As of this year, things have been happening to the D&D blogosphere ... some sort of shakeup, apparently, which began as long-standing blogs began to drift away, one by one. The most notable being Grognardia - who, as everyone knows, stopped posting mysteriously back in December ... and who has since appeared momentarily to give an explanation that his family requires his attention. This would be understandable, except, well, he was given a bunch of money through - I think Kickstarter - just before disappearing.
Well, I'm not up on that, and if there's any new information I'm not the one to get it from. My opinion of the guy's blog was that it was filled with the most sincerely boring corporate-style bullshit imaginable ... I continue to believe that he was somehow in the pay of several game companies simultaneously. If it weren't for the fact that my daughter met Maliszewski once, I'd believe the name was a front for a gaming company.
I understand many people are mad at him.
That's just the tip of the iceberg. Many people of late who keep blogrolls where the last post made drops the blog to the bottom of the list with time are seeing a lot of familiar names that haven't posted in months or more than a year. Amendments here and there have been made. One after another, sometimes with a goodbye message, sometimes not, blogs are ending. The usual story is that people are moving onto something else. That after a set period of time, there's less to say. It may even be that after a decade or so, blogs in general have run their course.
It was always a bit goofy. The culture we know isn't really a literate one. Letter writing had long become a thing of the past long before it was replaced by email, something done by old people and furiously resisted by the young. It was only with the explosion of chat in the 90s that there was suddenly a reason to write at all, for many people who thought the last essay they'd ever write came with high school graduation. But take note that chat is a thing, too, that's run its course. Oh, you can still find chat rooms, but they're filled with the most loathesome people imaginable, mostly on medication, prone to juvenile descriptions of kindergarten behavior, sensitive to any digression to the extreme, etc. No meaningful person nowadays spends any significant time in a general chat room. It has even gone out of vogue for Hollywood movies.
Perhaps its time to admit that 99% of the general public are not well suited for extended literature. This whole 'wall of text' thing has a great many people seriously overwhelmed ... that is, any amount of words that would exceed those to be found in a detailed coffee ad. The presence of words like 'malfeisance' or 'gentrification' fit like massive bricks in that wall, hazing the gaze of readers so as to defy comprehension. There are just too damn many words in the language process to make reading them a practical use of one's remarkably brief time ... and all the worse when their plenitude demands some degree of puzzling out the inherent meaning.
People, as a whole, do not write well. Many of those of the highest intelligence very often fail to grasp that writing is a separate skill from knowing or doing. That seems counterintuitive (a larger brick). Surely, if one knows a thing, or one can do a thing, the explanation in words ought to be no different than simply speaking to the reader. But of course, if the reader can zone out when they listen to you describe the intricate details of your world in person, they're bound to do it in print. After all, you're not there to see their eyes glaze over.
This blogging thing never made much sense. I mean, I love it. Good, bad, incomprehensible, waffling, irrational or discordant, I write like other people walk. I don't say it's all good - I know for a fact that a lot of it plainly isn't. But language is not hard ... not to write and not to read. I don't pretend to understand how a multiplicity of words is a 'wall.' To me, it's a feather bed ... something to fall into and lose myself, to sink so deep into the middle that the rest of the room disappears, until I feel on all sides hugged and gently smothered to bliss.
But this is me.
Others, I know, treat the expectation of reading a few paragraphs as a state of being something like jet lag, sucking out their existence and pulverizing them as if with two socks full of wet meat. It's just not a thing that's wanted. So why they would ever get into the reading of blogs, or the writing of them, was like a strange blip in the intellectual continuity of the universe. Demonstrated as such by the revealing evidence that Maliszewski, a man with absolutely nothing to say that had not been said already, wrote easily the most popular roleplaying blog in the sphere.
Zak, over at the porn star corner, continues to do very well, and one cannot argue that it's the porn star logo any more. He's dragged his keyboard through a spectacular number of posts on a wide variety of subjects, and so he's earned the right to be judged solely on the quality of his writing, and the quality of his ideas.
He's so accessible, so wonderfully, eagerly, mindbogglingly accessible. You will not find a wall of text there, oh no, far from it. Don't expect to find your mind expressly challenged, or any idea you have of yourself playing or running the game challenged either. Read Zak's blog, and you will feel so much better about yourself; it will lift your comprehensions of yourself to the stars, for never will Zak's writing in any way make you reflect, for an instant, on your own mediocrity. Compare yourself to Zak and you will always come out the winner.
Thus is the core of his appeal.
Of late, I've been reading someone who does not make me feel this way. This is a fellow I stumbled upon through Cracked, who I quoted on the blog a couple of weeks ago, and whose back catalog I have since been reading with all the deliberate motivation of a flea market saleswoman trying to get one more raggedy anne doll made before Sunday. This would be Winston Rowntree of Subnormality ... with the tagline of "Comix with too many words." Here's a fellow who I have begun to respect far past my ability to express ... who regularly gets readers on Cracked and on his own site trashing him for daring to use more than a hundred words in any given example of his work.
Words, in the conception of many people, many of whom would certainly not be reading this blog, suck. They suck hard.
If not listening to mind-blasting music, hurling oneself into situations of near-death through the use of planes, kayaks and belaying ropes, or flushing one's brain with highly complex drano alternatives leaves one to think, then reading positively forces one to do so ... and thinking is bad. If you don't believe me, spend a lot of time doing it, talking about it, and then count the number of times people pause in the middle of a conversation to tell you that you are doing it too much. That should be evidence enough for you. Thinking, by and large, is a social disease.
But, I am not likely to stop. I have this strange sense of being that where I'm beset on all sides, where I am intellectually over-reached and I should just goddamn stop, I just reach farther. That seems to be my way. And as things change, and people disappear, and interest wanes in a particular thing, then I move onto the next thing where interest is bound to wane again, for the same reasons as before. For surely, if disinterest in blogs is in widespread evidence, then this is surely the time to get my online campaign started again.
I did want to bury that in the end of this post; I wanted to see if anyone was listening, or if all I have to left to write to are the bots. I'm getting an enormous number of page views of late, but since they seem to be coming from sites like 'russianwomen.ru', I have to contemplate the possibility that there are no real humans out there.
Oh, I'll send an email, see if anyone's interested ... but for the moment, let's take a rolecall. The restarting of Tao's Campaign is on the table. Any takers?