Friday, June 2, 2017
The Internet club
It's a very famous quote, and one of my favorites, but its ubiquity makes it hard to surprise anyone with it, or delight them, the way such an amusing quote can when it's fresh to someone:
"I don't want to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
One can still probably amuse someone with
"Time flies like the wind; fruit flies like a banana."
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
though it's an uphill battle, and, with the second, pretty much impossible to do anywhere near a library due to the familiarity problem. Both of these latter quotations are heavily attributed to Groucho, but likely they aren't actually his. That first one though, about the club, that's Groucho. And like any great quote it's special because it so succinctly captures something.
I'm not claiming it's a one to one analogy, maybe not even close, but for me what it captures is this:
As I romp around on the Internet with my blog, nothing quite shocks and horrifies me so much as that my blog, clerkmanifesto, is not enormously popular. That 30 people subscribe to it and occasionally read it instead of 30 million is perplexing to me in the extreme. On a day where I feel I've written a particularly amusing post the fact that it hasn't made it to the front page of Reddit or stormed like an out of control wildfire through Facebook is nearly impossible for me to take in, so strange and counter intuitive it seems. I firmly, perhaps even fanatically believe that nothing should be simpler and more obvious than that my work should own the Internet, that people should find it hilarious and profound, and that they should want nothing more than to read everyday, study it, enthuse over it, and share it insistently with every last person they know. Agents should contact me, seeking to represent me, Editors should beg me to write for their notable publications, and publishers should inquire as to my interests.
While I don't believe all this evenly, I believe it wholeheartedly and often with a wild-eyed fervor.
And yet if one single person is kind enough to comment on one of my posts something like "I loved this one" or "That was so funny!" I invariably think that either they're saying it sarcastically, or, with a touch of pity, they're trying to be nice to me.