Blogging is terribly narcissistic, isn’t it? In essence, it’s just somebody saying ‘Here are my thoughts. They are interesting enough for you to spend some of your finite life reading them.’ I’m disgusted at myself for having blogged for so long. Why the sudden crisis? This video blog, or ‘vlog’:
My internet experience has a new hate figure and his name is BlondeyDude, Cornwall local radio DJ extraordinaire. Thanks to his Dad’s iPhone, he can bring us his grinning idiot stream of consciousness in its full unedited glory. Except instead of taking us on a Joycean voyage into his psyche, he subjects us to syllable after syllable of self-important bollocks. This is probably a good time to take a moment and show you his logo:
Presumably he’s never heard of editing, considering how the first minute and fifteen seconds have him wandering round saying that he has nothing to talk about– it could almost be a Beckett play. He seems to think he’s actually doing us a disservice when he doesn’t post a daily vlog. Honestly mate, it’s fine. In fact, take the whole month off. Or your whole life, even.
This next video was like something out of The Office. Here we have him responding to someone who called him a douche via the magic of Youtube comments. The moment where he realises his detractor has more followers than him is hilarious. The timing is unintentional perfection:
He puts himself forward as a reluctant blogger, dragging himself to do these out of some begrudging sense of public service. Then he tells us how his pieces aren’t scripted. Because his art requires spontaneity and we deserve to hear every thought that materialises behind that unnerving smile.
As you do when you’re on the internet, I decided to make myself angry by watching more of the videos. Below is the very first vlog. His Batman Begins, if you will. We see the moment when he decided to improve the world by broadcasting his thoughts to the world. (It was halfway through filling up the dishwasher, in case you were wondering.) He also bemoans the fact that he has an older generation iPod touch, before branching into that timeless dilemma of existentialism: does one get an iPhone 4 or do I wait for the iPhone 5? Then he reveals what is written on his hand. And finally we have him trying to induce motion sickness by quickly bringing the iPhone to his face and back out again.
SHUT UP. JUST SHUT UP. SHUT THE FUCK UP. SHUT UP SHUT UP FUCKING SHUT UP.
Right. Okay. I’m calm now.
Here’s a more coherent analysis. At the back of my mind, a voice is telling me that I’m no better than BlondeyDude. I don’t hate him, as such. I hate what he represents. And by no means is he the only person doing this on Youtube, I only stumbled on him after watching the superb Masterchef Synesthesia on Youtube. There’s a whole army of people shoving their vacuous vlogs down their ADSL lines. I’m convinced that the pinnacle of this medium will come when someone holds a Dyson nozzle to their phone socket and aims it at Youtube.
For a long time, the internet was hailed as that magical place where a captive audience was just dying to read your every word, and listen to your every thought, regardless of quality. But of course this wasn’t the case. People aren’t going to be around forever. Why would they want to hear the ramblings of a stranger who doesn’t have anything interesting to say? Even though the captive e-audience turned out to be a myth, you still get this sort of thing coming out of the woodwork. Another obscure blogger to join the rank and file, polluting the web with unfiltered bollocks. Just like me.
When I was really scraping the barrel, I even wanted to criticise him for swearing too much. Who does he think he is? Does he think swearing makes him all cool and edgy? Then I remembered that I swear far too often as well, usually for the same effect.
Even as I write this reflection, it gets littered with ‘I’ and ‘me’. For all my self-deprecation, I can’t deny the self-importance that lies at the heart of any blog. ‘OOH LIAM, THAT’S A REALLY INTERESTING THOUGHT,’ says my ego, ‘I’M SURE ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS WOULD LOVE TO READ THAT!’ That’s why I let myself get so wound up by him. I wasn’t able to think of a single criticism that I couldn’t just as easily level at myself. Familiarity breeds contempt.
But at least I’ve never done a video blog, I suppose. That’s what separates me from the animals.