Tuesday, 20 May 2008


“The Blog Post In Which I Try To Pick A Fight With Will Self“.

This - the above - is a powerful and fast-paced post, a clean prose style and a vibrant vocabulary. It may just go down in blogger history as the post in which Richard Madeley elevated the Appreciation Society from its long accepted and somewhat repetitive status as the ever dependable, to being the leading male star of the A and topmost brackets.

His is pulsating, protean language; toyed with, reinvigorated and creatively distorted by someone who speaks it every day.

So what is it about Madeley that retains such loquacity in an age when “the way an author rumbles and tussles with synonyms, and the élan with which he executes any series of clauses” has been overtaken by the disjointed staccato of the internet blogger?

The weblog has all the properties of a world gone wrong. Its characters live in a bestiary. They have all the facts and all the answers, but they are little people who have forgotten how to dream. Indeed, what is surprising is the high proportion of those without a marked aptitude for any particular vocation who think of blogging as a panacea. Occasionally dandified or sinuous, often debilitating and tasteless, sometimes overblown or purple, or just downright badly conceived and overwritten. And if they do have some useful propositions now and then, they do not rest until they have asphyxiated them in torrents of pointless sophistry and adolescent cleverness.

Then there is that section without past and without purpose. A generation that has no dreams left to offer, who admire the art of creative writing itself rather than writing about things that have actual significance, and who are embarrassed by any sentiment other than disenchantment. And now take The Lumber Room. Here's contradistinction. Commendably terse, illustrative, and just this side of reiterative, Elberry’s problems are much deeper than literary exertion. For what both his purposeful prose and his satirical diatribes display is a commendable absence of cant and sentimentality.

The Moonshine Memoranda are commendable only in the personal sense, and intelligent perhaps only in the sense of a constant and breathless effort to find significance in things than other people have ignored. In truth, Selena’s problems are far too distanced and uninvolved to be of popular concern. Everything happens by proxy. Unless, of course, one determines that Miss Dreamy tends to swamp a palatable topic with turgid, sinuous prose. Which, purportedly, happened when I reviewed Baroque in Hackney. Miss Baroque’s weblog experiments with socio-political themes, albeit that the experimentation remains parenthetical, and never succeeds in redeeming its topic in any significant way. Her criticism of unpopular personalities is not based on the sort of research that could ever legitimise a critical expose.

Bryan & Nige at Thought Experiments are best acknowledged, perhaps, as an example of their own indefatigable skill in locating and satisfying a topical demand. And thus they massage the paws and the fawning admiration of their trophy sycophants. McCabism? Physics, yes! But philosophy, you feel, has never really been Gordon’s first love. In Abstentia Out is at worst intellectually insecure, at best by someone who has said too much and thought too little. Nourishing Obscurity? A general, all-purpose primer for people who don't like to read; a designer’s triumph of photographic content over literary style.

Mutleythedog? He’s my nomination for comedian of the cyber-year - and for Crufts! Admittedly, for anyone concerned with general mental health, the growth of smutty fiction is alarming. No doubt. But Mutley is in no sense of the word an intentional pornographer, he’s just got a dirty mind. And that's the difference between a champ and a chump.

So am I a philistine? The answer is yes, of course I am. I’m still into Wordsworth and Milton. But you’ve been a gracious audience, and I am going clubbing. Thank God for that...



Anonymous said...

Well I am still up for a shag - by the way I have 'googled' Will Self and he does not seem worth the trouble to me. Thats all - I do not worry about ideas more than that. I have some new Electric Lime nail varnish should you be interested and 4 orange Bacardi breezers with reduced sugar... shall I run a bath?

Selena Dreamy said...

Ok, Mutley, lets run with that...Bacardi breezers
are truly a weakness of mine...

Andrew K said...

Trophy sycophants? That would presumably entail posting regularly with fawning comments. You'll struggle hard to locate such comments by my intellectually insecure self at the site, since I very rarely visit the site for starters, & feel anything but sycophantic feelings towards the good host either. At best I have thought too little, though since you apparently struggle with concepts like what sycophancy might involve, with precious little thought I recommend you go fuck your definitely high-brow and certainly very high maintenance self.

Selena Dreamy said...

“struggle with concepts like what sycophancy might involve”

“concepts of (sic) what sycophancy might involve,” would have been preferable - grammatically - Andrew.

Nor is intellectual insecurity necessarily insuperable. And considering that my own theory of it was purely subjective, I was rather hopeful that you might disprove it. Or did I claim that you were rude, ill-tempered, and plagued by self-doubt? But then, perhaps, we were both mistaken...

But either way, both you and I are fascinated by the ontological aspects of the mind and I look forward very much to future successful discussions...