i’ve been blogging for about 7 years now – a staggering and unholy fact. This is my third blog: the first actually began in autumn 2004 and fizzled quickly out as every post was a tediously hate-filled rant about my awful boss and my awful job; i began another blog in July 2005 at the suggestion of a brainless but charming gay temp colleague, who said “you could write, like, a really interesting blog because you’re, like, really cynical and sarcastic.” i found a style which didn’t bore me; perhaps this was to do with my growing acceptance of my fate, that most people have jobs they hate and i was really no different, just more damaged by it because less accustomed to prolonged tedium and bullying.
This blog had almost no readers about the first 6 months – even friends couldn’t be bothered reading it. It wasn’t i think very different to what i write now, but most of my friends don’t use the internet or don’t read anything except manga or action thrillers; my life is short on manga, action, or thrills. Misery, destitution, suffering, woe, brutality, mutilation, distress, dismay, agony, pangs of agony, anguish, occasional angst, illness, insanity, torpor, bleak disillusion, hopelessness, dread, despair, asthma, exhaustion, futility, dreariness, hippy scum, rage, poverty, parrots, yes, action no.
i didn’t have internet access at home, was too closely observed to blog at work, and the local, almost totally bookless library was full of kids playing computer games and screaming in Albanian or Urdu, so i only wrote every few weeks. i had no other writing projects and found some satisfaction in taking a moment from my worthless existence and forming it into a blog post. The formation of structure interested me, how i could begin with two moments (leaving 50 pence in the coffee machine when i was dirt broke, and spilling coffee all over my kitchen worktop) and, from these, a structure would emerge, and something beyond the events – a principle or an atmosphere.
Since no one read my blog, i just wrote to please myself. This was when, through reading the Grumpy Old Bookman, i realised i would never be published, never be able to escape minimum wage data entry except through death (or TEFL, as it later transpired). i remember being quite excited when my blog gathered more readers, in spring 2006; but then i realised it would never lead to anything and so just continued writing to amuse myself.
Unfortunately, having more readers meant more comments and while most were reasonable enough, every week there would be some anonymous drive-by abuse, or a regular angrily taking issue with me for holding a different opinion, or weighing pompously in with their trivial, witless ideas (all accompanied by a jabbing-a-finger-at-my-chest-and-sneering tone, the boundless self-confidence of the ignorant). Soon, these kinds of comments came every day as two people i knew in real life started stalking me: both seemed to think each post was a personal communication, one leaving enormous, meandering, self-congratulatory comments which i stopped reading, the other leaving snide jeers and putdowns. Then there were the stalkers i didn’t even know in real life, for example a stunted academic from the University of British Columbia, who seemed to conceive a sexualised hatred of me and felt a need to leave almost daily comments calling me gay, then accusing me of writing “unpleasant right-wing rants”, of being insane, an idiot, a cunt etc. etc. For all the pointless, ineffectual vitriol of the comments – i’m not offended if someone i’ve never met tells me i’m gay – the raw hostility and persistence was disturbing, and in the end i just disabled comments altogether.
My two real-life stalkers were unusual but the basic fault – the misprision that i write to please and flatter and entertain my readers – this is strangely prevalent. Many other comments made no sense unless one assumed i was writing specifically to please the commentators, that they had paid or otherwise done me a great service, and i was on my knees trying to mollify and amuse them. Thus, perhaps, their rage when i wrote something displeasing unto their eyes.
It wasn’t just the psychos, almost all my regular commentators at some point left a “how dare you write this, you fucker, I paid you to entertain me and pander to my beliefs and ego, what the fuck is this shit?” kind of comment. i believe this is partly down to narcissism and egomania, partly something to do with the internet. Perhaps because computers are expensive, and internet access is expensive, and both are advertised as forms of entertainment, people mistakenly suppose that everything on the internet is there to flatter and amuse them.
i deleted my last blog after receiving a venomous comment from a reader i had wrongly thought a friend. i felt so shocked by the malice and nastiness that i didn’t want to write any more, then didn’t want such people to read anything i write, past or otherwise; so i deleted it.
i disabled comments on this blog in the first few weeks after the stunted academic started spewing more of his sexualised hatred; and this turned out for the best.
A few weeks ago, my manga-reading friend the Viking justified staring at a cashier’s tits in the supermarket: “I was not looking at her tits. I was looking at her name badge. I wanted to know her name for later use. I assumed that if she was wearing a badge it was so people could read it. So I read it. It just so happened to be positioned over her tits. She shouldn’t have worn a name badge if she didn’t want people to read it. I presume if something is written, it is intended to be read.”
This is an interesting idea. i think with the exception of emails, Facebook posts, and text messages, i don’t write anything so others can read it. i just write to clarify things to myself. Before i began blogging i kept a paper & ink journal and still do, for the things i wouldn’t expose to vermin. This blog is merely a way for me to make some things clearer to myself; and i place it here, without advertisements, so if people find it by chance, and want to read it they can. i can imagine my stalkers sneering that this is narcissistic of me, that i think i’m so special, or “precious”; but since i don’t advertise my blog anywhere, you wouldn’t find it without looking for it – and so i don’t see i need apologise, any more than i will apologise to these people for existing. It may be that my existence is a mistake, and certainly i do not belong in their world; but i don’t see how i impinge upon or disturb theirs, unless they choose it.