I’m sorry, is that sharing too much information? You see, it’s you my literally countless cyber friends, with cute screen names like JabbaDaHut29601, KirksOtherSon, Lithium129, and so many others, who read my multitude of ramblings scattered around the Net, to whom I feel I can reveal my most intimate moments. I could never make such a casual announcement among most of my “in real life” (IRL) friends, because that would be considered rude, or too much information (TMI). It’s just so hard to know where to draw the line.
The phenomenon of such cathartic revelation has reached its crest with the most wonderful creation of the blog, that’s blog not blob, the cyber version of the personal diary or journal. It has opened up the soul of the daily or weekly or less frequently journal keeper, freeing them to reveal themselves in an almost exhibitionistic display of literary release letting forth their inner Anne Frank, Hunter S. Thompson, and Jack Kerouac to fill the void that we know as cyber with every, and I do mean every, intimate detail of their sometimes mundane beyond mundane lives.
Now I have to admit I surf the web daily, like the Big Kahuna of Gidget fame, in search of the ultimate web site. Alright, so most of my surfing takes me to strange and erotic, um, I mean, exotic places that without the Net I otherwise would not know existed. Scattered in between these cyber ports of call are little islands of distraction filling the backwaters of the web.
Much like a cyber Vasco de Gamo, I set forth my daily venture into the realm of nonexistent existence exploring every venue that leads me further from my own tiresome and dreary routine into adventure, excitement and voyeurism. Like the song goes, “in another dimension, with voyeuristic intention, well secluded, I see all.”
But it’s not like I’m invading the privacy of these brave cyber pioneers like Fluffy Bunny Slippers, Dave’s Van ‘O Pleasure, TM13769 or Betty Lou’s New Shoes, because they welcome strangers with the innocence of pre-9/11 children. To these hardy souls a cyber stranger is still just a friend they have yet to meet, and not a judging, bitter and boring co-worker or family member to whom they wouldn’t give the time of day let alone reveal their favorite personal bondage moment during a night of wild passion with their significant other or group of IRL friends.
Thanks to the many archipelagos of Internet communities in the cyber seas, such as LiveJournal, DeadJournal, and Blog Spot to name a few, one can surf from site to site searching each oasis by common interests or keywords, like pirates of old used to do for buried treasure. Granted keywords like Sex, Porn, Lesbians, and Leather Daddies can still lead you to the most seemingly innocent of web ramblings, specific keyword searches don’t always reward the true cyber explorer with the treasures they seek.
There is just something enthralling about stumbling upon a new blog and reading the most revealing details of a stranger’s life. Now not all blogs are filled with the most titillating details of a businessman’s most recent company paid trip to Duluth where he spent a wild evening in his motel room playing strip poker on a web cam. Some blogs are straightforward forums for socially conscious web surfers. Blogs like Americasblog is dedicated to the truth from the gay liberal viewpoint, and is also a harbor for orchid enthusiasts. There are many such blogs, and all one has to do is follow the links a blogger places on their site and they can discover a hidden world of cyber exhibitionists.
Now I’m not talking about people who post revealing photos of them, although there are blogs specifically dedicated to such activities or so I’ve been told, but the true blogger who does not write for an audience but for his or her self. These are journals that truly reveal human nature, and the sometimes naïve attitude that what one writes in cyberspace stays in cyberspace. After all, the Internet is the public information super highway.
How much of our lives are really worth the cyberspace it takes to post about them? Does revealing personal grooming habits constitute TMI, or even real interest? Is it better or worse than proselytizing for or against an act of violence labeled as war? Is it worthy of a web surfer’s time to read about flossing teeth, or skydiving naked over the Grand Canyon?
It’s always fun to surf into a journal obviously written from the perspective of the old fashion private diary. You know what I mean? “Dear Diary, Mom was a complete b-i-zitch today. She made me go to school, and then forced me to go to Aunt Helen’s wake this evening, as if I even liked Aunt Helen.”
Others are less adolescent, but still just as revealing. “My boss is an ass. I hate him. He must die to preserve the purity of society.” Or, “I blew off work and spent a great afternoon in bed with my girlfriend, and then came home to my wife. Why won’t she divorce me and set me free to be with the one I really love?” If the boss or wife happens to stumble across that one, freedom from oppression will rain down upon him.
It is so entertaining to come across a journal where the author is only beginning to realize that even an entry marked private can be hacked into if a knowledgeable web pirate with enough curiosity happens along. I won’t even venture to mention the government spying that is taking place, because if a journal is being kept on-line I don’t consider it a private record. It’s not like an FBI or CIA agent has to go rooting around in someone’s bedroom, under their mattress, to discover a little book with a lock on it. Blogs are out there waiting to be read. That, to me, is their whole purpose.
The issue of what is or isn’t appropriate to post in a journal is subjective. Each journal entry is ultimately judged by its author based on the morality of said author. While it’s nice for “society” to think that as a body it has a shared sense of morality, the truth is every individual has a different sense of morality. What to reveal in a blog depends on what we are willing to reveal about ourselves. Do we feel a need to reveal our hygiene habits, or frequency of bathroom visits during a given period and what we do in the bathroom during those visits? Apparently so.
Not only do bathroom habits preoccupy a large portion of many blogs I’ve surfed, but so do eating habits. It seems some folks need to let the world know they binge before purging, which I think falls under bathroom habits, but also they feel the need to describe in explicit detail what food they scarf down before said purging, as if to let the world know they can eat whatever they want because a moment on the lips won’t last forever on the hips.
As if barfing habits aren’t enough, some bloggers insist on drearily detailing every moment of work that makes up their dull day. Pink Floyd told us to take away the moments that make up a dull day, but these bloggers haven’t seemed to heed that good advice.
So why do I read such exhibitionistic web writings if I speak with such condescension of the revelations of the masses? I can’t honestly say I know why I’m fascinated by what others do with their days or their pubic hair. There is just something so beautiful about people who have the personal sense of freedom to talk about everything and anything that happens in their lives, no matter how dull I may find some of it.
Does this mean it’s wrong to reveal yourself in such a public way? Hell no. If you’re surfing the web and come across something that is offensive to your sensibilities, much like television you have the right to surf on to the next site. Check out Martha Stewart’s latest revelations on life after lock up, it doesn’t matter. Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder, or should be, and it shouldn’t be censored by anyone other than the beholder.
Is regulation of the last earthly frontier necessary? No.
If anything the Internet as a tool of entertainment is here to stay, but like any tool it needs to be used responsibly. Alas this, like everything else in society, is where it hits the fan. However, there are blogs dedicated to the subject of the pros and cons of Internet regulation. I’m just here to inform my dear, dear cyber friends that, to quote Russ Carr, there’s nothing like a freshly shorn scrotum.
Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.
ABOUT ROBERT A. MELOS
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8.17.05 @ 10:16a
It's breathtaking; you really must try it.
8.17.05 @ 10:37a
Heh. You quoted Russ.
I think the boards here are about as close as I get to "blogging." Otherwise I can't say I have enough stuff going on that people would care.
But I do know a few blogs at which people discuss ideas 'n such. Those are interesting, to say the least.
8.17.05 @ 5:51p
If anyone actually reads my Live Journal, they deserve what they get.
Sadly, it's usually my shopping list.
8.17.05 @ 6:35p
Alas my Live Journal is mostly the quote of the day from the New York Times with a few sentences about how I feel. And of course the advertisement for whatever I've written on Intrepid Media.