The Internet: Serious Business
The image is facetious, but I think we – you and me and everyone we don’t know – are onto something. The internet’s constraints and agilities are being used in wonderful and inventive ways. I’ve noticed writers and editors either reappropriating online aesthetics or its practical functions. Here are three examples that kind of show a spirit to this point:
I. Mark Baumer’s everydayyeah will post a 365 word story this year, running one word at a time. He chose Jesse Ball, who just published The Way Through Doors. [Blake Butler’s review forthcoming in The Believer, April.] One simply could not ‘distribute’ or publish in this form without the easy accessibility of the internet, made more so with the advent of RSS feeds and Google reader. Baumer seems obsessed with finding beauty in the redundancies of every day. True, it will take a devoted fan to check in every day, but let’s compromise: how about every week? We might even learn something about Ball’s structure.
II. Jillian Clark’s brilliant poem (haiku?) untitled under her “so i go in alone” blog post, wherein the entire poem is comprised of wikipedia picture captions.
an okapi cleaning its muzzle with its tongue
an okapi at bristol zoo cleans itself
okapi at chester zoo
an okapi reaches for some leaves
Of course, one could have taken these lines from pre-web encyclopedias, but there’s something very nonchalant and ‘cut and paste’ about its tone. Wikipedia is the place for questionable truths, whose authors seek the very same legitimacy as ‘online writers’ are prone to do; this bipolarity with print is notable and downright fun. Now every one can google ‘okapi,’ find the wikipedia entry, and compare notes. Ms. Clark is young Basho.
III. Bloggers have been posting gmail chat (or any form of IM) ‘interviews’ and conversations for a while, and Muumuu House seems to be making efforts to institutionalize this as a viable medium/aesthetic even further, by publishing them next to ‘real’ works of ‘conscious’ writing. Tao Lin (editor) may or may not be leading the discourse a certian rhetorical way (I lean towards the latter), but he seems to be encouraging a hyper-realism full of [sics] and a ‘lazy typing vernacular’ that evokes the same ‘leaps of mind’ as the stream of consciouness folks (Joyce, Woolf, et al.) In a world where every writer wants to write how people talk, why not just publish what they said? And who needs an apostrophe when its so obvious?
Serious business people. Show those wifi-less farmer’s what 2009 looks like and go http:// their house. And if you can’t catch the pun, you’re no fun. That’s right folks, I kicked ass in 4th grade english.