Friday, October 01, 2004

On Blogging.

The Scarfer's just announced her intention to take a hiatus. Almost a month ago, the Datin decided to do the same.

They're two completely different people, with relatively little in common, apart from the fact that they're involved with someone ‘exotic’ (one is married to a Datuk, the other is dating a gwailo), and that they're both female, and obvious shit like that…

Basically they've got nothing in common. Save for one thing. They spoke their minds, realized that to some point, they were wrong, found out that people didn't like them for being wrong, and realized that blogging, formerly the panacea for troubled minds, has become too much. The things people said have become too painful, blood has been drawn, and it's time to pull back and lick your wounds. The game isn't fun anymore.

You know, I'm terrified this would happen to me. Hence, I limited attempts for people to post their feedback on my blog, reasoning that the kind of people who would do stupid, hurtful things to me would be those who don't think about what they say, and find that it's easier to talk trash than to STFU.

At least, when they're struggling to either 1) register to Blogger or 2) write me an email, if what they're saying is important, they'll find a way to say it, and if it turns out that what they're saying is wrong-headed and obviously contrary to Natural Law, hey, they're sad fuckers.

Or that could just be a rationalization and all I want to do is talk without being bothered. And when I don't want to talk, I'll just let go of blogging, without having to tell you folks that I'll be in a hiatus.

I just realized something. In almost any literary or textual medium, the author owes the audience something. It could be money, in the case of novelists and authors, or it could be trust, in the case of a journalist or a newspaper columnist. But a blogger owes his audience nothing.

The audience comes to a blog in their own free will, and can leave without accruing penalty, other than wasted bandwidth, which the blogger has to pay as well. Nothing is owed between the blogger and his audience, other than what the either side believes. And belief is the flimsiest coin there is, even on such a nebulous realm like the Internet.

I can leave, I can call you all names, I can profess the foulest doctrines that could turn the stomachs of any right-thinking reader around the planet. And I still wouldn't be responsible for you. Any responsibility I have is what I take up, and I am in no condition to be punctual, inoffensive or even Right. I just need to Be.

Of course, you, the audience, don't have to listen to what I have to say, either, or even visit me. That's your right. It's also the right of the reader of fiction, nonfiction, journalism or whatever, but I think blogging is special. Blogging is, probably, the only media where it is all right to be not listened to.

I could be wrong. It's something that's coming out, stream-of-thought-ish, you see.

Blogger meiteoh said...

Just a hiatus over the weekend, Tariq - to do some real reflective thinking on the incidents of the past. Funny how I have always wanted to be free to say anything and everything in my blog...and a few months later, I find that I have to censor myself because of my readers. And I thought *I* was the only one who mattered in the equation.

Maybe it is because I come from the old school journalism thingie-magic that tells us that media practitioners should be accountable for what they say. And that we should all be accountable in one way or another.

Suddenly, I'm being told that these people (the prominent columnist) aren't to be accountable for the things they write because it was based on opinion but the audience (me) is even though my thoughts and musings were based on my opinions.

This confuses me and despite my best efforts to keep a chin up, it hurts me and my partner (because the article was related to us).

Like I told Andreas, I love my blog. It is my home - my secret hideaway - where I can muse and talk about anything I want without having to fear people's reaction or backlash, without having to censor myself. I thought that was the glory of being on the Internet - as a woman, as part of a minority ethic group, as a new generation of Malaysians...as a person who didn't own a newspaper, not in a publishing job (like journalist and etc)...

Suddenly, I have discovered that I lost it. And it hurts.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Najah said...

We're all responsible for our opinions, especially journalists. Given the amount of backlash bloggers got in the beginning and the call for us to be accountable for what we say, as much as journalists are, I don't understand why this (the scarfer's incident) happened.

Tried to look for it, but it was deleted. ah well...

2:01 PM  
Blogger meiteoh said...

Najah,

Sorry...I just had to - part of being responsible. I admitted that it was unfair of me to question the person's credibility as a writer for women affairs and that I found her article insulting to me. I wrote to her after putting up the first entry, after receiving her explanation, I did some digging and found out a few things - put in two updates to explain my position after I started getting a barrage of messages from her supporters.

After a couple of edits, I was still getting bombarded...I got tired of the backlash and of apologizing over and over again to the point where I think the only thing that would have pacified these people was my head on a silver platter.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Vernon said...

As I told scarfer, everyone has a right to speak their minds. It is about freedom of speech, although self-censorship is essential. I believe that everyone has a right to have an opinion and to pass judgement. It's free will.

However, as with all things related to the word 'free', 'freedom', 'independence' comes responsibility. Journalists, authors, writers, the media all share the same responsibility. And this, ultimately covers bloggers. A new channel for writing. No doubt blogging is a personal thing - well, it used to be anyways, but it does, inevitably involves an audience. If there isn't, why would we be blogging? But perhaps less 'commercial' as it would as compared to let's say an article in the newspapers for instance, blogging is somewhat like fine art. You write what you want. Fuck what everyone else thinks.

My point is, scarfer and the Datin have every right to say what they want although they are responsible and accountable for what transpires. They shouldn't be penalised for stating their opinions. In fact, the opinions should be respected just as we respect each others' space in the world.

I believe in this statement:
"I may not agree with what you say, but I defend your right to say it"

Hang loose people, don't take life too seriously! And, never stop blogging and saying what you want to say.

Cheers!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Kamigoroshi said...

It pretty much depends really. I thought of taking a hiatus in my current condition now as well. But I realise it would do me absolutely no good when dispite anything, blogging is the only source of comfort no matter what people say about any of us. The blog itself won't judge you or belittle you. It's just there to record whatever you have in mind. Whatever you hold bottled up.

So it pretty much depends on why any of us blog and what blogging means to us. Maybe people want to read or maybe they won't...but that's people. In the end...it's just about you and the words you put down. Whatever they mean...whatever they could mean. It doesn't matter to your blog.

3:37 PM  
Blogger T-Boy said...

You're all dull and boring people. Go away.

This isn't my secret home. I do need a place to run away to and confide my deepest darkest secrets, but this isn't the place. I don't hide behind a pseudonym; it isn't very hard to determine who I am.

The reason I started blogging was because ideas were gushing out of my mouth faster than I could say them, and it was getting on everyone's nerves.

I don't need the responsibility of a journalist. What I say, god help me, will not revolutionalize the way people communicate with one another. I have plenty of other problems to think about. Like, you know, graduating before I'm 25.

Scarf, if you need to take a break, take a break. There are no hordes of readers who need your justification to stop blogging, even if it is a weekend. And Najah, if mainstream media keep hounding us for not being accountable to anyone but ourselves, that's because we aren't accountable to anyone but ourselves.

Opinions? Responsible for? Bollocks. I don't need to be responsible for my fucking opinions. I need to be responsible for the facts that I choose to report, yes, and even then not as much as a journalist should. In a highly democratic medium, you get a lot of noise. That's how different blogging is from other mainstream media. The cost of joining is low.

Shit. You lot have made me rant. Hell.

6:25 PM  
Blogger meiteoh said...

O_O!

7:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home