Nobody's Read Everything
January 30, 2010
I'm going to be offline for a little while (some would say that last rant of mine was a sign I should have gone offline a bit sooner) so I thought I'd leave you with some good sites to check out that you may not have been enjoying.
- Dan C's Lost Garden. Though nominally about gaming (particularly Flash gaming), it's among the most consistently thought-provoking tech-oriented blogs that I read. Every idea of his is one I want to steal, and nothing exemplifies that pattern more than his recent work on Ribbon Hero.
- Sleevage. Album covers, one at a time. Single-topic blogs run by passionate individuals (instead of paid blog barfers) are still among the best sites on the web. This one is a perfect example.
- Modcult. Though I am Jeb's number one fanboy, I will begrudgingly concede that all of the authors of this venerable group blog are awesome curators.
- Mixtape Maestro. Probably the single music blog that comes closest to my own fixations on the production end of pop; I miss its erstwhile spinoff 90s R&B Junkie (the archive is still online), but this is one of those few sites where I try to read every single post and feel let down if I miss one.
- RC3. Rafe Colburn is living proof that some folks really hone their craft at blogging after being at it for a decade.
And then, two newcomers, from a genre I'm dubbing "Under a Rock" blogs:
- Hobbited, where my friend Natalie is mirthfully blogging her way through her first-ever reading of Tolkien's classic The Hobbit.
- Tellywonk, where Anna Pickard is documenting her first viewing of Lost, by trudging through every episode.
Both of those last two blogs touch on a recurrent fixation of mine, the myth of the cultural canon. No matter how ostensibly ubiquitous or universal a particular work of art is, no matter how frequently it's referenced or alluded to in culture, the majority of people have probably never seen it.
My friend Meg told me the other night that, as an early-to-bed morning person, she's never really seen an episode of a late night talk show. I would love to read a blog of her watching an episode of each of the major shows, documenting the things that seem remarkable or bizarre. I've toyed with the idea of blogging my way through playing Beatles Rock Band, since I've never actually listened to any Beatles album all the way through and only know their work from its pop culture ubiquity. This, despite my love of pop music in general. (I first heard "Eleanor Rigby" from Aretha Franklin, "Norwegian Wood" from P.M. Dawn, "We Can Work It Out" from Stevie Wonder, and probably have more examples like that than I can count.)
Inevitably, people react to that revelation from me with something between shock and dismay, often evolving into disgust or revulsion. But it doesn't much bother me; There's lots of culture that I haven't gotten around to participating in. I've never been to an opera, either.
What I'm curious about, though, is how people who are fairly culturally literate and very well-educated respond to works that pervade culture. Under a Rock blogs are great for showing how ideas percolate through the media world, and how those ideas are imperfectly absorbed.
So, confess: What have you never seen, heard, or read?