing if not killer multitaskers.
The particular name many chicks pinned to their chest was “Riot Grrrl.” But in reality, it doesn’t matter what they called themselves, or if they donned Chucks or heels or safety pins in their nose. The fact is, they got their hands dirty and gluey, taking home paper-cut battle wounds. Fed up with the lip glossy fake magazines that preached which pumps to flaunt and lips to pout, they wrote about stuff that mattered to them. Photocopied it, stapled it, and published it. They spread ideas about punk and politics, relationships and art. DIY (do it yourself) was their mantra, and they kicked ass doing it.
I guess you could argue that blogging is the modern zine, and that’s somewhat correct. But also completely wrong. Here’s the thing. Like I said before, creativity is thoughtfully channeled emotion. And emotions are best experienced through your five senses. The more senses that feel it, the better you’ll understand where the creator is coming from. How much more powerful is live music over the notes that pour from a stereo? Someone can TYPE IN CAPS ALL DAY, but it doesn’t stir you as much as hearing that person scream in your face. Your significant someone can IM how much they heart you, but only a kiss can touch your heart. (Ok, major eye-roll. But true. Unless you really like making out with your laptop.) So no matter how hard your post rocks the virtual casbah, it will get under more people’s skin if they can touch it and hold it and display it on their bookshelf. If they can cut it up and paste it all over their journal. If they can have the undoubtedly emotional and nostalgic experience of finding it five years later in their “Senior Year” shoebox. And when you pump your proverbial sweat and tears into an original invention of the crazy inner-workings of your mind, aren’t sharing your feelings kind of the point?
Don’t get me wrong. (Which, given the nature of this medium, is entirely possible.) I love blogging. I can dip into my mental bucket of randomness and write about whatever nutzo philosophy that’s in there – including my theory that cactuses are actually humans in fancy plant costumes. (I mean c’mon. Just look at them.) I’m pretty much obsessed with blogging. If it were a crush who turned me down, I’d probably stalk it. But it’s not a crush. It’s the Internet. The Internet can’t walk (or run away.) You can try to hug it, but you’ll end up flailing your hands around in the air, filled with unrequited affections. For all its jazz and pizzazz, the Internet can sometimes be so cold.
Internet devotees, don’t despair. I’m not calling for the death of blogging, but rather the undeath of zines. We need both, for creativity’s sake. If you’ve got something to say, I want to feel you. And if you’re with me, here are your instructions: At the end of this blog, go start a zine. Name it, write it, cut it, paste it. Smudge the ink, spill your proverbial guts onto the page, DIY all the way. Hand it out at shows. Pass it under desks. Give it to everyone you know. Give your friends a squeeze while you’re at it. And if you happen to be 6′ 3” with a little bit of scruff and a penchant for quirky films and satire, give me a call. I need a hug upgrade.