Saturday, March 29, 2008

If Sisyphus had been a blogger

For the last week or so I've spent a couple of hours a day working on restoring the archive of blogposts from the upscrewed old Reluctant Blogger site, which lived from November, 2006, through February, 2008. Working backwards through the archives, I'm now done through August, 2007. Nine months to go and we'll have a baby.

The work isn't hard, but it's time-consuming. Is it worth the sweat?

Let's face it: Yesterday's blogposts are even more useless than yesterday's newspapers. You can't wrap fish or line birdcages with them.

The world has changed. No longer do popular newspaper columnists reissue their old stuff in new books every few years. They never sold well anyway, except for Mike Royko's collections. (Today it's the rare journalism student who has heard of him.)

And have you ever known of a blogger's posts being reprinted in book form? Why should they be, when they're available for free as Internet archives?

Anyway, I suspect that after a week or so nobody rereads the work of bloggers. This stuff is utterly evanescent; people want the new, not the old.

So why do I do it?

Ego -- sheer, simple, naked, pathetic ego. Like every other aging midlist writer who despairs of ever making the breakthrough into literary or popular fame, I dream of posthumous discovery. Maybe I'll achieve immortality like Herman Melville, who went largely unappreciated until long after his death.

If that happens, then scholars with nothing better to do will pick over my notes, letters, clippings, jottings, manuscripts and blogposts for insights into my genius, if there was any.

And so I labor for an unknown afterlife. Whether there actually is one I will leave to the dog-collared shamans to quarrel over. I'll find out soon enough. And when that happens I'll be beyond caring.


  1. The New York Times thinks some old columns are worth resurrecting and has done so today:

  2. It IS a great piece -- Russell Baker was one of the nonpareils of columny.

    But it is dated: the reference to Mario Cuomo probably would escape anyone under 30 years old.

    And the last line about sparing the reader "the Bush-Brown-Clinton farrago" really needs explaining after 16 years.

    Bush I, sure. Clinton I, sure. But Brown? Gordon Brown, the British prime minister? L.D. Brown, the state trooper who blew the whistle on Clinton I's dalliances as governor of Arkansas? Or Jerry Brown, the California governor and thorn in Clinton I's side? It was Jerry, but I had to look it up.

  3. Why not pick out a top ten list of your blog posts and put them in the sidebar?

  4. That's an idea, Karen. Thanks for mentioning it.