“I Hate Your Blog, I Don’t Know Why”

Some of your friends who don’t exactly say it but mean it nevertheless remind you of people who are quite at home with stray dogs but cannot stand your pet-dogs. Why this strange-sounding simile? Well, on social-media discussions, the same people, would quote from little known, pedestrian authors and indeed from recirculated internet stuff that goes by the misnomer of ‘knowledge’, but readily ignore your well researched essay. There must be some psychology, some reasons behind this secret hatred for blogs. Let me examine some of these.

1. Mujhe Bhi Kuchh Kehna Hai (I too have something to say). In an essay titled ‘All Photographers And Writers, No Viewers And Readers’, I brought out that the biggest two techno-social changes that have affected our lives in the last decade or so are that everyone is a photographer and everyone can write and instantly publish. Hence, there is nothing unique or extraordinary about anyone who writes or clicks pictures. Lets take the latter first; if someone puts up pictures of his family trip to London, you can put up pictures of your trip to Rio. “London is really a destination where people used to go in the last century; it is time that these commoners now learn to go to more exotic locales. But, frankly, they don’t have it in them; for them, London is still abroad“. Now, let’s get to writing blogs: “What’s so special about what he has written? I don’t have time, else, I could have written ten such articles and with better English and humour”. If you ever visit largest Indian Blogging site Indiblogger, you will discover that they maintain a ranking of blogs dependant upon people voting for blog posts. And who are the people who vote? Well, other bloggers. Everyone, therefore, follows the tenet: ‘You scratch my back, I scratch yours‘.

2. Ghar Ki Murgi Dal Barabar (Home-grown chicken is worth (lowly) dal (cereal) only). Ah, the time when we used to read the brilliant stuff of really intelligent men and women in newspapers and magazines. Somehow the stuff that the boy or the girl next door writes does not sound that erudite or good. It is almost like discovering your son paints as good as Picasso or Rembrandt! How can that be? Yes, we want social media revolution to change governance in the country, our surroundings, world politics and community religion. However, our next door blogger doesn’t have the calibre to take on anything even close to it. In any case, having heard and read him a few times, we already have good knowledge of what he/she is going to say.

(Carton courtesy: allthingslearning.wordpress.com)
(Carton courtesy: allthingslearning.wordpress.com)

3. Quantity Has Made Quality Suffer. You can gather all kinds of arguments to support your theory. One of them is that delightful cuisine cannot be made for millions. Yes, blue jeans was an invention that changed the way masses dressed and really well to do people spent their lifetime. thereafter, in Levis. However, you cannot go to a gourmet dinner dressed in blue jeans, can you? Naturally, as seen by you since you make all the arguments to suit your bias, quality has certainly suffered now that everyone who has Internet can publish. In the words of the Urdu poet:

Barbad gulistaan karne ko to ek hi ullu kaafi tha,
Yahan..har shaakh pe ullu baitha hai anjam-e-gulistan kya hoga?

(For destroying the wonderful garden, even one owl is sufficient,
Here there is an owl on each branch, wonder what would happen to the garden?)

4. I Know The Author Well; He/She Can’t Write For Nuts. Whilst with the author in a novel, newspaper or periodical there was no personal linkages, more often than not, with a blogger, you are one to one. Hence, your mind works overtime to remember how he was a nincompoop when you were with him in school or college or elsewhere. He couldn’t make a sentence in English properly. Then there is another bigger problem, which is, that one reads so that one can quote in good company. People are taken aback when you suddenly quote a verse of Coleridge or some other quote of say, Tolstoy. But, imagine trying to impress a company by saying that your friend, the blogger wrote it. Naturally, you can’t even impress people by quoting him/her. Perhaps, if it makes a lot of sense, you can say Vikram Seth said it! In any case, who would have read all that Seth wrote?

5. Who Has The Time? The race for time is similar to Mumbai traffic or for that matter traffic in any other Indian city. Once, when a motorist overtook me in very slow moving traffic, by hook or crook, and I came parallel to him at the next traffic lights, I lowered my window and asked him, “भाई साहिब, मान लो आप मुझसे दो तीन मिनट पहले अपने ठिकाने पर पहुँच जाओगे; पर उस दो तीन मिनट में आप करने क्या वाले हैं?” (Brother, supposing that you reach your destination two or three minutes ahead of me; but, what exactly are you going to do in those two or three minutes). He laughed and laughed and said, “क्या करें? आदत पढ़ गयी है?” (What to do? It has become a habit). The same people who complain about lack of time spend hours solving the Sudoku.

6. He Is Only Promoting His Blog. In a way, unless you believe in literary masturbation, you write so that people would read. You don’t make any money writing your blog; however, they make it look like as if blogs are similar to prostitution in which you woo your clients by selling your body and soul. Recently, I had this experience when a friend used these exact words to win an argument that he was otherwise trying to win through profanity.

(Cartoon courtesy: paintermommy.com)
(Cartoon courtesy: paintermommy.com)

7. I Can’t Be Forced Into Reading Anything; I Choose To Read What I Want To. For heavens sake, our choices over a period of time are dwindling. With the onslaught of advertisements, we don’t ever have a choice of what we buy and use; we don’t have a choice in government making even though we vote election after election: many of us don’t have a choice of partner for life,and so on. At least, let me exercise choice in reading what I want to read rather than being forced to read something sent by a friend.

8. Why Can’t He Write ‘Short-and-Sweet’? Most highly popular blogs have just a picture or two or a quote or a paragraph of recirculated stuff. People immediately identify with such stuff. Such stuff also meets the demands of some of the reasons that I have given above, especially lack of time. A few years ago I started a number of groups on Facebook on various themes ranging from ‘Laugh With The Punjabis‘ and ‘Humour In And Out Of Uniform‘ to ‘Yaad Kiya Dil Ne‘ (a group for sharing music) and ‘Main Shayar To Nahin‘ (a group for sharing poetry). I insisted that people would write as per the theme of the group, write original, and steer clear of posting greetings, religious messages, political messages, and other such nonsense. I wrote my experiences in an essay titled: ‘Want To Start A Facebook Group? Have A Reality Check‘. Soon, all groups on Facebook become Friends Circles wherein everything and anything is posted. No one reads serious poetry either written by friends or by recognised poets, for example. People are happy to write, like and comment on such gibberish as:

जब तुम्हारी याद आती है तो बहुत दर्द होता है,
जब दर्द होता है तो तुम्हारी याद आती हैI

This is short and sweet. I accessed this site and found this s & s piece had 453 likes and 117 comments.

There you are: I have tried to find reasons as to why blogs are hated and disliked. If you are a blogger and you have some other reasons to add, please go ahead and share in the comments.

'It's so refreshing to meet someone who doesn't blog.' (Cartoon courtesy: jantoo.com)
(Cartoon courtesy: jantoo.com)

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