Friday, December 27, 2013

Let's learn to blog like Rod Dreher

I know there are a bunch of you out there asking yourselves, "Why am I busting my hump working at a real job when I could be making money telling the world all about myself online instead?"

Well, today's your lucky day. Today we'll learn step by step how to blog like Rod Dreher using a tutorial post he's generously provided for just that purpose.

Now, if you're going to edit, notate, and "curate" your blog and its comments - because, in the final analysis, how much different is Rod Dreher's blog (or yours!) from a museum like the Louvre when it comes to "curating"? - first and foremost you're going to need a naturally docile and slavishly sympathetic readership. So the first thing to do is to establish yourself early and often as an existentially victimized object of perpetual sympathy for the widest possible audience. You, grasshopper, are a slice of soft, white bread a-sail on the seas of sympathy gravy. You sop, therefore you exist.

It really doesn't matter what that victimizing factor is: a religion that failed you, a mysterious malady that provides you with regular cat-naps, a childhood penpal friend who dies, even a close family member who departs at an extremely opportune time. The important thing is that you leave no quarter for any existing shut-in Great Aunt Gertie, her GG bosom powdered to avalanche danger, or her petulant, failed-to-launch 36-year-old grand-nephew Wurlitzer, or Wurlitzer's tenure-free adjunct Professor of Verbiage Loris, or Loris's understandably yearning wife Almond, or any other remotely emotionally trigger-happy creature to escape every possible opportunity to feel sorry for you, wish you were better, and thus naturally want to do anything to help to make it all better for you. Like, for example, blindly acceding to the rules of your universe and all the thinking that governs it. Others, be gone. Did you get a boo-boo today? Blog it.

The next step is to constantly work topical material into your act, the more provocative the better, regardless of whether or not it's in any way pertinent or germane to anything you're saying. These days, for example, anything "Duck"-Robertson will do. In our tutorial post, frankly, an arbitrarily chosen Willie would have served just as well as the arbitrarily chosen Si (Gertie has apparently become temporarily weary of Phil), but Si has more of that Phil-as-not-Phil gravitas you wanted to push, so you used Si. And of course - a fundamental principle in its own right to never forget - it's not as if anyone can prove anything you're blogging didn't happen just as you say it did. This is also why you curate an obeisantly sympathetic readership: it would be a matter of being just plain mean to an obviously suffering person (you) not to believe any event you relate at face value. So they will and do. And therefore your reader will readily believe on his own accord that Si rather than Phil or Willie must have come up in some unblogged part of the blogged conversation, because no reason to mention him is given in the blogged part.

Now it's at this point that things may get a little technical, but if you want to become a blogger like Rod Dreher rather than working for a living you'll hang in there. It involves something we could call auto-deep-linking (like auto...whatever): in this case, linking back into a previously published post in your own blog so as to provide it with hits again from a different source and to tie both posts together.

In this post, Miriam dies tragically, far too young, from breast cancer, and her verbosely blogged death serves its greater purpose, lining your readers up in the milking shed. However, in this, our tutorial post, Miriam is now not only already dead, but also already sympathy-blogged post mortem. So what purpose other than redundancy does another mention of her serve?

Ah! I see you're beginning to catch on, grasshopper. As the Big Lebowski (long may he abide) would say, she becomes the rug which ties the whole room together. Her function as an auto-deep-link is really secondary: her primary function is to become the reason for the Facetime conversation (if it even ever actually happened, and no sympathetic reader would doubt it did) to have occurred at all. Without Miriam, no trifecta Facetime conversation which reprises sympathy, deep-links to a previous post, and miraculously offers up another conveniently gratuitous serving of Duck.

Why Si? At this point, really, why not?

So this is how you blog like Rod Dreher: sympathy, gratuitous topical references, unfalsifiable narratives, recycling and re-purposing the dead, and auto-deep-linking rugs to tie the whole room together.

Oh - I also threw a tag in for TLWORL on my post here for none other than the same reason Rod pulled Uncle Si (rather than Phil, Willie, etc.) out of thin air: so that anyone searching on that phrase might be baited into clicking on my post.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead

Aaand...despite Our Working Boy Reporter Rod's breathlessly gushing breaking news flash,

UPDATE: As several of you have pointed out (thanks), prostitution was already legal in Canada...


This is an important distinction, obviously, but it doesn’t, to my way of thinking, invalidate the point that when someone like Generalissimo Francisco Franco becomes dead, it behooves us all to remind one another on a regular basis that he is still dead lest we inevitably sled down that slippery slope into the arms of a hooker from the Great White North whose conversation is interminably peppered with "Eh"s and "aboot"s.

However, this post of Dreher's immediately helped me to finally understand his recent surge to cover himself in all things Phil Robertson over the span of several recent news cycle-sensitive posts. As someone cursed with only a whip-like filament of cartilage himself, expedient for cultivating the Sullivansphere and critical for maintaining his own readership as Rod might find it, Robertson's sharply contrasting, unbending religious moral spine on display in the CG interview would be something a younger, equivocal male like Dreher might naturally be drawn to as he would to any instructive father figure.

But I believe an equally compelling though less obvious draw the post tends to confirm is Phil Robertson's educational and scholastic superiority over Dreher. As someone who holds a Masters Degree in education, Robertson would never make the foolish factual mistakes a J-school BA rookie like Dreher routinely embarrasses himself with in his haste to hit the "Post" key. There's also little doubt Phil Robertson knows exactly where he was and what he was doing on 9/11.

Ultimately, this is the crucial difference between a businessman who can build a $500 million dollar empire out of duck calls the hard way and someone who serendipitously scores a miraculous rebound from unemployment from the tragic death of a relative: first and foremost getting it straight, then telling it straight.