January 31st, 2012 / 3:47 pm

Is it the fall of the roman empire for litblogs? Has the empire already fallen? When did it fall?


  1. Helen

      Surely you need to have conquered a large swath of the world before you can have an empire to lose? Lit blogs haven’t brought straight roads and indoor plumbing to enough people yet to qualify. 

  2. christopher.

      Is HTMLG having an existential meltdown? How are you not yourself?

  3. Frank Hinton

      what is this referencing? 

  4. Melissa Broder

      a vision quest

  5. Scott Riley Irvine

      Yes. Yes. And yesterday.

  6. Katie Smither

      Postmodernism is a motherf**ker, eh.  Building an empire while analyzing all the ways in which it is, in fact, not built, will never be built, will always be faulty, reminding ourselves we’re not THAT sincere about building, but we kind of are, but were never stupidly sincere because sincerity doesn’t even exist.  And neither does the internet.  But it does, it’s just so ephemeral…and therefore appealing.  Like empires… I’m going to go drink a plastic Pepsi and toast to the fall.

  7. Brian M

      I love that movie

  8. marshall mallicoat

      blogs are here to stay

  9. deadgod

      Irony Attends The Foundation of Empire

      The ancient Christians were animated by a contempt for their recent existence, and by a just confidence of immortality, of which the doubtful and imperfect faith of modern ages cannot give us any adequate notion.  In the primitive church, the influence of truth was very powerfully strengthened by an opinion, which, however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity, has not been found agreeable to experience.  It was universally believed, that the end of the world, and the kingdom of Heaven, were at hand.  […]  The revolution of seventeen centuries has instructed us not to press too closely the mysterious language of prophecy and revelation, but as long as, for wise purposes, this error was permitted to subsist in the church, it was productive of the most salutary effects on the faith and practice of Christians, who lived in the awful expectation of that moment when the globe itself, and all the various race of mankind, should tremble at the appearance of their divine judge.

      The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch.XV

  10. A D Jameson

      The Empire never ended.

  11. barry graham

      deadgod… hmmmm. you sound like you live in new jersey. yes?

      p.s. litblogs were never the roman empire. maybe a good fast food franchise meeting its demise. but not even that really. 

  12. shaun gannon

      litblogs will never die so long as there is a phmadore to inhabit them

  13. shaun gannon

      uh oh

  14. deadgod

      barry graham… hmmmm. you sound like you’re a brand platform. why?

      p.s. gibbon was never a roman emperor. maybe a roller of big cigars, whipping concupiscent curds. but empire is an intermezzo of seem.

  15. Katie Smither

      ha ha ooooh, citation win.  

  16. barry graham

      you nailed it… and only on the first try.  indeed. absolutely from jersey. 

  17. deadgod

      Have you heard of something called ‘postmodernism’? or that it’s win/win to call something you naughtily enjoy “plastic”?

  18. deadgod

      “nailed it” = ‘high-five + fumbled handshake’

  19. barry graham

      postmodernism is the crumbling empire. 

  20. deadgod

      I agree–a permanent, permanently crumbling empire.  I also think that everything is “postmodern”.  Postmodern thinkers make of postmodernity an Everything Idea (or constellation of ideas, strategies, apparatuses).  –which is a pleasure and a strength, but also threatens to be a bore and a weakness.

      I think premodernity, modernity, and postmodernity always co-exist in political-economic and cultural history, one or a pair or the three dominant at any moment.

      I also think that ‘rise, flourish, and decline’ is a process that’s always happening, and that ’empire, imperialism, imperialist’ are WAY over-diagnosed.

      What’s up with “Jersey”?  I’ve been there – it’s just another place.  Okay, a northeastern/shore place, pretty similar to, say, Rhode Island.  Am I wrong?  What’s the connotation you’re referring to?

  21. barry graham

      you’re close. i was thinking a fist pump. 

  22. barry graham

      oh, the new jersey thing. it was directed at a friend of mine from jersey. all he talks of is the roman empire. all the time. and i know he reads htmlgiant, so after i posted the comment i told him to read it so we could laugh. that is all. your comments are good stuff. 

  23. barry graham

      also, jersey is technically mid-atlantic

  24. Katie Smither

      i was using “postmodernism” irresponsibly purposefully.  which sounds like bullshit, but is true, as it is difficult to convey such a thing when commenting on the internet, being only half-invested in commenting and the internet.  : )  i think an idea like “postmodernism” is as stylish, ill-directed, and abused a notion as, let’s say, worrying about whether or not lit blogs are alive, dead, or falling over might be.  especially if one is writing on a lit blog. 

      avoiding the crux of the matter.  meta.  or surface.  ya know?and plastic is just the new concrete.  shit is everywhere.  long live Rome and imperialist innovation.

  25. deadgod

      the roman republic/empire long wave is an ocean of stories

      gibbon’s book is sometimes a lot of sly, snarky fun (“which […] has not been found agreeable to experience”, from above) and a great example of encyclopaedic narrative

      I can recommend most highly – maybe your friend does, too – ronald syme for an angry take on the transition from roman republic to empire–one which we Americans might, eh, study

      I think of Jersey as part of a larger community stretching northward from, say, Philly to Boston, and far less culturally connected to, say, Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk, Charleston/Savannah–but okay, “mid-atlantic”

  26. deadgod

      ha ha ha

      michael chang or kobe bryant

  27. Anonymous

      What’s your definition of a litblog?

      Personal litblogs are mostly dead.  Some remain large and strong.  Sam Pink comes to mind.

      The emergence of the litjournal (hey htmlg!) is when I noticed the decrease in blogs.  The motivation behind blogging is the culprit, I think.

      I met Jimmy Chen’s face about a year ago.  We talked shit like people do.  One part of the conversation stuck with me.  It went something like this:

      JD: How’s your writing doing?

      JC: Good.

      JD: You’re writing for HTMLG and some other journal now, right?

      JC: Yeah, Thought Catalog.

      JD: Why do you waste your time with these journals?  Your writing is too good.  Just keep your personal blog and write.

      JC: Thought Catalog gets 10,000 views a day.  I want that type of readership.

      JD: But those aren’t your readers.  They are just readers.

      JC: I don’t care.  They are readers.

      At this particular point, I lost a moderate amount of enthusiasm for Jimmy’s existence.  Then I remembered value systems differ, and I shouldn’t be so judgmental.  Soon after we were shirtless and wearing my heart-shaped glasses as a show of brodarity.

      I think many writers carry the same view as Jimmy and simply want a large readership.  A big, faceless readership to buckshot dried shit at, hoping a large enough percentage enjoy the taste and ask for more.  I guess?

      One of the main benefits of maintaining a personal blog is creation and maintenance of relationships between author/reader and/or author/author.

      Authentic relationships are nonexistent within the boundaries of a litjournal by design.

      Or were you referencing places like HTMLG?

      I don’t know much about the scene these days.  Of course journals will fall, or become parody over time.  Is it happening now?  No clue.

      A litjournal is like harvesting electricity from cockroaches to fuel a one-man rocket ship.

      Feel the drain.