This is the single best
January 25, 2002 12:50 PM   Subscribe

This is the single best entry I have ever read, written by anyone, anywhere, on any blog.
posted by Steven Den Beste (50 comments total)
Yes, much better than, say, this post.

(please be descriptive...)
posted by jpburns at 1:00 PM on January 25, 2002

I was deliberately vague because I didn't want to spoil the surprise.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:03 PM on January 25, 2002

Surprise is one word for it. I would like my money back now please.
posted by jjg at 1:08 PM on January 25, 2002

I am not a regular reader of blogs, so I can't judge if this entry is in fact the best ever. (From the sounds of it, blogging is not like writing for, say, the Encyclopedia Britannica.) But I am on SDB's side in this one. Why not be surprised once in a while? (Which I was, when I read the link.)
posted by LeLiLo at 1:13 PM on January 25, 2002

I liked this. Many compliments to Will Warren for the cool poem and to Steven Den Beste for finding (and linking) it. Good stuff.

...but no mention of the Mefi tribe? I'm surprised.
posted by pheideaux at 1:14 PM on January 25, 2002

Yes. One day they'll build cities around that blog entry.
posted by Samsonov14 at 1:14 PM on January 25, 2002

didn't finish. sorry.
posted by ronv at 1:15 PM on January 25, 2002

Still waiting for the Readers Digest condensed version.
posted by Outlawyr at 1:18 PM on January 25, 2002

sally fields: "you like me! you really like me!"
posted by rebeccablood at 1:18 PM on January 25, 2002

If that's the best blogs can offer maybe I'll give up and stop reading them...
posted by zekinskia at 1:19 PM on January 25, 2002

There's certainly no accounting for taste. (Replaces "best" with "lamest.")

Why is it so great? Because it mentioned you?
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:26 PM on January 25, 2002

Yeah, that was pretty lame.

I prefer more inventive Blogs.
Like the Skallas mobile ATM
posted by Jeffy at 1:32 PM on January 25, 2002

...because, after all, the only bloggers who matter are the right-wing warbloggers.....

Is this the beginning of the new A-list?
posted by briank at 1:38 PM on January 25, 2002

In other Hiawatha parody news:

Stay tuned for all longform doggerel, all the time.
posted by Perigee at 1:40 PM on January 25, 2002

All defending sense and honor,
All defending freedom’s charter,
All dispensing smacks aplenty
To the dolts who’d long deserved them.

Anyone who believes web log writers actually do any of this are seriously deluding themselves. They are web pages folks. If web logs defend sense and honor so do raving maniacs on soapboxes, 8-eight-year olds sending letters to the editor and porn shops.
posted by raaka at 1:41 PM on January 25, 2002

more self serving 'ain't bloggin' grand' pap is the best you can find? [snicker] pffft!
posted by quonsar at 1:45 PM on January 25, 2002

Steven Den Beste: you have terribly low standards
posted by eyere at 1:47 PM on January 25, 2002

SDB: This should have come with a Hiawatha Warning, my dear. I won't be able to get that goddam rhythm out of my head for days.... (You have no idea how many parodies of that poem I grew up with.) Hmmm, maybe if I haul out my old jumprope and jump for a while to "Tension, apprehension and dissention have begun" I can out-pepsi it. Aside from that, I liked the blog.
posted by realjanetkagan at 1:55 PM on January 25, 2002

8-eight-year olds sending letters

from the "Twelve Rants of Christmas?" ("Seven Geezers Griping/Six Cranks With Lawsuits/Five PAR-a-NOIDS!")


While it was a bit self-regarding of SDB to post, I liked it.
posted by BT at 2:02 PM on January 25, 2002

Tensor, said the tenser.
Tenser, said the tensor.
Tension, apprehension, and dissention ha....

Now wait, I liked "The Stars My Destination" better. Screw Demolished Man. I didn't even get it. Lousy ending. Fah.
posted by wenham at 2:17 PM on January 25, 2002

So the best entry ever on any blog is a poem about an article about weblogs about War?

Hmm, wasn't one of the points of the OJR article that the warblog world largely thrives on circular back-patting?
posted by chaz at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2002

A little further down on the same page, the guy wrote a a vilanelle as a weblog entry. Structurally speaking, vilanelles are probably the most difficult form of poetry to write, as is evidenced by their scarcity. And this one is actually passable. Doggerel? Not convinced.
posted by ratbastard at 2:24 PM on January 25, 2002

'scume. Better definition and correct spelling of villanelle here.
posted by ratbastard at 2:28 PM on January 25, 2002

This post by me is the best response ever in this thread.
posted by Slagman at 2:28 PM on January 25, 2002

Skallas, that mobile Atm is a riot.
posted by Eric Lloyd NYC at 2:35 PM on January 25, 2002

Skallas, that mobile Atm's a riot.
posted by Eric Lloyd NYC at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2002

Nice, two mastubatory threads in a row!
posted by eyeballkid at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2002

I fell asleep. Drooled on my keyboard. It was ugly.
posted by heybate at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2002

wenham: If you really didn't get "The Stars My Destination," look for a decent translation of "The Count of Monte Christo." You'll get it then, I promise!
posted by realjanetkagan at 2:45 PM on January 25, 2002

Oh, wait, I'm still feverish. I'm confusing Alfie Bester's books and your comments. I'll pull them out when I'm over this cold and we'll e-mail, okay? Meanwhile, sorry. I'm still Hiawatha'd.
posted by realjanetkagan at 2:50 PM on January 25, 2002

Scanned it. Saw the SDB link. Rolled eyes.
posted by jragon at 2:51 PM on January 25, 2002

Scanned it. Saw the SDB link. Rolled eyes.

my point exactly
posted by eyeballkid at 3:03 PM on January 25, 2002

That was pretty funny and well written. Thanks, SDB. But wait, there's more!

Scanned it. Saw the SDB link. Rolled eyes.
Took time to come inside and post comment. Invalidated own implied principles.
I don't know if it worth taking this to Metatalk (given that I don't take things to Metatalk anyways), but saying it's boring doesn't bring anything. Say why it's boring, in great detail, with justifications and quantifiers and so many predicate statements it makes the mind go blurry.

But, if you do go to Metatalk, be sure to read my poem!
posted by j.edwards at 3:12 PM on January 25, 2002

The post's hyperbole is begging to be dissed. Time to write the Hyperbolic-back-patting-parody-poem next, eh? Maybe a song parody to the tune of Too Much time on my Hands or He's got the whole warblog in his hands or 99 bloggers of cheer for the war.
posted by john at 3:29 PM on January 25, 2002

That was only sort of villanellesque, really. Sestinas are cool, too (and rarer).
posted by mattpfeff at 3:32 PM on January 25, 2002

Steven Den Beste : A shameless self - link :)
posted by onegoodmove at 3:54 PM on January 25, 2002

OK, look, I am on the periphery of this warblogger group (even though I never seem to get mentioned on the round-ups), and all props to everyone dissed by Cavanagh and praised in this poem -- this is amusing, but jeez, tone down the worship, and the mutual self-congratulation. It's unbecoming at this level.
posted by dhartung at 4:57 PM on January 25, 2002

Well, given that I'm automatically guilty of anything that anyone chooses to accuse me of around here, I suppose it's pointless to post this.

But just to set the record straight: I would have linked to this in this way even if I had not been mentioned in it. My opinion of it is not based on the fact that I am mentioned in it.

But of course, because I'm automatically guilty, no-one will believe that.

Chuck Jones wrote a book called "Chuck Amuck" which is well worth reading. He has a long section which describes the process that they went through to create the cartoons. One of the things he spends a great deal of time on is something they did which was quite innovative. He calls it a "Yes meeting". It was a brainstorming session. It turns out that all the cartoons that came out of Termite Terrace involved a lot more collaboration than we realize. When you have talents like Friz Freleng in a group, you don't waste that. So any time one of the directors and writers had an idea for a cartoon, they'd work out some concepts, and then get the whole group (maybe 7 or 8 guys, writers and directors) together to brainstorm gags and story ideas.

The problem was that one of the attendees was always the producer, and the one they had after Warner Bros bought the place was a very unimaginative and negative man.

The problem was that when they had those meetings, this negative man would dump cold water all over the creative process. The one rule they established in the "Yes meeting" was that all comments had to be positive and supportive. If you didn't have anything good to say, you kept quiet.

Sometimes the meetings didn't work; sometimes ideas were not fruitful. But when they were, this process was a primary contributor to the success of the pictures. But he talks about why negative comments of the kind the producer was prone to were not useful.

Alas, I cannot find my copy of the book (it's in my garage packed in a box somewhere) so I cannot quote the specific text he writes. But he writes very eloquently about the power -- and intellectual bankruptcy -- of the word "no". It is an easy word to use; it makes it sound as if you're involved even if you are not. It is the first word a child learns, and the first she uses heavily. Many a man has made a reputation as a conversationalist by being negative, and running things down.

But it's cheap and easy. There's a difference between sardonic negativity and truly engaged criticism. Engaged criticism requires thought and work; you're not merely saying that you dislike something, you explain why. But that means you have to study it, and you have to be able to forumulate clearly your negative reaction so you can explain it to someone else. It forces you to make the explanation convincing. A true negative review of something can actually be a work of art, but if it is done well it is always requires a great deal of effort.

On the other hand, simply slamming something without explanation is an easy out. It's intellectually empty; it is a way of reassuring self that the self is important (when probably actually not) by running something else down.

If you think something is lousy, then either explain why and propose how it could be improved, or do it better yourself. Anything else is intellectually lazy.

I admire Warren's poem because it is topical, clever, well constructed, funny as all hell (I had tears rolling down my face from laughter even before I encountered my name in the piece), sly and all around extremely well done. I know full well that I could not have written anything remotely as good; when I linked to it from my own site I tried to write a bit of an intro in the same form and I had to struggle for ten minutes to get just 8 lines to work right.

My tastes are definitely simple and low. I openly admit it. I admire talent, wit, intelligence, sagacity and hard work.

My apologies for being so unsophisticated.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:21 PM on January 25, 2002 [1 favorite]

Both the Warren and Cavanaugh pieces are well written -- I'm grateful for having read both.

SDB, for all the words in your post it's not clear to me (ok, I'm very slow) if you're accusing Cavanaugh of not explaining what's wrong with blogging?? If so then you need some serious perspective (he's saying quite a bit more than "no") if not: never mind.

Meanwhile Cavanaugh is exactly right. Blogging as a whole is a self-serving/congratulatory listserv for lazy (and usually uncreative) people grabbing for the approval of their parents and/or respect of their kids. Just talk-radio over CB radio with even less consequences.

The blogging community feels really large numerically but in the context of all connected computer users it seems to be to be very, very small (again, think listserv).

The sum total of Warren's defensive stance is that Cavanaugh could only feel that way because somehow this insignificant community threatens him. Well, I have nothing to gain or lose by weblogging's success or failure (however you measure either) and I feel 100% the same way he does.
posted by victors at 5:41 PM on January 25, 2002

I had no objections to Cavanaugh's piece. I said so on my own site; I thought it was funny.

No, my comments refer to the negativity of this thread.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:47 PM on January 25, 2002

Blogging as a whole is a self-serving/congratulatory listserv for lazy (and usually uncreative) people grabbing for the approval of their parents and/or respect of their kids.

I don't really understand that. How does blogging imply the blogger is seeking the approval of his/her parents? I'm not being facetious here, I just don't understand what you mean. Explain?
posted by Kafkaesque at 6:05 PM on January 25, 2002

Steve: I think you should just start posting things that you think totally suck, but continue to call them the best example of "X" you've ever seen, because it's obvious many people love to tear your posts down.
posted by john at 6:08 PM on January 25, 2002

I don't really understand that

It has been my totally under-researched, over-opinionated, purely anectodal experience that most of the bloggers I have encountered are co-dependent, damaged, approval-seeking junkies -- which 99.9% time means a dysfunctional upbringing with a missing or under-attentive father (sometimes mother). Or that could just be me... I'll have to check with my therapist on that one.
posted by victors at 6:11 PM on January 25, 2002

Oh. Oh shit.

Guilty as charged. Of the dysfunctional/absent father thing at least. Oh and lazy too.

But dammit, I'm creative! I think many bloggers are.
posted by Kafkaesque at 6:25 PM on January 25, 2002

But dammit, I'm creative! I think many bloggers are

Not being familiar with yours I maintain it's rare, yet I admit, it happens (rip asain bastard)
posted by victors at 6:48 PM on January 25, 2002

I think the target audience for this one is folks like my dad, who "don't understand kids nowadays," and all-in-all paints a pretty unrealistic picture of the blogging community. why lead by example, or provide some guidelines, or present some objective criticisms when you can just make write a goofy poem that disses everyone except the few that you like?

fortunately, it's drawn out in bad enough prose so that more impressionable audiences won't waste their time on it and get the wrong idea about we bloggers.

My opinion of it is not based on the fact that I am mentioned in it.

posted by mcsweetie at 10:08 PM on January 25, 2002

wow, i finally found something that's more noxiously self-serving than weblogrolling—weblogrolling in verse. and not even original verse—parody-style verse! this poem, with its injokiness and framework lifted wholesale from a previously known work, pretty much sums up 95% of what is wrong with popular culture in 2002; this dude is like the mr cheeks of weblogs.
posted by maura at 10:22 PM on January 25, 2002


I believe you when you say that you would have linked to the poem anyway...

...but just because we read that guy's poem doesn't make us part of his creative process. We certainly aren't being paid to improve it by Warner Brothers, and it's obviously past the brainstorming stage: it's finished. If the work isn't good enough to stand some cold water from the audience, that isn't the audience's fault, it's the artist's.
posted by bingo at 1:27 AM on January 26, 2002

No, my comments refer to the negativity of this thread.

Negativity? Amongst Metafilter folk? Egad!

posted by verdezza at 4:08 AM on January 26, 2002

Steven: Though there are many intellectually lazy reasons for being critical, I think the participants in this discussion did a good job of hitting each of the reasons the "warblog Hiawatha" was tiresome.

The biggest reason: All Hiawatha parodies are tiresome.
posted by rcade at 7:38 AM on January 26, 2002

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