I first heard about blogs last summer, after the word “Bookslut” caused me to break out in a foul rash. I have sensitive skin. I have sensitive ears. The doctors prescribed the toughest emollient, but it wasn’t enough. So I was forced to start stabbing myself with a plastic fork. It was a surprise to me when I couldn’t draw blood. After all, the words had hurt me. Why couldn’t the disposable cutlery?
“Bookslut,” however, was only the tip of the iceberg. Some man, fancying himself a humorist, ran a site called Black Garterbelt, daring to impugn the moral fabric of books with an unspeakable reference to lingerie. I did not laugh. Instead, I took to wearing a burqa and urging the children in my community to do the same. There was Critical Mass, the blog run by the seemingly respectable National Book Critics Circle, but the name suggesting a mass of something else you might find on the sidewalk. I hesitate to use the four letter words that these literary harlots bandy about with such frequency, but it was a filthy notion. It was as if these book critics, who I thought were made of moral character, had decided to not clean up after their dogs during a walk, if you catch my drift.
Bookshelves of Doom appeared to pilfer its name from the Holy Book of Revelations. It was bad enough that Marvel Comics had named one of their supervillains “Dr. Doom,” thus popularizing a noun of great import. A word not to be used lightly. But now these morally reprehensible blogs were encoding secret messages about the second coming in their titles. But of course, I knew that Christ would strike them down if they could not be saved! As far as I know, Anton Chekhov was a moral man. But, lo and behold, some sinner had conjured up Chekhov’s Mistress! I also understand from a friend that The Elegant Variation refers to the unholy act of premarital sex, and that Mark Sarvas’s blog is a place for unmarried pagans to hook up and commit foul and carnal acts. Enter the Octopus? Dear Lord, this is disgusting. I must also conclude that the writer Ed Park, in naming his blog The Dizzies, is addicted to the evils of alcohol. I do not know what Thumb Drives and Oven Clocks are, but I do not care to find out. And if The Publishing Spot is a coy reference to a woman’s nether regions, well then, Jason Boog is due for a public stoning. Assuming that this is his real name.
But I must stop. These words have been difficult to write. And I have my private doctor taking my blood pressure as I type these words. It had not occurred to me that those who champion literature in these online venues could be possessed of such perfidy and callous disregard for moral purity. The doctor now tells me I must confine myself to bed. Unlike the litbloggers, he chooses his words carefully.
[UPDATE: Apparently, Jessa doesn’t get satire, which includes material that, in fact, champions her site. Incidentally, Eric Rosenfield and I are pals, but we do indeed have independent minds and frequently disagree. It remains a mystery to me why the two of us having penises might lead any reasonable person to think that we were connected to some Y-chromosome hive mind. No different really from some ridiculous gender-based generalization about women that one would expect from a bigot. But there you go.]
© 2008, Edward Champion. All rights reserved.