Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A blog by any other name... would be as bloggy?

I really don't like the word blog.  I never have, but my aversion seems to be growing for some reason.  Maybe it's because I have to accept the fact that the term blogger now applies to me because I have a blog.  It's just such a dumb word.  Wait, you may think, there is a method to its madness.  Yes, yes, I know.  Blog comes from web log.  Which sounds like blog if you say it together.  But really.  Who keeps logs?

Ships have logs.  And tress turn into logs.  But when people sit down and write it isn't really in a log.  If you asked someone if they kept a log they would probably stare at you with that look.  You know the one I'm talking about.  The look that says I haven't decided yet whether you are drunk, stupid, or simply an alien.  If you were to ask someone if they kept a journal or a diary on the other hand they would know what you were talking about and probably reply civilly, without any trace of that look.  You may sit down to journal but you would never sit down to log.  You aren't logging down the events of your life in some sort of formal scientific process.  Maybe it's just me, but the average web log is hardly scientific.

Let's say for argument that you woke up one day and decided not to keep a journal, but rather the things you intended to scribble down, and the manner in which you intended to keep them, were really best classified as a log.  Ok, fine, you have a log.  Are you now a logger?  No, those are the people who cut down trees thus turning them into logs.  By scribbling things down you are either a writer of some sort (and for the sake of this argument we'll include lyricists and poets etc.), some sort of scientist, if you decide to be so formal about it, or a businessman required to keep precise but short notes about your dealings.  Although you can't really claim that your "log" is scientific simply because it involves a precise process, as a hypothesis and conclusion would really be required, I won't argue the point with you.  I'll allow that you are a scientist before I allow that you are a logger.  However, unless it is a professional record you're keeping you really ought to simply call yourself a writer.  But I digress.  Let's go back to the word blog.

I think what really bothers me is the fact that the word blog sounds like so many mucky things.  Blog sounds a lot like bog, a marshy, muddy, potentially alligator infested place that smells of decay.  Or maybe blog sounds more like blob and I don't even want to contemplate the substances this could be or the foul places you might find it.  Now, you don't need to agree with me.  Maybe you have a strange nostalgic soft spot in your heart for marshy peat bogs.  Or a love of clogs, those charming wooden shoes, which the word blog always reminds you of.  Or the word blob is funny to you and conjures up images of cute pudgy animals.  Who am I to judge?  Just so long as you know that not everyone shares your views of these words.  In fact, there was even a horror movie about a blob, complete with the blob song.  You think I jest?  Go ahead and look it up.  It's on IMDb.

"Beware of the blob, it creeps, and leaps, and slides, and glides, across the floor, the door, and over round the house, a splotch, a blotch, and then the blob so beware!" - My Dad's version of the Blob song

I remember my Dad singing it to my brother and I while we were camping.  He used to dance gleefully around the campfire chanting the blob song to us while the firelight made his eyes glint crazily as he crept ever closer to tickle us.  Don't think this allows you to dismiss the inherent ickiness of the word blob.  This is not simply the rant of someone traumatized in childhood.  If anything this memory makes me think of the word blob more fondly and I still think it is a strange word evocative of disgusting things.

And blog... well, it is evocative of all of those marshy, mucky, horrible things.  Plus it opens the world up to more terrible words like plog, which nobody even seems capable of defining properly or consistently, or vlog.  Both stupid words. 

I'm not saying we shouldn't use the word blog.  It is a well accepted term and it is much too late to change it now.  I'm just saying that it's a dumb word and that it should have been called something different from the very start.  Something less primordial sounding.  Just a thought.

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