How a respect for blogging could lead to world peace

The Librarian says, 'Shut up arguing and eat a banana.' Image: Pixabay

The Librarian says, ‘Shut up arguing and eat a banana.’
Image: Pixabay

Humans are weird creatures.

I mean apart from obvious peccadillos that some of us indulge in (piercing every bit of skin that flaps, having whiskers implanted in your face and turning yourself into a cat – bus spotting) and despite the fact that it seems an obvious solution to many of the world’s problems, we just can’t get along, can we?

From what colour someone’s skin is, to which gender partner they choose to share their bed with, to which god they worship, human beings always have to look for the difference in others, not the similarities.

You’ll see it in microcosm every time you leave the house.

You’re in the supermarket queue. You’ve put your shopping on the conveyer belt. You’re waiting for the person in front of you to be served. What do you do while you’re waiting? Well, you could listen to the music drifting over the vegetable aisle (usually something cheerful, often something nostalgic – something that will stupefy you enough so that you don’t stab the nearest person with a cucumber out of sheer consumerist overload).

So, you listen to the music but your brain’s starting to melt, so your eyes wander to other people’s shopping. Look at the guy in front – his purchases do not include fresh fruit or interestingly shaped veg, just a tower of frozen single-portion ready meals, a bucket of Ben and Jerry’s Karamel Sutra large enough to drown a kitten in and a six pack of beer. And you look up to see a middle-aged man who needs a shave and who’s trying to pay with vouchers and a collection of small change and fluff he’s emptied from his pocket. Now, if you’re not standing there thinking ‘lives alone – possibly divorced,’ I’d be very surprised.

It’s the same with writing – we’re always searching for the difference.

Now, I’ve read a few comments online that state that blogging isn’t ‘proper’ writing, that there’s little skill involved and you can dash a post off as quickly as you could heat up one of that chap’s Roast Chicken TV Dinners. Some people think stories – specifically novels – are the only ‘real’ writing and that writing for a blog ‘doesn’t count’ in some way.

Now, to an extent I get what they mean. I would never claim anything I write on here is comparable to great fiction. But then, it’s not supposed to be. It’s supposed to be bright and brief and hopefully entertaining and then you’re supposed to forget about it and go back to drilling for oil or conducting deep ocean surveys on the sex life of the cuttlefish or whatever it is you do when you’re not hanging out here.

But that doesn’t make it worthless. It just makes it different.

I read a piece in the Guardian about Terry Pratchett by Jonathan Jones, published after the author’s death, decrying the public out-pouring of grief and the fact that so many people regarded him as a genius when he wasn’t. Jones claims it’s a waste of life to read Discworld novels when there are better ones out there – whilst freely admitting he’s only ever read a few pages of Pratchett’s writing himself.

I think Jones is rather missing the point. I’m pretty sure Pratchett never intended or wanted to be a ‘literary’ genius. But he was a great ‘genre’ writer. He was damned good at what he did, he did it for a long time, produced a lot of books and sold a lot of copies.

And isn’t it the variety of books available that’s so wonderful?

I love Dickens and Austen but I don’t want to read them all the time – my mind would implode eventually, bent in half by the circumlocutory patterns of speech. I love Christmas, but I’d count myself psychotic if I chose to keep a tree in the window, tinsel festooning every crevice and Bing Crosby pounding from the stereo all year round. (If you can say Bing could ever ‘pound’ – prr-rup-per-pum-pum.)

Stating that Terry Pratchett is no Gabriel Garcia Márquez is – to put no finer point on it – stating the bleeding obvious, but it doesn’t mean I need to ban one or other from my life.

As for blog writing – no it’s not writing the Great American (or even the Great Bristolian) Novel but it can still have merit.

If people could get over the idea that one thing has to be better than another, and accept things can be worthwhile but different, the world might just be a whole lot better. 

Lynn Love.


And if you don’t know why I chose an orangutan to illustrate this post, then maybe you could read some Discworld books. They’re a charming ‘waste of time’.

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15 thoughts on “How a respect for blogging could lead to world peace

  1. Great post Lynn!
    I hate snobbery in all things and I don’t judge people according to what they read or what they watch on TV, (ok I lie… If I see a copy of The Daily Mail under someone’s arm I know we won’t be friends!)
    I think blogging is certainly as valid as any other form of writing and I love the variety of blogs there are out there. There are some truly talented writers around, better than a lot of what has made it to book shelves of Waterstones, in my opinion.
    And what’s more, it’s a wonderfully supportive and inclusive community.
    Blog on!
    K x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re so right!
      We’ve all read some blogs which aren’t too thrilling, but many are written by really enthusiastic, knowledgeable, committed amateurs – and amateur should never be a slur, it’s just we do it because we love it!
      Done well, they can be as enlightening, funny and informative as anything you’ll read on paper.
      Blog on, indeed!
      P.S. No Mail readers here – perish the thought 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Austen wasn’t considered worth reading by her peers. I don’t know what the ‘official’ line on Dickens was, but there must have been lots of people looking down on him serialising his work, I imagine… I didn’t read the Jones piece in the Guardian because I thought it was a blatant try to make the piece go viral. And I hate people who decry books or authors based on that they are genre writers. Literary is nothing but a genre. Going back to Austen again, today, she would be classified as chick lit, or maybe, if she were lucky, as commercial women’s fiction. It seems we’re not capable of judging what will stand the test of time and what won’t.

    Patronising as hell, too. ‘No, you don’t know what’s good, let me tell you what is.’ He must be a failed novelist… Now, as far as I am concerned, all reading is good. Even when it involves sparkly vampires, actually.

    Like

  3. I have a friend who thinks that all novels are a stupid waste of time, because they don’t tell you anything factual. (I would dispute that argument if I could be bothered)
    It takes all sorts to make a big round thing with loads of water and land and stuff – and if there was only ‘good’ fiction, many people may never learn to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to know someone who felt the same way- ‘what’s the point when it’s all made up’. Well, they’ve clearly never read any fiction worth reading – weird, sad, shallow souls. Imagination is what defines humans, what makes us different from the beasties. Without it, we’re just hairless apes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Have you ever watched the graceful way a gibbon swings from tree to tree? It looks as if they are gliding through the air. I’d almost be prepared to exchange my soul to be able to do that – almost, but not quite.
        Imagine never being able to read To Kill a Mocking Bird, to never pick vegetables that you had grown yourself, to never eat Epoisses or Roquefort!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I do love a gibbon – they sound pretty amazing too. Though an orangutan has it over gibbons for me – truly lovely, soulful creatures.
        People with so little imagination are scary same as people who never listen to music – these things are fundamental to our existence, they’ve been with us since we’re been human, maybe before.
        And life without cheese? Not worth living 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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