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Are blogger and voice one?

06 May

In order to establish the facts about myself I thought I had better find out who I am by taking a personality test.


Which bodily discharge are you?


You’re milk. You are creamy and tantalizing, and very nurturing. You are not always present, and you make people work in order to reach you. You are private and won’t let just anyone take a sip. You slosh around and never seem take any true form…Find some direction in your life, milky man!
Take this quiz!


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That could have been dangerous… Of course it is a very silly test, but there is some truth in what it says. I dare you to try it yourself.

The question of how far the blogger is merely a persona and whether that persona reflects 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% of the actual person hitting the keys is an interesting one. It occurs to me after the writer of Deus Lo Vult reacted — or his persona did — to my thumbnail review of his blog, which of course I must appreciate as I do not include blogs I hate on my blog roll. On the other hand, I certainly include blogs with which I do not necessarily agree. Thomas wrote:

…Apparently I (or my blog, it was hard to tell from the description) am supercilious, or at least perceived to be, by some persons (on that page, Deus Lo Vult is the nineteenth point down). My original reaction was to take an amount of umbrage at this description, which then resided when I had a think about what was written, and then mostly disappeared when I saw that there was a few definitions of the word supercilious that I hadn’t used the word myself for before. Because, while I in no way aim to write in a style that presents me as:

haughtily disdainful or contemptuous, as a person

I would, however, be happy if people believed my blog was:

having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy

Because that’s generally what I’ve tried to write with in mind. Wait, no, hear me out. This blog isn’t an essay, it’s not assessable, and there’s no question or topic to write about. Yes, it is, in fact, multiple writings about my opinions of things and topics that pop into my head randomly. There is nothing that dictates what I write about, and there certainly is nothing dictating what I can say. Which is why I would expect a blog to have the styles of the second definition I have included above, and not the first. Because, for as supercilious as the blog may appear to be, the blog is not me. The blog is just characters on a screen, arranged in a certain way so that multiple meanings can be drawn from them…

I conceded his point, which is remarkably consistent with current pomo theory, and modified the thumbnail somewhat. Or my persona did…

Interesting question though. Could it be that older bloggers, such as this one, tend to have less separation between their “real” selves and their blogs? In my case what you see is pretty much what you get, for good or ill. There is not much difference between my “true” self and the blog persona: “Ninglun” = “Neil” pretty much, except that I sometimes think “Ninglun” is much more intelligent. 😉 Or Ninglun might be the Neil I want you to know… Most of the blogs on my blog roll strike me as having a pretty fair degree of what you might call “authenticity”, so far as one can judge, and difficult as that concept is. You never know, do you? “Aluminium”, for example, may really be a 14-year old boy living in Iceland, but I somehow suspect not…

If back in 2005 I had realised that Michael Pseudonym of Thin Potations is not the real Rabbit, things there may have gone more smoothly than they did. But Michael P pressed a button and I exploded… Or Ninglun did. Whoever Ninglun may be, of course… Whatever, it did have real world consequences, and that is where I have some reservations, however much I concede the theory, with separating persona and writer — it just isn’t so simple. What we publish tends to become us, unless we so clearly establish the parameters of interpretation as to make literal reading unlikely.

Of course it is a fact that all we meet here is a persona, and that persona is ever only an aspect, or aspects, of the writer, and may indeed be no more the writer than Hamlet is Shakespeare.

I trust all that has confused you, but it is a central problem of literary theory. You may even believe, as many do, that there is no self there anyway, just a series of performances in various contexts. I (whoever that is at the moment) find I can’t really believe that, whatever my head or some theorist might say on the subject.

I did a bit of a search under “blogging and personal voice” and found Crossroads Dispatches.

Jerry said that most of his writing pre-blog was in essence to put himself out there as a credible authority. And I think most people view writing for the public in this manner – a great way to build credibility, become a guru, display your expertise and how smart and knowledgable you are. And I know many folks write to influence and persuade others to their point of view – without a second thought to whether they themselves are influenceable and permeable to new ideas. Jerry said that style of writing only seemed to further a sense of separation from others for him. It was only after he started writing a blog that he realized why he really blogged.

Only connect! That was the whole of her sermon.
Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted,
And human love will be seen at its height.
Live in fragments no longer.
Only connect… -E.M. Forster, Howards End

Why we blog initially and why we continue to blog are often quite different. I know that’s true for me. I abandoned my first blog for many reasons, but I think one was that I didn’t have any sense of connection alive with it; I was just typing into a screen, hitting publish and it was going out to the ether and that was that…

Why do you blog? And is it you who blogs?

My answer at times is: it beats muttering to yourself in the toilet…

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Posted by on May 6, 2007 in blogging, Cultural and other, my sites, Observations, Personal, Web stuff, writing

 

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