Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Sprawling, Bawling Critique

There are rants ahead...

For some time now I've been threatening to write a critique of Irish blogs but I have been hesitant to publish it. It's a can of worms and I'm not sure I want to be the one to open it. Watching the excellent Rince ar Phár series on TG4 recently, Alan Titley's comment on the importance of criticism for the development of Irish language literature got me thinking. He spoke about his early days as a critic, he didn't know too many of the people in Irish literary circles and he gave honest and not always complimentary reviews. They weren't well-received, so he decided to hold his whist; if he couldn't say anything nice, he'd say nothing at all. I think that some parallels can be drawn between literature in a minority language and publishing in the minority media. Like Irish language literary circles, the Irish blogging community is small. There is a sense of camaraderie, everyone is very nice to one another. This is not to imply that they shouldn't be... but it means that all too often, comments are favourable to the point of sycophancy, dissenters are dismissed as bitter cranks and cynics. An unfavourable review is seen to be impolite and criticism poses a threat; it may cause personal offence, when none is meant.

While I love the sense of camaraderie and community that comes from both the Irish language and blogging, it frustrates me too. Balls to brothers in arms. Let's sort the wheat from the chaff. For blogging to become a valid medium for writers, we need to spend less time congratulating one another simply for being bloggers and actually work to ensure that the bloggers of note are those keeping blogs of note. Make it more about content and less about the cult of personality.

Because right now it feels like an ugly popularity contest. I can only assume that the A-listers of the Irish blogging world are lovely, lovely people because to be frank, some of them are shit-awful writers. I shouldn't need to point out (but I will anyway) that this is intended as a critique of the blogs themselves, and not of the bloggers. There are an awful lot of people out there who need to get themselves a good editor, or whose blogs need a harsh fucking review.

Who does she think she is?

It's a little over a year since I started to keep my own blog. I've acquired a steady readership in that time and am only now beginning to wonder where it is I fit into the Irish blogging community, if I fit in here at all. This blog has recently drawn comparisons with a few others that were meant to be favourable but which I was more than dismayed by; I may be single, female and living in Dublin but fuck me, I'm a far cry from a flirtysomething. I mean no slight to its author but that blog epitomises for me all that I dislike about Dublin (and I hate that I dislike anything about this city) - it is to blogs what Café an Seine is to pubs and I think it perpetuates an unhealthy and unhelpful stereotype. Is this the company readers see me in? It's certainly not company I would choose for my blog to keep and it got me thinking about my own list of Pretend Friends. I don't read all of them, or at least I don't read all of them often enough to give them space in my already overcrowded feed reader. Should I add a caveat like Gimme's? Would his People I like/Respect/Feel grudgingly obliged to link be appropriate? Perhaps.

The Gong Show

Hailed as king of the bloggers is the brains behind the Irish Blog Awards, Damien Mulley. I admire Mulley as a social entrepreneur (or as an entrepreneur, at any rate) but his blog leaves me cold. I'll dip into it occasionally because I see that so many others link to it and wonder that I might be missing something, but the more I read of it the more I think not. I don't find it particularly topical or interesting, if it were a radio show it would be Ray D'Arcy's (I do not understand the popularity of Ray D'Arcy either) and I am surprised that so many people subscribe to it. That said, he deserves sincere praise for his work to establish the Irish Blog Awards. Perhaps linking to his blog is how people show their appreciation?

The awards, however, are not without their problems. I was disappointed in them - not just for the night that was in it (though I should have expected that the event would be just as it was) but because I didn't feel that many of the winners deserved their accolades. My expectations were unrealistic - the awards are not the Booker. They are a by the people, for the people affair and while these particular people may be more literate than most, there is still a strong element of lowest-common-denominator culture winning out.

I was disappointed particularly in the winner of the Best Use of the Irish Language category. I was a nominee but let that be neither here nor there, I was disappointed because the winner writes in Irish about Irish, which has to be one of the most deathly boring things one can blog about. I work as a cultural officer to promote the language and I'm not interested enough to read it, why would anyone else be? Gaeilgeoirí have little interest - the posts generate precious few comments. It would certainly not entice people who don't speak Irish to try to read it, to sit down with the dictionary and work out the gist of it for themselves.

The shortlists for the other categories disappointed me just as much. It's not that I expect all good blogs to be prize pieces of literature - there are plenty I enjoy simply because the stories they tell are human ones and they tell them in a plain, unmanipulative and earnest way. But there are others which are little more than turgid regurgitations of the news with some self-righteous indignation thrown in for good measure, more still which are nothing but You Tube tenpenny bags. They have little to recommend them or to hold my interest and I'm baffled by their popularity.

The awards are not entirely without merit, they do help to highlight blogging as a medium and they do encourage bloggers to interact with one another. I'm all for hugs and pints, but it would be nice if the awards had offered some encouragement to up my own game, rather than leaving me disillusioned and wondering if I've just gotten the wrong end of the stick altogether as far as this blogging lark goes.

In conclusion: Don't hate me. Or do. Fuck it, I'm thick-skinned.

This is all just a matter of personal opinion. It matters not a jot. But knowing that I am not the type of blogger who will ever write a Nokia N95 winning post at least gives me the freedom to rock the boat a little and try to promote a little debate (not dissent) in the ranks. I am sure that there are others out there who read blogs and who share my frustration at seeing excellent posts by engaging writers overlooked while lazy posts by popular writers spark their own message boards. This may well turn out to be an exercise in how to lose pretend friends and piss people off, but for the love of the game I'll consider that a risk worth taking.

103 comments:

emordino said...

> self-righteous indignation

It's a killer. There's a fair bit of giving out about how blogs aren't taken seriously by the world at large. Protip: stop acting like children.

I must say you built this up to be much longer. Fair enough if you don't want to name names (apart from the, uh, "important" one) but you're only skimming the surface. I WANT BLOOD, DAMMIT.

backpedalbrakes said...

Well said.

I purposely didn't nominate myself for the blog awards this year (as I'm sure many did) because I didn't start blogging to win awards, and because I'd seen the results from last year and really don't see myself as part of the Irish blogging "inner circle" which seemed to get lots of the recognition. Not to say I don't admire these people; like you, I just don't identify so much with them.

If the Irish blogging community were a school playground (which, let's face it, it feels like by times), I'd be the speccy kid with braces reading a book in the corner. People notice I'm there, but don't pay me much attention, and that's fine by me.

nerdrock said...

Ironically, I just nominated this for blog post of the month at Mulleys.

I agree with you completely on many points. The very nature of the internet means there will always be quantity, what we need is quality. I subscribe to about 20 blogs/feeds which equates to about 100 "posts" daily but I only read about 5-10% of those in detail because the rest is usually crap.

One thing I've found trouble with is getting readership. In my mind, unless you post both frequently and excellently (Spanish Exposition does this well I think) to get people reading you need to read other blogs, link to them and comment etc. But for the shit bloggers (like me) who post neither frequently nor exceptionally the only way to be read is to either frequently throw up links and videos or just wave your banner around in the irish blogscene.

I'm going to try to change. I promise!

problemchildbride said...

Well, this is exactly what blogging's about. People using their own space to publish what they're thinking. Kudos, girl, for sticking what you really think out there. That's the point.

I enjoyed meeting the people I did at the awards but I could see evidence all over that people were regarding it as some sort of a competitive sport. It's not - you can't compare weight-lifters with sprinters or 1800m runners anyway. Ideally, it's a space for writing what you like, when you like to. I think the best blogging still sticks to that. You can start to smell it when people are no longer blogging just for the love of blogging and the to and fro of it all.

And there's so much variety. Some people prefer the discipline of a schedule, some don't. It all comes down to taste in the end, or what you fancy that day, plus a certain amount of the history and rapport you have built up with any particular blogger. If you meet the blogger in real life that gets cemented a bit but at the end of the day we're all sitting alone at our computers just pumping out whatever we like. I reckon blogging is an amazing revolution in looking into the heads of other human beings. Occasionally that's going to be irritating or flat out annoying because we are human but I reckon that's part of what makes it so interesting. It's like people-watching from the comfort of your own home.

problemchildbride said...

Irish blogging is still pretty healthy I think in comparison to other countries. Far more than the Irish, British blogging popularity is a function of who knows who, or who's been at it forever, rather than the writing. There are some enormously talented British bloggers, and many of them
are represented in that top clique, but blogs like The
Fishwhacker Swindle
or Cape To Rio or Lucy Pepper are blogs that ought to have readerships in the thousands -
not the best examples actually because two of them have been on hiatus with new babies and work and whatnot recently - but they're posting again now. Go take a look at some of their archives and explain to me why they
are not some of the most popular blogs in the country. They are awesome and they are just some of many I could mention.

But in British blogland they have far less chance of the readership they deserve than in Ireland. That might be a function of the countries relative sizes, of course, but I think the Irish blogscape is far more egalitarian and more of a meritocracy, than the British one. The community seems more open to all sorts of people. I'm never going to win an Irish blog award because I'm not even frickin' Irish but this is where i choose to spend most of my blogging time because I think the irish blog atmosphere is still, overall, and with some major exceptions, the loosest, most vibrant community I've come across, and still more true to what blogging is meant to be, or of what I love about blogging anyway. It's not like this everywhere.

Awards have their place and can certainly foster community and rigourous debate, but they don't really matter, all said and done. What matters is the ideas and the to-and-fro and the spectacle of the human parade. I reckon.

Right, I'll shut my gob now.

Thriftcriminal said...

It's a fair point. I throw up any old crap that's on my mind and only occasionally get creative, but hey I'm no leading light of the community, more paddling in a rock pool somewhere. I have expanded the number of blogs I read in an effort to find ones that give me a bit of a kick, but in general it's more people like me poking at a crab somewhere. Of the most popular sites I like a couple but find some of the comments to be abhorrent (any guesses?). The major success of my endeavours in the blogging world is that I can now keep in touch with what a mate of mine from school is up to/thinking on a regular basis.

Aidan said...

That's a really interesting post indeed. I think that you have to take something important into account. Many people blog as a hobby but do not aspire to become serious writers. You have an extremely clean writing style and when I read your posts I could easily be reading a column in the Guardian (in fact you often make me think of Charlie Brooker).
Basically your blog is in a class apart along with blogs like The Red Scrapbook, Sigla and Omniglot.
You do see links to the same blogs on most Irish blogger's sites so I imagine that some of the 'link-through' blogs that you don't like are actually very popular.
The beauty of blogs is that you find your own favourites to read and ultimately if you write things that people are actually interested in then you will eventually get a following of like-minded people.
On one point I do agree with you, it is pretty boring reading stuff in Irish just about Irish. Thank God for Nós, Open Doors As Gaeilge and other initiatives where people choose to write about normal stuff in Irish.

le craic said...

Great post - can't really add a whole ton to what anyone else has said other than the status quo isn't going to change.

Thriftcriminal said...

Shit, now Aidan knows I get a kick out of reading his stuff. Must backtrack to maintain masculinity (yes I am being self deprecatory).

B said...

I'm gonna nominate this just to see if the internet will get confused and explode. Just remind me later on about it... plus I might find nominating a complaint about the award for the award entry too typical of a thing for me to do... actually I'm thinking that now so I wont nominate it, but thats exactly what I'd do after thinking so I best nominate it however...
and yes I purposely typed out each bit of the thought process to make a post equally long to all the other posts here to qualify the suitable amount of quantity for this comment section.

I'd actually like to get criticism comments, the blog's main purpose is to be some form of ideas generator. I'm trying to go out of my way to ensure my material is somewhat original.

My current opinion of this post is that it's a great, bold post... however it would be extremely insulting to nominate it as post of the month. Pointing out a wrong is fine, but nominating it for an award would be nothing more than pissing on the hard work of other people.

I definitely see that Charlie Brooker comparasion

just seen the length of the "problemchildbride" 2 part comment, I shall not compete for longest reply.

Darragh said...

I'm also going to add my congrats Rosie, well done.

As bad a writer as I am, I hope you'll (once again) indulge me...

I am sure that there are others out there who read blogs and who share my frustration at seeing excellent posts by engaging writers overlooked while lazy posts by popular writers spark their own message boards.

There's a couple of things here. No. 1 being that the Monthly Blog Awards need nominations for them to succeed. Fine, blogs may be read and admored but if they don't get nominated, how can they be recognised. There are so many blogs out there to read and to find and while I'm one of those people who will read an interesting comment on someone's blog and click through to see if the commenter has a blog (which is how I found thriftcriminal for example), this isn't the only way.

I feel like a broken record saying it but God people, if you think something is great then just do like nerdrock did with this one and nominate it for an award. Equally, the bloggers should make it easier for them to nominate it. Link to the damn spreadsheet somewhere, say "if you liked this, show it". Why not?

...the Irish blogging community is small. There is a sense of camaraderie, everyone is very nice to one another. This is not to imply that they shouldn't be...

Maybe Rosie sometimes I'm too "nice" and naive, but from the perspective of someone who's just started out, is very green and still is finding his place, two of the things I feel is that to be part of this "community" involves only two thing - 1. Blog and 2. Comment on other blogs. That's it.

Yes the community is small but it's growing, and why not help it grow? Why not say fair fucks to anyone who'll do as problemchildbride has said and "sit... alone at our computers just pumping out whatever we like" because those first lines take some courage to do. Why not appreciate that hey, some people mightn't spell as well, write as well, know how to comment or how to put pictures in, but at least they're doing it.

I've (apparently) quite quickly got myself a(n undeserved) reputation for being part of this "blogging community", but that's (I hope) because I recognise that we're all just people sharing our stories and I try and treat everyone the same. But I'm like that in person too. The honesty is what's great, which is why this post is so powerful.

You're damn right to say let's make it more about the content, but let's celebrate that content. How am I supposed to find all the good content if I never hear about it?

Finally, Rosie, to me, you are as much part of the blogging community as anyone is, because as people including nerdrock pointed out, you blog with consistent quality, humour and talent. That's why I read you consistently and why I comment. You (and others) may feel a little "in the corner" but who is putting you there? Not your readers, your commenters and your fans, and in fairness, who else do you need? Personally I'm honoured every time someone comes to the god awful attempt at blogging I make and for them to make a comment shows that I must be doing something right.

Rosie, you know I think this anyways I hope, but you fucking rock missus, you rock big time and I think you should be (more) proud of that. Your blog is fantastic, your writing style exemplary and your story one of genuine humour and talent. You've already made it, and no phone or piece of glass is going to make that point any more than the people who come here daily and read and react to what you've put down.

@backpedalbrakes - I'm going to say simply that I love the fact you come to mine sometimes, that we talk on twitter sometimes and that makes you part of my "community". I may not get to read and comment on you every day, but I know you're there and I visit when I can. :)

@nerdrock - you nailed it.

@le craic - you know, I can't agree with you A.J., and it's partly your fault - you did this and that showed that people can be celebrated and have a story, but that it's open to everyone. Look at how successful you've become in such a relatively short time.

There's no secret, no handshake, no badge and no formula needed really. We're all just doing our thing. Get involved. That's it.

problemchildbride said...

Back and squiffy. I've been blog-hopping and I'm more convinced than ever that Irish blogging is still one of the best blogscapes out there, in that it's not too large, it has some great champions - Mulley etc. -, it has shown cohesion against the likes of that John Waters numptie, the mingling and variety are still pretty good in that not everyone's trying to be GirlWithAOneTrackMind or PetiteAnglais - the amount of wannabe thems is depressing - and are just doing their own thing.

There are asshats, sure, but most people are just out to have a hobby and a platform for self-expression and exchange. The variety and the willingness of people to put something out there is what makes it so cool. Even the people who don't write well. Who said a bad writer can't blog? It's a wide open medium and is open to all, that's it's beauty.

I can find out about what a little old lady in Dorset is thinking about politics, death and even sex and be endlessly surprised that this ordinary granny is way more dry and witty and profound than some hyperbolic journalist with a professional blog somewhere. She has all this secret stuff going on in her head - as does the policeman from so and so and the teacher from such and such. Ordinary people all of a sudden seem very far from ordinary when you get a view into their heads. Having said that, the describers of their breakfast still need their spoons rammed forcibly up their nostrils, but hell, you know- maybe their Auntie Marge wants to know that shit. The beauty is, if you don't like it, you never have to go back.

You're a smashing writer, Rosie, and bold, and every bit a part of the irish blogging community than anyone else. I've met some terrific irish people through blogging and I really do think most people still adhere to the principle that one blog has every bit as much right to exist as another. It's not perfect but at least it's not the mommy-blog world of the US. Now that is one scary, bitchy-ass place.

Right, now ask me again, next week when I'm all pissed off about how the fuck someone could possibly really believe what they just typed, and I shall tell you that it's all going to hell in a hard-drive and I want to boil the noses of several people who shouldn't be allowed to blog! I might well say that, But then I'll calm down and remember it's just people and even self-righteous doofi need to have their say - it's relatively harmless after all, and I can think of at least one American blogger I know for whom blogging it all out might truly be the only thing keeping him from murdering people in a massly way. Seriously!

Anyway, I'll be reading as long as you're blogging hun - you have a very lively and enlivening way with you and can nail that in a sentence of howl or growl or glee. Keep true to yourself and your style and you'll never lack for readers.

And fuck anybody who doesn't think blogging's better for being open to all.

Poo - tootoo squiffy for this.
I shall look at this tomorrow and wonder why I have to blither arounf blogs all sloshed sounding like such a class A columbian anus.

Nihgt then.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

oops wanna be thems (Girl and petites) in the UK, I mean.

Grannymar said...

Rosie, you did not set out to offend, only to express your opinion. We all express opinions everyday and not everyone agrees with us. That is what makes the blogosphere healthy and interesting. If we do not agree with a post then we either say so and join in debate or move on, or if it is a good one we comment AND spread the word (link).

Awards are funny things, they can be frightening, put some folk under pressure to blog more often, stick to what brought them the award, OR as I have found it opened doors to meeting new wonderful people and areas for discussion that I might never have known about before.

My language skills are very limited, books were not freely available in our household when I was growing up, I was a slow learner, the words jump all over the page. I might read something three times, 1) to find the words 2) to find the sentence and 3) to get the meaning. When I started blogging a post might have been six sentences. A podcast was 2 minutes. At that stage I preferred podcasts because they hid my errors in spelling and grammar?sp. Now with the encouragement of other bloggers I am no longer afraid to commit my thoughts to the web. So long as I do not set out to offend anyone and 'speak from my heart'I am happy.

Look at the number of comments you have and no bricks through your screen. It was well worth posting about the topic. Never be afraid to tackle a subject if you feel strongly about it. The golden rule is never set out to offend anyone and speak from your heart!

Rosie said...

and you shall have it, EM. presently. i'm pleased to see that you're planning to sprint with this baton yourself. make it good. make me proud.

Catherine, i'm the one lurking behind you, chewing my hair.

thank you, Tom. i won't win, i've angered the gods (more to follow). at the last count i had 92 subscriptions in my reader (and this is after a cull) so i read a lot (and don't watch all that much telly) and like yourself, i find that some of them warrant my close attention and others i skim just to have an idea of what's out there. they're the ones that goad me into penning a post like this. you're right about links and comments being the easiest way to attract readers, it's a social medium and you have to go out there and make your friends, which is a pain in the hole. good writing will eventually attract readers though, what i'd like to do is encourage people to be more discerning in who they link to. link because it's good, not because it's popular and you're hoping for a nod back.

Sam, you are the most articulate tippler i have ever come across. well said, lady. you've given me a lot to mull over there and i shall reply to it in post form, if i may?

at a guess i'd say Twenty, Thrifty. i have mixed feelings about his blog, i think he occasionally posts some outstanding writing but a lot of his posts of late have been lacklustre and lazy, something pasted up to kick off comments and that smacks of going through the motions.

i love Charlie, Aidan. i'm going to marry him when i grow up. thank you for the favourable comparison but i think i have a very long way to go before the best of my writing comes close to the worst of his.

you're right about blogging being a pastime. it's a hobby for me, it just happens to have opened a couple of doors (like Nós*). but there has been a lot of complaining recently about how bloggers are treated by the mainstream media and EM has summed it up nicely in his comment above.

thank you, AJ, but i see no reason for the status quo not to change?

B, your comments always make me smile. are you old enough for me to buy you a pint yet? no need for nominations, but thank you for the thoght. i have angered the gods... via Damien Mulley's twitter:

"4 months on and some people are still bitter cunts for losing out at the Blog Awards. It needs to be more like the bookers and I should win."


it's unfortunate that he doesn't link to the blog to give others the chance to read something he seems to have skimmed, and failed to get the gist of. i named Mulley because i assumed he would be the most likely to take criticism in the spirit in which it was meant. confident enough to take it on he chin. it seems not.

this "bitter cunt" is disappointed.

B said...

I am old enough... just! cept I dont drink beer anymore, a pint of something like whisky would be better and cost a lot more so I'd rather that.

I know that I've linked the post in mine(whether that'll make any difference to readership or not) and darragh has done a post solely for it too.
I can only imagine it'll get tons more since this is a Saturday morning.

Thriftcriminal said...

Spot on in the guessing dept. And that response from Mulley is disproportionate. His agenda is self promotion, which is grand, he teaches others to do so successfully in their business. That's grand, it's a growth market, it just isn't what I blog for, so his site isn't really my bag. That said, he probably gets more flack (being more visible than many others) than most and perhaps has a knee jerk reaction?

Rosie said...

recognition through recommendations, Darragh, not awards.

you're right, Grannymar, which is why i posted it. how people choose to interpret it is up to them (as Mr. Mulley has demonstrated). your point about literacy and language skills is an excellent one and it's what i was alluding to when i wrote that i don't expect all good blogs to be prize pieces of literature.

alan said...

wowsers. A post which is long overdue. Good for you Rosie.

After 2 and a half years of blogging, the one thing I have learned is not how to write an actual good blog post; but rather that the Irish blogosphere IS exactly like the school playground. And just like my old playground, when I first went out to play, I might have wanted to play with the popular boys and girls, and never got the chance to, but by the end of school, I was much happier to have carved out my own section of the playground.

There are many Irish bloggers that I just don't get. Much as I know they wouldn't be particularly engaged over at my blog. Most of these are the "popular ones". I look at them and can't quite figure out what the fuss is. It's not a look of envy. Fair play dhuit if you manage to be all popular and stuff. I just sometimes can't see why it is so.

If in the blogging playground, Catherine is the girl in specs, in the corner, and you're the girl chewing hair; then I'm the awkward, lumpy gay guy with a bag full of books.

Just like real life so.

And with that, I'm comfortable.

Excellent post. I'd nominate it for these bloggy awardy things, except I don't particularly hold them in high regard.

Rhetorical question: Are you bitter you didn't win the blogger award Rosie? I think I already know the answer to that one.

Your writing speaks louder than any glass statue.

Rosie said...

he brands himself as a professional, Thrifty. he should conduct himself as one.

Rosie said...

bíonn an fhírinne searbh, Al... but you're right, i'm not bitter. i like to think i'd have more emotional intelligence than to draw this kind of attention to it if i was.

lozenge said...

honestly, i thought this was going to be a lot more vitriolic than it was - but well said, rosie.

as a recently retired blogger, yours is one of the few that i visit over and over. for the record though, why are people scared to say that they think twenty major is rubbish? it lends undue weight to the school ground analogy - are people worried that the boot boys who comment on his site are going to beat them up in second life?

Grandad said...

Great post, Rosie! I have been following the comments from the sidelines.

The comment that probably sums up my feelings is Sam's one [4th in from the top]. Blogging is a personal thing.

I don't think many of us are in it for the awards or acclaim. I know I do it for the fun of it, and that is enough for me. Winning the award in March came as a total shock, as I hadn't nominated myself, and didn't think my ramblings were up to standard anyway.

There are blogs out there that irritate the hell out of me. I won't mention names, but I avoid them like the plague, as reading them is like pouring vinegar into a rotten tooth. So I avoid them. But I am amazed when they win awards. It merely goes to demonstrate the diversity not only of the sites, but of the readers.

The majority of readers don't comment, so you would probably be surprised at how many readers you actually have. I think the response to this post may be an indication!

Paul Heron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie said...

Alan, when we go for pints in a few weeks time remind me to tell you about the last time someone said "wowsers" to me.

you'll laugh.

i've tried to keep it objective rather than vitriolic, John. i blame you, personally. if you hadn't upped and left me i don't think i'd be such a malcontent. i have no idea how many readers your blog had but my comment about excellent posts by engaging writers being overlooked was a doff of my cap to Lozenge, as well as Colm's and Disgrace's.

as for Twenty, i don't think his blog is rubbish. i think it veers between balls and brilliance. i haven't read his novel, so i can't comment on it but i did notice a worrying lack of critique amongst bloggers. i read the excerpt he posted on the blog and i thought it was shit so i didn't buy it. i like his quieter vignettes and i think he does them well, like this one. but again, that's a matter of opinion and i'm sure it wasn't that sort of post that won him his awards.

Twenty Major said...

for the record though, why are people scared to say that they think twenty major is rubbish?

Beats me, if someone thinks something is rubbish they should just say so. It really is no skin off my nose if someone I've never met thinks I'm a cunt.

it lends undue weight to the school ground analogy - are people worried that the boot boys who comment on his site are going to beat them up in second life?

That, I think, is unfair to the people who comment. Isn't it natural that regular readers and commentators would be 'up' for someone who were to come on to any site and say it was rubbish?

Example - if someone came on here and called Rosie's stuff rubbish then I would fully expect people to defend her. And they would be right to do so, in my opinion. Just as it would happen on my site. Dismissing those people as 'boot boys' is a bit childish though.

As is the suggestion that somehow popularity or the number of comments is a negative thing. Sorry Rosie but I found that a bit Indie kid, that popular = something bad. The reason I get a lot of comments is because of the longevity of the blog more than anything else. It's been around, it's got a readership, and if you look at the Irish blogs that generate the most comments it's generally those that are well established.

As for good writers and posts being overlooked then one of the great things about blogging is that you have the power to give them more readers. A post saying 'Read this, it's brilliant', sends traffic and if people like it they'll stay and read more. And come back and read more. And they'll send people and so it goes but you've got to be producing consistent and regular content to build up an audience.

i think he occasionally posts some outstanding writing but a lot of his posts of late have been lacklustre and lazy, something pasted up to kick off comments and that smacks of going through the motions.

Ok, I'll bite! What I would say about this is that the blog has been going for nearly 4 years now. There are periods when you're not as 'into' it as you are at others. That's just normal, I think.

As well as that my blog is not subject specific, so if you're a tech blogger or sports or music or arts you have a constant supply of information and material that you can use on a daily basis. I don't blog about my real life, post pictures or anything like that, so it's mostly fiction or idea based stuff. It's not always easy to produce good stuff.

I'd be the first to admit that the quality can fluctuate but at the same time it's never because of laziness or going through the motions. I do the blog because I enjoy it, if I thought i was going through the motions I'd stop straight away.

As for the blogosphere itself this is an interesing post. I wrote something vaguely similar a couple of years ago. As the scene matures it'll will splinter, that's normal.

I'm with Grandad, there are bloggers I don't like but I choose not to read them nor go down the road of going over their posts and saying 'Oh, did you see what X said in that post?!' If it's something topical then fine but I don't see the point in getting personal for the sake of it. There are plenty of other targets for me to have a go at, I just fail to see what would be constructive about me slagging off other blogs.

As I said if someone wants to have a go at me that's fine and dandy, I can understand perfectly why they might want to do that but this is only blogging at the end of the day. It's not personal and I'm not going to get upset by it. There's enough other stuff to worry about in real life.

There's definitely room for debate though, no question about it.

B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
B said...

I'm fairly sure there is some fella who comments on twentymajor.com each day saying "you're crap" or something like that.
That form of criticism is pointless, just look at the board section of any film on imdb.
Nothing wrong with just not reading them as an alternative, no need for some little war of words or whatever.

and since this post comes off a bit too serious, imagine I'm dressed up as a clown doing it.

Rosie said...

that's something i hadn't given enough consideration to, Grandad, the diversity not only of the sites, but of the readers.

i'm not blogging for awards, Paul. the point i was trying to make is that the awards could be an excellent way to award excellence in blogging but that i don't think they do that.

Rosie said...

i don't think you're a cunt, Twenty. my comments are on the blogs, not their authors. nor was i trying to imply that popular = bad. my point is that i think some of the popular ones are bad - they're bad because they're bad, not because they're popular.

no need to bite, i wasn't laying bait. it is normal that your enthusiasm for it waxes and wanes and your ability to keep it going for so long is admirable, especially given the nature of your blog. i'm merely giving my reader's perspective; it can come across sometimes that you're posting because you feel obliged to.

I don't see the point in getting personal for the sake of it.
me either. that's not what this post was about and i would sincerely regret publishing it if i thought that's how people will read it.

it was your old man post that i meant to link in the previous comment, by the way.

lozenge said...

twenty, i didn't mean to infer that everyone who comments on your blog is a boot boy - only some of them.

and i'm not wondering about a lack of a critical voice on your board, more about the lack of it elsewhere. unlike everything else online, people seemed to infer a dislike of some big irish blogs, and stop there.

until now, that is.

Twenty Major said...

i don't think you're a cunt, Twenty.

I didn't think you did, I meant it more in a general sense.

no need to bite, i wasn't laying bait.

I know, just joking.

that's not what this post was about and i would sincerely regret publishing it if i thought that's how people will read it.

That's not what I got from the post anyway. If it had been you would have named names, linked links etc.

Lozenge - fair enough, I think that comes with the territory though. You can't be too sensitive if you want to comment on the blog.

As for the critical voice I think it's all to do with how it's done. If someone wants to just say 'I think this big blog is shit' then there's not much point. If the criticisms are based on differences of opinion (politics, morals etc) then it's probably quite healthy.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Interesting entry, and comments.

For me the good thing about blogging is the choice you have as a reader, read it or don't, there's plenty out there.

I have to try and remember that people blog for different reasons, and not let it disappoint me when I read them.

All I really want from a blogger is that they don't sell themselves as something they are not.

I like identity from a blog.

MJ said...

Hats off to all. Most definitely post of the month so far in my opinion. And as a blogger, it would appear that I'm allowed to have one ;) yay blogosphere! Well Done Rosie!

Thriftcriminal said...

"he brands himself as a professional, Thrifty. he should conduct himself as one."

A very good point.

Damien said...

Always room for another awards show. Even one based on snobbery and elitism, you should do very well.

Andrew said...

Really great post, though I'm almost scared to say so now, after reading your (admittedly very true)
views on the backslapping that goes on within the Irish blogosphere. What I found strange when I firts started reading blogs and then writing my own, is that there even IS an irish blogging community. Shouldn't it really transcend borders far more than it does. Sites such as Arseblog often win Irish blogging awards, even though their subject is not Irish and nor are most of their readers. Which is how it should be. I've been banging on about Lisbon in the past couple of days, but in general I'd like to think most of my content is accessible to people form any English speaking country. Twenty is right about how the scene here will splinter, I would personally hope it turns a lot more international.

Damien said...

Forgot to add, since you are carrying the torch for transparency and actually giving your true feelings and not being a sycophant, why don't you name all the other blogs who you feel don't deserve the awards they got?

Anything else would go against the original blog post.

roosta said...

I blog for the rush of having something out there in the public domain that in the future someone will dig up and use against me. Better than crack.

Bernie Goldbach said...

There used to be a time when all Irish bloggers could fit around three tables in the Market Bar. The Irish blogging community is larger now and I doubt that most know who blog in various niches now.

I don't think the awards night is for the awards. The awards night is good for connecting people to faces and also good for making new friends. It's a shame that awards programmes often deteriorate into divisive moments because they could be so much more.

I'm looking forward to the 2009 gig in Cork because it's a new place with new faces. I'm also looking for a way to opt out of any kind of nomination because I think the field of nominations needs a whole new set of players.

Primal Sneeze said...

I missed the part where this post was all about the Blog Awards. Where was that? I thought it was purely a critique of Irish blogs and Rosie's making reference to the awards thing was merely a vehicle to illustrate her points.

From this Tweet I suspect the organiser of the Blog Awards has not read the post fully.

Rosie said...

MJ, XBox, thanks.

buy you a pint, Twenty?

it is international, Andrew, and many if not most of the ones i read regularly aren't irish. i was concentrating on the local scene very deliberately in this post - as i said, for the love of the game and because i'd like to see blogs getting the wider respect that many of them deserve.

funny, Roo. by the way, i think yourself and Katherine should totally hook up.

i thought i would enjoy the awards more than i did, Bernie. my own naivety more than anything else.

Rosie said...

thank you, Primal, you've made my point for me.

The lady who 5 judges apparently snubbed is at least preferable to bitter cunt, Damien. thank you for the link. i think you've missed the point of my post - i'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that i wasn't as clear as i could have been.

i am not aiming to be snobbish or elitist. i wrote this because i believe that irish bloggers need to engage in healthy criticism of one another's efforts (and emphatically not of one another) in order to get the respect they deserve (and demand) from the mainstream media.

i have established alternative awards for blogging based on the idea of blogging as a literary form. you may recall me approaching you, the expert, for advice?

the irish blog awards, though well-intentioned, could be so much more. i am appalled that you have reacted this way to what's nothing more than a politely, equananimously expressed opinion.

Dan Sullivan said...

It's funny you should mention the Use of Irish in a blog category as one of the assigned judges as I recall had no knowledge at all of the language. They may have been replaced after they owned up to this but maybe not. It gives you some idea of the haphazard nature of some of the judging.

I think the awards are a bit like the Oscars some winners are more flavour of the month than the stand out best of the year.

I do find it rather hilarious that we even have monthly awards at all now as when I posted about the uneven distribution
of the best post nominees I was accused of harassing nominees and informing them that they weren't entitled to their nominations.
Completely untrue, but that was mild compared to what I was accused of later on.

Damien does a huge amount of work on promoting blogging as a medium though some of that is for his own commercial benefit and more power to him for that. He is due considerable credit for the work on the blog awards but he's not above reaching down from Olympus and tilting things one way or the other in the promotion or exclusive of people as suits his fancy. And that I'm inclined to think is kind of regrettable.

Rua on the brink of death said...

I'm hangin like a hound dog so I can't actually face reading all the comments but I'd imagine there all quite, bizzarely ironically, positive-proving your point.
Most blogs are woeful in the same way that most bands(as in the majority you never here about) are also shit-most creative produce is shit. The problem with blogs is that the system for filtering out the shit ones is very much in its infancy, lots of blogs get a lot of traffic purely on the basis that their authors do nothing but comment on other peoples blogs. I know my readership is quite low, self indulgent poncing aside, because I don't read anyone elses stuff-its the way it works, if this makes sense, grammer is for pussies, more commas,,,,,,,

B said...

The comments are starting to get confusing so I'm gonna just create my own conclusions....

Basically the moral of the post is:
-You're pretty much right.
-Damien needs to step back for a second and re-think his replies. It's 100% understandable why he'd be mad with it at the moment.
-This winning post of the month would be highly insulting to the organisers, sponsors, etc
-That I comment too much, everywhere.

prenderghast said...

There are probably three or four blogs I read on a daily basis purely for the originality of their opinions and the quality of their writing. This is one of them. Problem Child Bride is another.

This doesn't mean there aren't thousands of blogs out there deserving of attention, but you won't find them - unless by chance - because you can't rely on popularity or unpopularity to be a determinant of blog quality -look at my own blog, for instance ;-)

Some blogs manage to be popular by virtue of the endearing and friendly nature of the writer, others because they're fantastic self-publicists. All you can do is stick to blogs that you like and construct your own community of like-minded souls in the process. On that score, you seem to have done a pretty good job so far, Rosie.

I met plenty of bloggers up their own arses at the blog awards, but then blog awards are bound to attract people who think that blogging is a competition. On the other hand, I met lots of bloggers there who'd turned up not to flounce around but specifically to meet other bloggers whose work they admired. For my part, meeting Sami and Bock and Sweary made the whole night worthwhile.

Blogging is a medium that lets a thousand flowers bloom. It also lets weeds like me play in the sunshine. Let's keep the garden wild.

roosta said...

funny, Roo. by the way, i think yourself and Katherine should totally hook up.

Your humble corespondent is, as they say, spoken for.

:)

on a small island said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm only kicking off in the bloggng game, and so far I gather I'm guilty of being both infrequent and mediocre. Which is why probably nobody reads my stuff anyway. But this makes me think about it more, and about writing well, which is a good thing
so thanks

Conor said...

well done on an interesting post - my first visit to to your blog too !

Your new friend ;-)
Conor

Dennis Deery said...

I can only assume that the A-listers of the Irish blogging world are lovely, lovely people because to be frank, some of them are shit-awful writers.

Rosie, you can say as many times as you'd like that "this post isn't about the bloggers, it's about the blogs", but when you start out with a full-blown insult directed solely at the writers rather than the content, it rings a little hollow. Frankly the whole post seemed to me a great desire on your part to substitute your judgement of quality for the judgement of others.

That seems to me a woeful misunderstanding about what blogs are for. In one sense, any blog is simply fulfilling a need for the author. So, whatever the content or quality, every blog succeeds at mission number one. Mission number two is to provide meaningful content for other people. Again, I would say every blog succeeds at mission number two, even if that meaningful content reaches only one person.

Now, I will admit to being a faithful reader of Mulley's. I don't always agree with him. (Don't always agree with my wife either, but hey) Bottom line though is that he provides content on a fairly regular basis that is meaningful to me as an internet professional working in Ireland.

This is my first visit to your blog. I've read through a number of posts to get a sense of it. I'll say I probably won't be back. I don't see anything here that connects with me. The writing is just fine. But it hasn't grabbed me emotionally, and it doesn't seem to provide much content that grabs me. It does seem to work for other people, and for you, so bravo.

I read a LOT of blogs - 400+ subscriptions. I read a lot of magazines, newspapers, books, etc. No matter how much I read, there's a LOT more published that I don't read. It's the nature of the beast. But I don't feel so high-and-mighty as to say that things that don't connect with me, or don't feed me emotionally, or don't provide me meaningful content, aren't worthy of awards and recognition.

That, to me, is where you totally went off the rails. You state flat out that you don't believe some of the winners at the recent awards deserve their awards. Again, you can try to make yourself feel better that it's a comment on quality, but it's not, it's a flat-out insult against individuals - the bloggers, the judges, the organizer of the awards, etc.

I'll wrap up by saying that it's perfectly fine if you want to indulge in personal insults and attacks. Just don't try to pretend that you're somehow above the fray or better than someone like Mulley when you're using the exact same methods he uses in response to your posting.

Quickroute said...

Forgive me but I'm no statistician but I calculate more than 90% of the comments (including a few winners of the blog awards) found this post to be objective, constructive and provocative in a positive way.

I interpreted from this post a message of constructive criticism of the Irish Blogging scene and the blog award selection process as a whole.

Did the rest of the nay sayers just not comment at all or could it be there's food for thought for the organisers and bloggers in general?

Thriftcriminal said...

Without feedback even the talented among us will plod slowly down into mediocrity. A challenge, often in the form of a solid kick in the nuts, is required now and then to allow our (watery) vision to settle upon new goals/perspectives. This is true in most walks of life, not just blogging.

Green Ink said...

I'm far too self-centred to read any of this.

Dennis Deery said...

Quickroute, I do hope you noticed the irony in your defense of this post? The post complains of judging the Irish blogosphere like a popularity contest. You then defend the post using the popularity contest criteria of "90% of respondents liked it." :)

73man said...

"little more than turgid regurgitations of the news with some self-righteous indignation thrown in for good measure..."

You've just managed to sum me up. Right, that's me back on the couch. Good, no a great, post and well worth needed saying.

kieran said...

I am a non-blogger, who reads a few blogs, and it is a pleasure to come across this. You have managed to express clearly an opinion that has been floating around my frontal lobe for a while, but that I don't have the ability to articulate.

There are a few blogs that I would read on a weekly or so basis. Some rely on a quirky idea, some rely on the sheer amiability of the blogger, and one or two rely on the quality of the writing. But I am finding that a quirky idea becomes irritating very quickly, amiability doesn't equate to interesting, especially if the writing is substandard, and a decent standard of writing is increasingly rare (by which I do not mean that I expect decent spelling, grammar and syntax, but that I expect it to be crafted in a way that gets across and enhances the point).

Damien Mulley's ego really puts me off, so I have only read bits and pieces. Flirtysomething can make me laugh out loud, but the humour has become way too repetitive (while ironically it is the standard of writing that really varies, and not in a good way). Twenty Major is a bit like "Itchy and Scratchy" - any one post can be hilarious, but as a concept it is a bit too slight to accommodate the volume that has been forced into it. That said, his comment above is spot-on. Jazz Biscuit and The Chancer provide amusement - they are like a focused stumbleupon for my coffee break.

Annie rocks, Una rolls (I don't even like music, but I drop in occassionally because she can seriously write), I miss Swearing Lady (she is the reason I started reading blogs), World by Storm on Cedar Lounge Revolution is the most intelligent person in Ireland, and I am so glad to have come across you this morning. I might stick around a while.

Of course all of these people are more complex than their blogs, and all of these issues are more complex than either a blog or a comment can begin to do justice to. So why am I bothering to comment?

Because you are right. And that is increasingly rare in the Irish blogosphere.

Conan Drumm said...

As yes, the Nuacht that begins with, "Tharla rud éigin beag i nGaeltacht Chíarraí inniú..." when a ferry with 800 passengers aboard has sunk with all hands in the Adriatic.

I agree with what you say. But with the caveat that there is no duty or obligation in blogging, either for the writer or the reader.

There are good writers and poor writers. And some good writers have little to say that is worth reading and some poor writers have lots to say that is worth reading.

Maybe it's like human friendships - sometimes they work although they seemingly shouldn't, just because one person gets the other when most people don't.

And naming 'good' writing - where style and content are found together - requires judgement. In the modern world (and the blogosphere) judgement and awards are unlikely companions.

jusk said...

All very interesting indeed. I'm sure you're not the first to have thought this Rosie, but I think it's great that someone has bucked the "horay for everything" trend.

Criticism is what it is. You don't have to agree with it. Criticising criticism is fine too. I don't see why someone shouldn't name and criticise popular blogs that they find to be rubbish.

Lots of us lambast dire popular music, when in many cases, the artist may have started recording to purely satisfy their own love of making music, only to be insulted and derided when they become successful. Some people more actively self-promote and strive for that mass market. That's the nature of the media. Blogging is similar, though on a different scale. The Blog Awards are no shitter than the Meteor awards I'm sure.

As soon as you publish a blog, it's public - the equivalent of publishing your novel, uploading your song to myspace, doing your comedy at a stand-up night, etc. It takes it beyond your bedroom, so to speak, and once that happens you're fair game in my book.

Haha, I said shitter.

Quickroute said...

@ Dennis Deery: I believe you misquoted me

I did not say "90% of respondents liked it."

I said 90% of the comments.. found this post to be objective, constructive and provocative"

That doesn't necessarily mean they liked it. It just means it struck a chord. Sometimes the truth hurts and while some people get the big picture, others just go on the defensive.

yasmina said...

Well said, a post like this is long overdue. Damien Mulley's reaction is way OTT but as someone else commented already he is above all about self-promotion. Damien M accusing you of elitism and snobbery is ironic to say the least.

Rosie said...

i read your post, Dan, and your comments on Alexia's blog. you both had interesting things to say.

Rua, both yourself and Jusk have made the music comparison. great minds, etc?

you're right, B. this post being considered for the monthly award would make a mockery of it, and that it not something i would not like to see happen.

you're no weed, Prender. but i appreciate what you're saying. i appreciate what all of you are saying in the comments you've posted here and i'm surprised by the huge response this post has generated - i owe special thanks to those who wrote their own posts and linked to it.

Quickie is right in that the majority of the comments here are positive, but Alexia made a good point in her post that many of those commenting here are regular readers and more likely to be favourable. this in no way diminishes their comments, but i have to take into account that there may be many more who've read it and chosen not to say anything because they disagree, or because they find what i've written offensive.

Dennis, this post was in no way intended as a flat-out insult against individuals and i really resent that you read it as such. however, that's your perogative as a reader and not something i can have much influence over. your opinion is as valid and as valuable to the debate as everyone else's here but i infer from your remark about 400+ subscriptions that you think mine might not be quite as valid or valuable as your own. this, frankly, insults my intelligence. this piece was not something i posted on a whim, having given it little thought.

this is not about my blog vs. Damien's. i would not expect my content to hold universal appeal but nor would I expect Damien's, which was my point. i think i expressed this fairly, as an opinion; i don't find it interesting, it leaves me cold. i sense that i could continue with this until i'm blue in the face and make no difference to your opinion of me and my motives, i'm going to resign myself to that.

thank you for the comments, folks. i'm reluctant to say much more on the topic for the moment - i feel i have explained both myself and my motivations as articulately as i am able to right now. i stuck my head over the parapet in posting it and the temptation to hide under the desk for a while now is sore.

Dennis Deery said...

I can only assume that the A-listers of the Irish blogging world are lovely, lovely people because to be frank, some of them are shit-awful writers.

Pretty much speaks for itself Rosie. I don't think it was a stretch to take that as an insult against Irish bloggers.

You on the other hand took quite a leap to think that I was saying your opinion isn't valid. I re-read my post and I don't think I implied anything of the sort. I'm sorry you felt that I did, it was not my intent.

mentasms said...

As a non-regular reader, well done, I agree fully!

Manuel said...

Crikey........! You miss out reading for a couple of days n shit hits the fan......well said Rosie......I'm off to get an editor.......hehehehe

Adam said...

Well, just to throw in my bit, I've only been blogging for a few months and there are blogs I love and blogs I read regularly and hate regularly.
I write because I enjoy it and sometimes I hope to raise a laugh. As a blogger, of course I want people to read but to be honest my manifesto has not been to produce high quality journalism or writing(I'm a journalist by profession so I keep the blog fairly loose and light). There is definitely alot of back-slapping going on but that's fine - there are clearly bloggers who are friends (and lovers), they know each other well and that shows. I like a variety of different things from the blogs I read, from personal stuff to music to humour and so on. There is plenty of room for 'serious' blogging and other forms. I've formed little bloggy relationships through comments and the like and I'm glad I did. And I would love to win awards for anything and everything but that is never the reason for writing. Also, i look forward to getting through alot of blogs that I haven't seen before from this string of comments(Except backpedalbrakes, I've read hers and enjoyed it. Hi backpedalbrakes.)

OneForTheRoad said...

Shit blogs rule.

UnaRocks said...

"comments are favourable to the point of sycophancy" - I have to say, this really isn't my experience at all.

But maybe I'm just really annoying, or something.

davey said...

Being part of the Irish blogging community sounds incredibly complicated Rosie. Luckily, the unich blogging community is incredibly small so we can't really afford the time the naval gaze. We're just pleased we have navals.

As for me, I'm pro-proliferate. Let's say my auntie chose to stop blogging -- I'd have no pictures or updates from my nephews back in Australia. Being quite sensitive and shy, I'm really not sure how she'd respond to a harshly worded criticism of her writing talents, however justified the author may think they were.

roosta said...

Shit blogs are the new good blogs.

Jay said...

Rosie - I'm all for constructive criticism and it is certainly a first for the self congratulatory blogging scene that exists in Ireland. Well done.
That said, I think that the comments directed at Mulley were nasty and personal - to imply that people only visit his blog out of a sense of duty is just insulting - do you have some personal axe to grind with him? His reaction was understandable.

Fergal said...

I always approach blogs as a reader, not as a blogger. The communinty thing is fine so far as it goes, but I'm after good writing, and you're quite right that there's fuck all of of it in Irish blogs. As to my own blog, it's always been primarily about writing to me. I don't feel the need to throw up links or youtubes in order to have regular posts. If I haven't anything I feel like writing about, I don't. That won't win you blog awards, because things like regularity of posting are considered. This isn't a complaint, it's the nature of the medium. For most bloggers, blogging is a social phenomenon rather than about writing. The Blog awards are not writing awards. I know of a few winners who haven't mastered Junior Cert level writing, but I wouldn't say they didn't deserve to win, because they probably did very well in fulfilling the non-writing criteria

Mark said...

OK - things I don't like:-

1. Misplaced arrogance - e.g. setting ones-self up as a literary critic.
One of the problems of the internet is that it gives people of little talent an outlet (and yes, I do know that nobody is forced to read it.) But to indulge in literary criticism when you write sentences like 'There are an awful lot of people out there who need to get themselves a good editor, or whose blogs need a harsh fucking review.' (more correctly 'fucking harsh review' - Ed) is just laughable.

2. People who claim not to be making personal attacks and then do just that.
It's all very well to say that 'this is intended as a critique of the blogs themselves, and not of the bloggers'. Phrases like 'shit awful writers' and 'Perhaps linking to his blog is how people show their appreciation?' ARE personal. If I were Damien Mullally or Irishflirtysomething I would definately be feeling that I had been personally attacked. I actually think Damien's response was a) mild and b) witty. Seems to have gone over your head unfortunately.

Finally I wouldn't be getting too excited by the fact that most of those posting here are in favour of your rant - by definition they are a self-selecting, non-representative sample.

Fergal said...

Please, please explain why "fucking harsh review" is somehow better writing than "harsh fucking review". I'm sure the explanation will be even funnier than the original comment.

Coming right after your remarks about people setting themselves up as literary critics, this is either (a) fucking hypocritical and hilarious or (b) hilarious and fucking hypocritical

copernicus said...

Who is Damian Mullally?


I think Mark is confused about split infinitives. I hope he does explain.

Mark said...

For those who need it - an explanation:-

Reviews (being inanimate) cannot fuck - hence the 'fucking' was obviously meant to apply to the 'harsh' and hence should have preceeded it.
It is in order to avoid bad syntax like that making it into print that editors are employed.

Sorry Copernicus - I've checked my post - three infinitives; none of them split. Perhaps you don't know what an infinitive is ???

davey said...

Can you guys come to my next dinner party? There are some people I really want to bore the crap out of.

:P

Fergal said...

Thank you Mark, that was everything I dared hope for, and more. The Irish Times does indeed hire editors precisely in order ensure the "fucking harsh/harsh fucking" rule is observed. Also, I believe Strunk & White's Elements of Style has a whole chapter on how to appropriately capitalise "shitbag"

Spag Hoop said...

My my - what a rant this is! Why so personal?? I'm a newbie to the blogosphere and I have to say, reading them has enriched my thoughts and laughometer. They reassure me at times that our land still produces fine wit, observers and word-masters. That is true freedom my friends. Books enrich my thoughts as well - but that doesn't mean that one author I revere such as CS Lewis would approve of, say, Roddy Doyle's linguistic talents. Plus some entries are so long and boring ...but aren't Mondays in the office - whereas Friday afternoons can be a hoot?? Grow up guys! Flirty - I adore your blog but wished you hadn't reacted to your unfair criticism! Grandad your posts are the humble rumble that make me chuckle every day. Twenty your stuff can be hilarious or an annoying rant. Rosie - fine words and thoughts but blogging is not a Leaving Cert subject. I blog privately - to get stuff off me chest. They are but public / private diaries. Speaking freely will always encompass pure bullshit. And at 3am after Mulligans, Rons, Cafe en Sin, the wine bottle or wherever after a few scoops that's probably the only level some of us are able to digest. It's great to give awards to those that match work with talent - but watch them egos lads.....watch dem egos

copernicus said...

Nice one Mark. I am well aware of what an infinitive is - and that they can't be split en anglais (which you obviously don't understand). I wasn't referring to the "infinitives" which you so diligently checked, but to your hatstand confusion about the military adjective.

Your explanation is hilarious. A good time was had by all who read it.

roosta said...

You can put "fucking" infront of any word you like, we're Irish for fuck sake!

Mark said...

Roosta / Copernicus / Fergal

Of course you can put 'fucking' anywhere you fucking well please - I couldn't care less. My point (which you missed?) was simply that if you are going to slag off others and opinion that they need an editors firm hand then your syntax and expression should be above reproach - which is very obviously not the case. People in glass houses etc.........


Bored now - won't be back.

copernicus said...

The point which we didn't miss, Mark, was that you failed to identify a genuine syntactical error. Tragically for your MO, mere assertion does not count as logical, coherent proof.

I love the "bored now, won't be back". It's the internets equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and screwing your eyes shut. Hardly the stuff of a comprehensive triumph of logic. It's the lies we tell ourselves that do for us in the end.

If only you had a blog! We have been starved of such a playmate since Richard Waghorne pulled on his combat boots and took the Queen's shilling.

copernicus said...

PS - the inanimate object explanation ought to go down in history. Sourced straight from Fowler's no doubt.

If only it weren't 80 comments down, it would achieve the fame it so richly deserves.

Fergal said...

"Bored now - won't be back."

But we were all having such fun!

Mark said...

I'd hate to spoil your fun lads so I'm back. And you are right Copernicus about the 'fingers in the ears' bit so here I am for the moment.

You are obviously far more versed in English grammar than I - I've never even heard of Fowler. I still think tho that my point was valid -if she's going to set herself up as judge and jury then she should be beyond reproach. And that she definately ain't ???

And I do think tho' that we have somewhat exhausted the thread by now - no? Surprised mind you that no-one gave out to me for using 'opinion' as a verb.

Cheers.

Fergal said...

Brilliant. Take a seat while we laugh at you a bit more. Normally, when I tease people for leaving comment threads they have enough self-respect not to rise to the bait and come scurrying back. Not you though!

To get back to the point you attempted to make, it was that one shouldn't opine (or should it be "opinion"?) on the quality of other's writing unless one's own is above reproach. Firstly, that's not true. We have a right to criticise irrespective of our own talents. Secondly, even accepting that argument, you were unable to apply it to Rosie's post. The only error you could point to was "harsh fucking", in a comment that still brings back happy memories for me. What made it extra special was that you were guilty of exactly the same crime that you erroneously accused Rosie of.

emordino said...

> if she's going to set herself up as judge and jury then she should be beyond reproach.

I hear the Pope is secretly in charge of handing out Oscars.

copernicus said...

She was certainly beyond your ability to reproach her. The whole point was that you talked a load of made-up bollocks!

conortje said...

Well holy god - look at all this - I go away for a few days and the most exciting thing to happen for months in blogs occurs!

I am also baffled by the popularity of some Irish blogs too but I have that with music, tv programmes, books etc also I have my own specific taste and sometimes forget that not everyone agrees. Blogging is such a personal thing that I feel one can't get too bogged down in it. To judge one against another is pointless as they are all written for different reasons in different ways. That is why an idea like The Blog Awards is so difficult. For me, I simply don't read those that I don't like.

That said criticism is often healthy and a quality kick up the backside can only prove useful. I believe that was your aim here. Certainly nutritious food for thought.

Twenty Major said...

The whole point was that you talked a load of made-up bollocks!

He needs to start a blog.

Wierdo said...

Hia. Thanks for your comment on my blog. You shouldn't feel like running and hiding under the table - it's good that you say theses things. In my tipsy state I felt the need to answer the blog (trust me I'm suffering for it this morning!) and hence the blog!

Green Ink said...

This is still going on? She's on holiday for fuck's sake. Or is that on holiday she's fuck's for sake? Oh now you've got me confused.

Inanimate objects can be really good fucks actually.

Blog Bloke said...

Kick ass girl! Love it. Glad to see that I'm not the only shit disturber out there.

The Blogosphere is Rigged

Cheers!

...BB

Mark said...

I'd forgotten all about this - then come back for a look and find those two gits are still having a go. So lads if you're still checking in:-

1. Fergal - my aren't we the self righteous one and arbitrer of all good taste? Normally people just bow down in the face of your obviously superior intellect do they? Sorry for being not knowing my place and 'scurrying back' instead. Kinda damned if I do and damned if I don't ain't I??

As to the 'point' - I did actually point out a grammatical error in a sentence decrying such mistakes by others. If that doesn't at least strike you as amusing then you are even thicker than I thought.

2. Copernicus - last para above applies to you. You're not worth a response of your own.

Quickroute said...

Will you lads get a room for jaezuz sake! Better still yiz ought to start your own joint blog and carry this tiff forward. It's like Zig and Zag and Dustin the Turkey on crack! Hilarious

Keep it up!

C'mon now - lets make the magic #100 comment mark!

copernicus said...

Hey Mark. You pointed out what you thought was a grammatical error, but you don't know anything about grammar so you got it wrong. And yet you seem to have had a massive sense of humour failure about the fact that your barely literate comment charging grammatical errors against a post which didn't contain any as a way of mocking that post's condemnation of poor writing elsewhere was hilarious.

You fucking dolt.

Mark said...

Dearly Beloved Copernicus,

Like anyone with a reasonable education I do know about grammar. I just wouldn’t have the temerity to usurp your position as self appointed resident expert.

‘Barely literate?’ Bit harsh perhaps? I managed to get my point across reasonably well – you certainly seemed to get it by the vigour of your response. And her post did have quite a few grammatical errors – I just happened to point out one of them.

My father always told me that once someone starts using personal insults then you are winning the argument. Reckon he got that right.

Mark said...

Oh, and ......

Now that we are at the level of personal insults I really am bowing out. Not 'fingers in my ears' - just a pointless waste of time trying to communicate with you.

You are more than welcome to the last word you are so determined to have.

copernicus said...

*smacks forehead.

You. Did. Not. Point. Out. A. Genuine. Mistake.

If your monumental obtuseness is a familial trait, you may need to consider whether your Dad might have misinterpreted the invective directed at him.

narocroc said...

No Blog Gods or Grammar Pedants were hurt in the making of this post. Well maybe.

Anonymous said...

Never a truer word said (in relation to blogs in Irish talking about Irish) , same is true with Lá Nua I find ...

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