Blogging Sucks

Blogging Sucks, Rant AlertTherapy, the Human mind, and life in general are not all that suck. Blogging and blogs suck. So I have to find a cute visual to go with my blog post? Oh, joy. I can break copyright laws again and hose off someone’s hard work, thanking them for it by misusing their photography or art without permission. And I get to use this super-unfriendly WordPress program that screws up half the time? So tempting I can hardly resist. Link my own text with my own prior work? Completely necessary for internet style and not at all narcissistic. Whoops, I’ve got about as much down here now as most people are willing to read — better add one of those fancy little breaks that makes this paragraph a teaser so the whole post isn’t visible at once. Because I just love communicating with my fellow humans in a formulaic way that demands futzing with technical doo-dads and employing advertising tricks and manipulation.

Modern Communication Sucks

It’s great that we all get to express ourselves in writing these days, through the miracles of modern technology. What’s not so great is that our attention spans have shrunk to the point that most everything we read is in the form of carefully spoon-fed, bullet-pointed “top 10” lists and other such tripe. If you bother to read 19th-Century publications and literature, it should become quite clear to you that we are no longer willing to read much by way of fully-developed ideas. People used to write in sentences that demanded attention. Now everyone thinks it’s a run-on sentence if it doesn’t end before the reader’s attention wanders to facebook.

Bite-Sized Ideas

We cut up our ideas into tiny chunks with special headings intended to trigger good Google search result placement. This is Search-Engine Optimized writing. Whoever communicated great ideas in a blog? With due credit for the phrasing to the late, great Frank Zappa, blogging comprises people who have forgotten how to write communicating to those who have forgotten how to read about topics that, by and large, do not signify anything of consequence anyway.  I’m sure many blogs are influential, but who will be reading them in 100 years? I’m guessing nobody, though I suppose that those that are really well-optimized might have a sticking power in the same way a Wikipedia article does. Searches for decades to come will reveal the same brief communications that are rotting our minds in the early 21st Century.

Flea-sized Attention Spans

We are so busy with “important” things in 2013 that to stop to read anything longer than this blog post — which you are apparently still reading, perhaps due to its obnoxious and flippant tone, and the fact that I don’t care how many embedded clauses I use in my writing, or whether I split sentences using commas, which my 10th-grade English teacher told us would result in an F for the course — we are so freaking BUSY all the time that we need virtually all of our information to fit into our 30-second attention span. Banks and the top earners of our great nation have ensured that most people have little leisure time and are devoted to working five to six 12-hour days per week just to make ends meet. But the rich aren’t wholly to blame for our attentional woes. All of us and our superficial values have produced the culture that worships wealth, thinness, cheap beer, guns and “freedom.” Canada is looking better and better — or am I deluding myself in thinking that anywhere in the developed world is substantively different from the USA on these counts? Outer Hebrides, anyone?

Negativity Sells

I write in an angry tone for a couple of reasons. 1) I’m angry about a lot of things. There’s a lot to be angry about. I make no apology for being angry about pervasively stupid human behavior, even if I recognize that it’s my own mind that labels the behavior as stupid, and that doing so doesn’t necessarily help anything; 2) I’m not the only one who’s angry, and venting my anger can validate the feelings of many others who see the world similarly to how I see it; 3) Negativity sells; blogging requires readership and the most popular posts I have written here have been those expressing my anger about my field and related topics. By the way, if I keep saying the word “blogging,” my SEO will increase and this article will be read by more people. This is because the Google search engines like repetition of key words and so if I title the piece “Blogging Sucks,” I’d better repeat that phrase and the word “Blogging” as much as possible, in order to achieve the greatest possible search engine impact. Blogging, blogging, blogging, blogging.

Buddhists in particular are fond of deriding anger and preaching that it’s no good. I strongly and respectfully disagree. Anger can be quite useful and there’s a reason we evolved this emotion. I don’t have to go killing people just because I’m angry. This is basic, kindergarten-level stuff. You can express your feelings without harming others. To assert that a basic human emotion is “bad” is just not skillful or logical. It’s not helpful to anyone to pathologize what we all do, just because it’s caustic or annoying.

That said, I can appreciate the fatigue of some who are tired of reading rants. You could just write your own rant about how annoying it is for you when others are annoyed. You could just stop reading this right now. Or, you could go dip your head in a vat of melted cheese. It’s really up to you.

So, you have nothing better to do than to read this? I highly recommend reading the works of Shakespeare, James Joyce, Don Dellilo, Tom Robbins, Josh Bazell and many other great writers’ work over this hogwash, honestly.

Do you find rants funny, or do they just annoy you?

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Joseph Rhinewine, PhD. People collaborate with me to live life fully: with principle, passion and vigor. My expertise is providing and teaching Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), an evidence-based, experiential and relational behavior therapy. I also apply Acceptance and Commitment processes to coaching those who wish to take their lives to a new level.

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