“Why are you writing a blog?” asked a correspondent who, as they say in the papers these days, was speaking on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
It has come to my attention that this is a common perception.
Okay, all those who think this is a blog raise your hands?
Well, you’re wrong.
Holy algorithm! Imagine accusing me, of all people, writing an accursed blog! How insulting can you get?
It is regrettable that after performing this public service of writing thousands of words denouncing the Plantation School of Writing, as practiced in the slave labor camps called “blog sites” (See “Throw Another Blog on the Fire,” Parts I-VIII), it comes to this! What an irony it would be using a blog to fight the institution of blogging.
I am not writing a blog now, nor have I ever consciously written a blog.
I don’t even read them (a belated thank you to all who sent me copies of favorite blogs, ever since mentioning in TABOTF, Part VII that I might be considering becoming the world’s first critic of blogs, and I assure you they went unread. Life is too short.)
Well, then, is this an anti-blog? No. What would happen if everybody who felt guilty about writing for blog sites in search of fame, but no fortune, decided they were really hidden anti-bloggers? It would create chaos up there in the stratosphere, troposphere, or whichever sphere blogs are carried as they made their appointed rounds.
Okay, Kitman, then WTF? Why are you wasting your time with these seemingly endless jeremiads against writing for free when you could be writing for all the popular mass media digital outlets that don’t pay?
Like Truman Capote, who invented a new art form called the “non-fiction novel,” and everything else, as critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt has noted, I have invented a new form of communication, something completely different, which I call “the letter” (Pat. Pending).
Letter writing is in decline today, like most things in western civilization. Within the next five years, it will become extinct.
Actually, the decline began on May 24, 1844. An obscure writer named Samuel F. B. Morse launched a revolution in communication with those immortal words: …—… Telegram writing was the first truly American contribution to belles lettres. Telegrams trimmed the deadwood out of the language, while engaging emotions more directly than a letter, which could go on and on, or a sonnet. It also saved lot of trees, with the ancillary reduction in paper consumption.
Telegram writing required more discipline than writing haiku. Haiku writers must say everything in seventeen syllables. The telegram, as an art form, demanded that the writer use only fifteen words, Western Union’s basic telegram rate. Thus, telegram writing was even richer in hidden meanings, subtleties and symbolism.
All the trendy people sent wires. For example, when Robert Benchley arrived in Venice for the first time, he wired his travel agent, Niven Travel, in Hollywood:
STREETS FULL OF WATER STOP PLEASE ADVISE STOP
The invention of airmail and long distance telephoning made the telegram obsolete, as Marshall McLuhan may have written. Eventually, telegrams were dreaded. It usually meant bad news, such as a death on the battlefield.
In the old days everybody also wrote letters. It became a vestigial organ of communication in the late Twentieth Century with the invention of emails. Nobody had time to write letters anymore with all the time spent on emails, not to mention texting and tweeting on Twitter, the telegram of its day. Email today is a chatterbox compared to the 145-character tweet. A long proper email today not only can make a reader doze off, but is indicative of a writer having trouble writing his book, play or even sonnet.
But I digress.
The distribution system I plan to use for the dissemination of these so-called letters was pioneered by Benjamin Franklin, the founding media mogul who invented the Post Office as a method of increasing circulation of his newspapers. Like the email, tweet, Facebook posting and other behind the curve mediums, the letter-writing craze I propose to revive, also uses the airwaves for distribution in several ways. It is sent directly to the occupant or resident of this site, like a newspaper thrown on to the front porch or condo door via The Internet. It is fast, cheap, headache –free, although it possibly does contribute to ozone pollution and acid rain. If you prefer it can be delivered by an alternate method, say a forerunner of FedEx, the carrier pigeon, which also uses the airwaves.
The letters, as I call them, are written by hand on a computer and mailed directly to the above resident or occupant, on a need to know basis, hot off the wire, so to speak.
Congratulations! You have made the cut.
I realize this first of the all-new Kitman Letters explaining how the system works may be a little short on the technology side. Keep in mind that the writer is the sort of person who still can’t believe it’s possible to hold a piece of plastic in your hand while standing on the corner downtown in a Northern New Jersey town and reach somebody in Portland, Oregon or Maida Vale, London, without a wire.
I also realize some may insist I am writing a blog, whatever I call it. “You’re teetering on the edge while simultaneously skating on thin ice,” writes Doubting Larry of Santa Monica. “You have created a Madisonian Wall of Separation by writing on one subject, but it could break down as soon as you get to your other passion, the epic collapse of the Pittsburgh Pirates.”
In short, the skeptics say, it’s just semantics. Well, I have never been accused of being anti-semantics.
To hell with the naysayers.
Neither snow nor rain nor hail nor tempting offers to write for free elsewhere in the digital domain can slow this writer’s deliveries of his continuing comments on the evils of a society where the lunatics seem to have taken over the asylum.
Circulation is limited to the first 50,000+ likes or hates. Already it is on the verge of FOMO status (“Fear of Missing Out”, in Digitalk). Should a recipient no longer wish to receive these letters, he can opt out. No hard feelings.
A personal note:
What did I expect to achieve from this pro bono crusade? Not much. Maybe planting a few doubts in the professional writing community here or there.
Do I deserve a statue for being the first to blame The Internet for destroying the living of writers? No. Furthermore, I plan to donate all the money I earn from denouncing writing without compensation towards the building of the Tomb of the Unknown Blogger.
And what do I think my reward will be? It will be enough to be recognized as the Poet Laureate of the Luddites.
I always like to end these articles, or particles, or letters, on a positive note. Since I can’t think of any right now, I will quote another resident of the Great State of New Jersey.
“I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction,” said my neighbor Albert Einstein of Princeton. “The world will have a generation of idiots.”