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Blogging – A further exercise in futility…

March 4, 2010

I realise that using a blog to point out the futilities of blogging has more than just a hint of irony within it. So, before I continue, please don’t email me to berate me for it (funnily enough, I’ll go on to explain why I don’t think anyone will be berating me for it).

Anyway, unless you’re “famous”, why would anybody blog? As an example I’ll use Stephen Fry – a man who has spoken of his addiction to Twitter and is also a man I admire. Stephen Fry writes his thoughts on Twitter confident in the knowledge that he’s loved by many people nation wide. As he writes, he knows that thousands of people around the world will be logging onto his blog to check up on what one of their favourite TV personalities is thinking or doing. Mr Fry knows that the words he types will have, in some minor way at least, a positive or negative effect on a few hundred people.

If everyone wrote their blogs in this sort of knowledge, then I’d understand the pleasure gained from it. The truth is however, that the majority of bloggers (including myself) are only famous when looking into a mirror. Why would anybody regularly read Joe Bloggs blog? Why would anybody care what an unknown person has to say?

My opinions on these two questions are: ‘I don’t think anybody would’ and ‘I don’t think anybody does’.

This leads me to think that the only reason a person would blog is because they are, deep down, a bit of a narcissist. It gives people an inflated sense of self when writing a blog because they can imagine they’re famous and popular, and that their words could “change the world”.

Whereas if blogs were books, 99% of them would be sitting in an old lady’s loft, packed away at the bottom of a box gathering cobwebs – never to see the light of day. It’s a bit of a sobering thought knowing that, in all likelihood, your opinions will only be heard by some good friends and family.

But, as they say, ignorance is bliss.

I started off with the question: “Unless you’re famous, why would anybody blog?” and I seem to have answered myself. People blog because they want to escape mediocrity, even if that escape is just a placebo. When you blog you can tell yourself that your voice is finally being heard, that your message is finally being proclaimed – it’s the same reason why the world is addicted to Facebook and other such sites. It gives people a sense of recognition which, in reality, doesn’t exist.

Ask yourself this: how much time do I spend reading other peoples’ blogs / facebooks in comparison to the time I spend creating my own? I would wager the majority of people who answer that honestly would understand my point.

Finally, just to clarify my own position, I should say that I never wanted to delude myself by starting a blog – I started this one on the instruction from a boss of mine. I very much doubt that more than five or six people will end up reading this cynical rant from a sad, disillusioned 22-year-old – but if anybody reads this and disagrees so vehemently that they want to prove me wrong, then do just that. Prove me wrong by sending an email or leaving a comment confirming that people, other than the author themselves, care what a nobody has to say.

Love, Peace and Acceptance

xx

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Argus editor sets-up students for success…

February 25, 2010

An empowering and thought-provoking Q & A session with 20 young, budding student journalists was held today by the editor of Brighton’s Argus newspaper, Mr Michael Beard. Fielding questions from every angle of the journalism world, Michael successfully imparted a genuine sensation of optimism as well as proffering some exceptional, first-hand tips for excelling in the career of writing.

“Passion, drive and enthusiasm,” exclaimed Michael emphatically, when asked about what qualities a young journalist should maintain. And, potentially unbeknownst to Michael, these were the exact feelings he left the class with upon his exit.

Impromptu questions from an assembly of students, whom you have never met, must not be the easiest event to navigate; however Michael Beard made it appear second nature. Of course it is yet unknown what long-term effect his words will have on this group of writers-to-be, but those who reach the pinnacle of the careers they desire, may have to one day extend a further thank-you for the constructive advice of Argus editor Michael Beard.

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Is it fair to fill the nation with false hope?

February 19, 2010

I’ll start off by explaining what has prompted this article. Earlier today I found myself relaxing at home, with the TV aimlessly rambling in the background, when a news report caught my attention. Some children from England had won an essay-writing competition for the chance to fly to Washington for a meeting with ‘First Lady’ Michelle Obama.

Unlike most other stories on the news, this one didn’t initially invoke an angry or frustrated response from me. In fairness, that’s probably because it was one of those ‘happy’ stories that acts as an ‘uplifting’ book-end to the depression you’ve gathered throughout the previous reports. However, if this was what it was trying to be, it failed on me.

Near the end of the story, various people started popping up and spouting exhausted lines, like: “you can be whatever you want to be!” and “work hard and you can do anything!” and “believe and you’ll achieve!”
The final scene saw the winning group of kids, looking freshly empowered, talking to camera about how Michelle had told them that anything is possible. And this was when I decided to write this blog.

My frustration, at hearing these ‘pop-philosophy’ sound bites trotted out again, was at the thought – is it fair to constantly feed children these misleading messages of hope? Doesn’t having a nation of people who believe such ideals, inevitably lead to mass-depression? (That may sound somewhat OTT, but it’s reported that “1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from clinical depression”; a number that’s supposedly rising).

Some people may be reading this still in the belief that ‘anything is possible’ and ‘every child has endless potential’. I’m genuinely happy for those people whose life is privileged enough for them to still believe this, but it doesn’t change the fact it’s not true.

Sadly, it takes more than belief to achieve what you want – you need a massive slice of luck too. In the media, we only ever hear from people who have ‘made it’; these people claim that it’s because they ‘never gave up’ that they got to where they are now. But isn’t this an insult to the people who worked hard and believed all their lives, only to never gain what they truly wanted? Of course, the TV wouldn’t show an interview with a 60-year-old man who desperately tried to be an artist all his life, but ended up working in Tesco.

A famous philosopher said: “hope invites frustration” and, as bitter as it is, it’s completely true. Instead of prompting the world to reach for the stars, and setting them up for a dangerous fall, why not teach people acceptance? Why not, before telling children they can conquer the world, we teach them how to conquer themselves?

People may argue that humanity would not progress without wild hopes and dreams. While I agree this is true, I believe certain people will always work towards their dream, whether they were encouraged to or not. But to fill every young person with the misguided belief that they will achieve whatever they want through hard-work and trust alone – is, in all honesty, horribly cruel.

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A simple introduction…

February 18, 2010

I introduce my first post. I don’t quite have time for one of my rants, so here’s a video. It’s fairly apt considering I’ve just started a blog.
Check back soon to hear me vent my spleen on the world and existence itself.

Love & Peace xx