Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Monday, September 26, 2005

Public awareness of blogging and bloggers is rapidly rising. On "The West Wing" last night, the presidential candidate was introduced to one of his staffers designated a "blogging consultant" with no further explanation, clearly assuming that the TV audience knew what blogging is. I wish I did.

I read today's Huffington Post, which says right at the top that it's a blog. I'm not so sure. What it is is a collection of articles and anecdotes evidencing a running diatribe against the Bush-Cheney administration and all right wing political and philosophical spokespeople. This is hardly surprising with Arianna Huffington' name on the heading. She's such a California Zsa Zsa. All this acerbic, unbalanced ranting keeps moving my basically liberal life view farther right. I agree that we have an administration characterized by mediocrity, rigidity, and frighteningly poor decision-making. I just wish our side would combat this with logic and reason, or better yet concrete action, rather than tilting at windmills. What good does it do to call the windmill names?

This is not, however, why this is not a blog. Huffington simply does not meet many of the criteria that we have established (maybe) for qualification as a blog. This is not a "personal opinion", it's a collection of personal opinions. There is no insight into an "authorial voice", merely a cacophany of diffuse sound, unified only by herd instinct. Also it's lacking in the kind of self-correcting interactivity, which might save it from tilting all the way to inanity. A meme could never start from this , there's no hope of credibility. Platonic dialogue? Not even a distant wisp.

McE's use of terms like "riff" and referrences to famous pop composers like Gershwin made a personal connection for me between music (both creating and listening) and blogging. To understand this , I need to give a brief history of my musical experience.

At age 12, I was sent to Danbury to take lessons (piano) from Emil Buzaid, a Big Band musician who had played for 15 years with Xavier Cugat. You can see him in old movies if you can take your eyes off of Abbe Lane. Emil realized that my pubescent interest in girls and my more developed fascination with a variety of sports was not going to leave me time to run scales all day and immerse myself in Mozart and Brahms. He therefore decided to take advantage of my above-average "ear" and teach me chord theory, to understand and create the nuances of harmonies that permeate and enhance modern day pop music. Thus, I play music with little skill but a great deal of sound cohesion. My piano is an 88 string guitar. I bought a "fake book" when I was 12(illegal, then) which gives you the chord, the lyric, and the melody and allows you to "fake it " from there. Soon thereafter, I began playing in a pick-up band, and wrote a song which actually became popular. Iplayed professionally (sort of -anyway I got paid). To this day I spend many hours
a week playing and writing music.
So why is that like blogging? 'Cause it's the same process. First, they are both individual creative processes, with a decidedly personal "authorial" voice. Secondly, I'm always aware of , and playing to, an audience I'm trying to make feel and react, even if I'm playing or writing by myself. Third, I always intend my work to be interactive, in music searching for my audience to join in or at least applaud, and I guess I hope for the same when I write a blog.
The advantage of playing music this way is that even if I play a song a hundred times I'll never play it the same way twice. This forces my mind to continuously create new combinations and thoughts, the way a good blog should sound . Personal, individual, thought-provoking,emotionally reactive and productive.

Enough again. Later.


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