I started blogging back in the latter part of 2002 on Salon Blogs. It was a great time to start blogging; in the wake of the destruction wrought by the unelected Bush regime and in the midst of the regime’s impending launch of its bogus Vietraq War, the Internet and its newish “blogosphere” were buzzing with progressives who loved civic engagement (and e-catfights; more on that later…).
I immediately found blogging to be user-friendly — if you can word process, you can blog — and rather addictive. The idea that whenever something pisses me off or whenever there is just something that I want to say, I can post it on the Internet, where anyone in the world can read it — I still like that idea.
I probably would continue to blog no matter how small my audience. Blogging to me is what dancing is to a dancer or painting is to a painter.
Having an audience is great, especially when, like I do, you think that you’re a pretty fucking good writer. But, like any other artist who primarily does it for the love of it and not for the audience, I continue to blog even with a small audience.
But those bloggers who get book deals — arrrggggghhhhhh!
There is Dave Cullen, who, like I did, started out with Salon Blogs. Truthfully, I found Dave’s blog to be rather mediocre. He wrote about the “reality” television show “The Great Race” or whatever in the hell it was called, for fuck’s sake. After each episode, of which I never watched a single one, he’d feverishly let all of us know his every thought and impression of it. Barf bag, please! (If memory serves, Dave’s obsession with the show primarily was because one or more of its cast members he found to be a hottie. [I think it was that one cast member with the Nazi-sounding name… Third Reichen or something like that… Yeah, you know, I just can’t get past a Nazi-sounding name…])
When he wasn’t writing feverishly about his favorite reality TV show, Dave feverishly was writing about his favorite reality TV politician, Howard Dean. I, um, supported John Kerry from the very start, figuring that although Kerry wasn’t my ideological favorite of the Democratic bunch for the 2004 presidential nomination (that wild and wacky Dennis “Snowball’s Chance in Hell” Kucinich was), with his military background Kerry was much more likely to defeat BushCheneyCorp in 2004 than was peacenik Dean. (Unfortunately, 9/11 was still lingering in the national consciousness — endlessly stoked by the BushCheneyCorp, replete with its false color-coded terrorism risk alerts, of course — and I knew that the Repugnicans would make mincemeat of Dean.)
Thankfully, Dean imploded in the snows of Iowa in January 2004 and that was that. But Dave, who had even invaded Iowa with the throngs of other Deaniacs in their tacky bright orange caps, didn’t appreciate my gleeful blogging on Dean’s demise, and if memory serves, that is where it really devolved between Dave and me.
Dave and I always had fought over Dean vs. Kerry, but after Dean’s demise after the scream heard ’round the world, Dave and I had such serious e-catfights via our blogs’ comments sections that we had to call it quits lest law enforcement officials get involved…
Anyway, if memory serves, I found Dave to be a mediocre writer with waaay too many typos and misspellings, but sometimes compelling, like car accident images on the Internet can be compelling; you know that you probably really shouldn’t look at the spectacle, but you just can’t help yourself. (I seem to remember that I especially enjoyed reading about Dave’s parallel implosion with Dean’s implosion on Dave’s blog. Dave wrote some rather surreal stuff about his Dean-related devastation, if memory serves.)
Anyway, so of course Dave later landed himself a book deal. His book Columbine (a subject that doesn’t interest me; Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” pretty much satisfied that itch for me) as I type this sentence is No. 3,007 on amazon.com, but the book, timed for the 10th anniversary of the suburban teenaged massacre of April 1999, was on amazon.com’s top-100 best-selling books list for at least a little while.
I hate you, Dave. You’re a mediocre writer but you got a book deal. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.
No, OK, fine, congratulations, I don’t hate you, really I don’t, in fact, contgratulations, yeah, what-eeever. After all, I just linked to your book on amazon.com and I just might get you another sale or two or three. If I hated you that much would I have done that? No, I think not, Dave.
(If you want to argue about it, Dave, leave a comment on this post, bitch. It would be just like old times. I dare you!)
Even more successful than Dave (ha ha, Dave!) is former Salon blogger Julie Powell. I don’t know her at all — although I was aware of her blog when she and I were fellow Salon bloggers, I never read her blog because I’m not into cooking and her blog was about cooking — but I hate her perhaps even more than I hate Dave because not only did she get a book deal, but she got a fucking movie deal, too. Her book Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously is now a frigging movie tie-in paperback with Meryl Fucking Streep on the cover and is No. 54 on amazon.com’s top 100 best-seller list as I type this sentence.
I’m not linking to Powell’s book because once you have Meryl Streep on your resume, you just don’t need any more help, do you?
(Dave, if you get a movie deal, I’m going to find you, and maybe I will massacre you, Columbine-style, and I will use your flesh in one of Julie Powell’s Julia Child-inspired recipes. [Then maybe I could get a book deal…])
Anyway, Salon.com’s editor, Joan Walsh, makes this admission in a rubbing-it-in-my-face blog piece that she posted today about how some Salon bloggers went on to make it big: “The Salon Blogs program was worthy and innovative, but it didn’t get the attention it deserved — most notably, from Salon.”
Exactly. We Salon bloggers plunked down our $40-a-year fee for our blogs with Salon’s promise that Salon would support us, even promote us, and Salon didn’t. Salon picked a few Salon bloggers, almost seemingly at random, to give some attention to, but the rest of us were ignored.
I guess that in order to have gotten my Salon blog noticed I would have had to have blown former Salon managing editor Scott Rosenberg, who then was in charge of Salon Blogs and whose own Salon blog was lackluster at best (if memory serves, he primarily wrote about technical computer crap, which even I, with my great writing talent, probably couldn’t make interesting — probably).
I did contact Rosenberg a few times to see if he’d promote my blog, but he steadfastly refused. Probably because his own blog sucked. And because he also was one of the Lemmings for Howard Dean and I was one of the few bloggers for Kerry. (OK, so maybe I was the only blogger for Kerry…)
I gleefully note that Rosenberg’s book on — w a i t f o r i t — blogging, which was released last month (I won’t help him by even giving you its title), as of right this moment is No. 9,530 on amazon.com.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha, Scott!
Oh, I don’t think that they’ll be making a movie out of your book!
So that’s at least two mediocre bloggers who got book deals, one of them with a book about blogging.
Anyway, so yeah, as Joan Walsh admitted today, Salon abandoned its bloggers. At one point Salon stopped even mentioning the Salon blogs on Salon’s home page, and then at another point Salon stopped accepting new blogs, and now, at the end of this year, the blogging platform that Salon blogs utilize, Radio UserLand, is going kaput.
At the end of October I switched from Salon Blogs/Radio UserLand to WordPress. I am much, much, much happier with the WordPress blogging platform. Aside from being FREE, WordPress offers a lot more functionality that Radio UserLand ever did. (I can enumerate on one hand what Radio UserLand has that WordPress doesn’t, but I could enumerate on my pubes what WordPress has that Radio UserLand doesn’t.)
Anyway, so I’m happier on WordPress, and I rarely use “I” and “happy” in the same sentence.
But, unfortunately, my readership on WordPress isn’t any larger than it was on Salon Blogs.
And I still don’t have my book deal yet — but I think that I can come up with something for Meryl to do.