April 1, 2002
Hello, I'm Greg Knauss, and welcome to the next stop on the "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard" virtual book tour. I have bad news, though... it's over. I can't sustain this anymore. I knew by the second day that promoting this "book" and doing the whole tour thing had played itself out. And I hate to quit before we've accomplished our goal, but at least we've made a dent. So yes, I'll admit it: There is no "Rainy Day Fun and Games for Toddler and Total Bastard". There's no "So New Media".
I had conspired, of course, with Ben Brown. Our collective opinion was already well-documented: Weblogs are both not a valid form of expression and my ass. Now there was only one thing we could do. We had to end them. Weblogs must be destroyed.
But how? If left to their own devices, they'd probably get the job done eventually. There's a natural limit to the amount of deeply insular navel-gazing obviousness that any "art" form can sustain. The only way to expedite the end of weblogs was to give them even more of the crap that threatened them. What was the most boring, universal, tiresome excuse for content possible?
We brainstormed. It was impossible to recreate the experience of a travel slideshow in a darkened basement, no matter which PowerPoint template we used. Actual kitty photos would have seemed ironic, or worse, cute. That only left one option: I would have to prattle on about how adorable my kids are. This was clearly the nadir of self-absorbtion and irrelevancy.
A plan started forming. The easy part was finding sites to corrupt. Even picking among the most popular or well-written sites there was still such a shameless willingness to whore out space and bandwidth in exchange for hipster cred and a respite, however brief, from their own mind-numbing tedium that we were able to map out a formidable list in minutes. Credit where it's due, it was entirely Ben's suggestion that we only visit a few sites, knowing that our selective tour stops would inevitably spark another stupid A-list discussion, bringing the End of Weblogs that much closer.
There was a psychological element to the battle, too. The entire effort would convince the webloggerati that their sites were meaningless since they weren't printed on paper. The tone was important, suggesting that somehow eod.com was legitimized by being bound and sold at a cheap price. But of course, if that were the route to legitimacy, friends, I'd have arrived long ago. A recurring implication that non-purchase somehow meant the reader was against kids and/or humor guaranteed maximal success in overcoming the cynicism of the webloggers to our message.
With mindless content and endless circle-jerking in-jokery attended to, a final element was needed. Subversion of the proudly anti-capitalist tendencies of the webloggers. Obvious hypocrisy by the authors would be the final blow to the weblog scourge.
And off it went. Viral marketing, truly. Mental judo. Neatly inverting the traits of the weblogs to bring about their own destruction. But I've grown tired, friends. The stress of worrying about being found out. The tensions with Ben over splitting the money once the card numbers go through. Trying to keep down the bile and rage that come bubbling up every time I think of the hell of being trapped with one's spawn for the rest of this unnatural life. It's too much, and I'm done.