Monday, October 03, 2005

Porking the zeitgeist

About the time I began Shatter, I read this old piece by Bruce Sterling, wherein he explains why his blogging days were numbered: To my mind, blogging is like stand-up comedy — it's a performance art. In that line of biz, you should always do your best to scamper off the boards while they still want more. No, I'm not thinking of calling it quits. I'm merely reflecting how very weird this business is, and how Sterling's assessment is right on the money. We're all a bunch of stand-up comics. Some of you folks are channeling Steve Martin, while the rest of us are getting booed out of Open Mike Night at the Y. What makes a humor blog outrageously successful? Tapping into the zeitgeist, that's the conventional wisdom. Not only does the blogger offer his audience something they can't find elsewhere, but also, they believe they want this 'something' desperately. Whether they really need it or not is beside the point. Did anyone really need Wonkette's below-the-Beltway gossip? No. But it felt so good. Yeah, it's about entertainment, and there are as many ways to entertain people as there are people. Nevertheless, it seems to me that the humor which really sizzles is the stuff that not only taps the zeitgeist but gives it a thorough all-night porking. Take this remixed movie trailer to The Shining (which I plugged a few days ago, but y'all were sleeping): it works because it riffs off the rigidly formulaic style which seems to possess all movie trailers these days. Unless you've never been to a theater or watched trailers on television, you'll recognize the satire. And if you're familiar with The Shining, the joke is complete. Maybe this is a tough gig for me because I don't watch network TV, nor do I watch the videos on MTV (do they even show videos, still?) or listen to pop music on the radio. Between rentals and going to the theater, we probably see less than twelve movies a year. And so I'd love to be porking the zeitgeist, but hey, the zeitgeist and me, we don't have much to talk about these days. That's why I need to win the lottery: so I can quit my day job and do nothing but go to the movies, watch TV, read People, scratch my ass, and write the funny stuff. Oh . . . and, by the way? Just thought you ought to know that I'm Bikini Bettie.
You're Bikini Bettie, you love being warm and
cheery. Hanging out with your friends is great
because your so fun to be around!

Which Bettie Page Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla D.


Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Doug, the American politics and sometimes TV, showbiz and stuff ones are the jokes I'm most likely to miss, because while I get the big picture of the US politics, I don't know the details.

As for TV and stuff - we do get a lot here, but I'm not a TV and movie person.

Thus, the jokes I like best are the ones from your life, spider porn etc. and those universal enough for a European to get. But I'd never stop reading a good blog just because a few jokes escape me.

I seem to have a similar problem with my Travel Diary entries, these never get a reply, and I'm afraid they're too educational. I'll have to think about that.

10/04/2005 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

hey, I think of it as a big conversation. This might by why my numbers aren't great, not that I check them. They get sent to me every week. I've learned the folly of looking at numbers too often.

10/04/2005 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Gabriele, now I see my calling: an international audience! Forget the Amerrrkns. Kate: I'm a slave to numbers. It's the type A personality thing.

10/04/2005 06:00:00 PM  

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