Friday, June 29, 2007


Blogging is a vain activity. In both senses of the word. We bloggers are often asked “why?” As my own blog is given over to frivolity at present, let me take the last chance before handing James his keys back to give my answer here. At least my answer for today.

With our companions in life we play the fool, the villain, the romantic lead. We progress to the meatier parts of maturity, until - if we are lucky - we play our Lear and exit. In the meantime, we become typecast. We play to our “type”, however far it may stray over the years from our inner voice. That’s fine on a stage or in a book. All creativity proceeds from an essential truth to a crafted set of gleaming lies. But must there be so much play-acting in life?

Millions, God help them, live without hearing truth spoken, still less speaking their own. Lies - mostly white and petty - are the fuel of human organisations. They spray lies through carburettors of convention and politeness.

Cynical old hacks in every organisation flaunt the conventions slyly. Having believed successive generations of contradictory untruths, they lose the ability to adjust. But even they, except between each other, must pretend to believe.

When a black lie is told, however, these gentle conventions can prevent us from challenging or even detecting it. For how many years of Blair’s premiership, did he have the benefit of the doubt? Though the man was plainly dishonest, his office protected him. He was able to tell the “big lies” that history shows are much easier to pass off than the small ones.

Thus liars prosper. Often the truth is only told in jokes.

I want a space, however small, which is unencumbered with the conventions of my everyday life; somewhere I can tell the truth as I see it. I was so enraged in 2005 by the Prevention of Terrorism Act (and even more by its slavish acceptance by media and addled masses) that I felt I had to speak; however hopeless the cause.

I continued because I found it therapeutic. It gave an outlet for my frustrations. Then the comments began and I realised I was not alone. The comments led me to other blogs and to a new sense of community. I have friends “out there.” It was weird, but I soon became accustomed.

That community became the purpose. Blogpower is part of it. I smiled at the simplicity of it to begin with, but James had really had a great idea. Ellee and Welshcakes provide insights into other worlds from mine, as do Lord Nazh and Ruthie. Blogpower brought shades of grey (and not just Shades of Grey) back to a life which - in my political rage - had become too black and white.

The good news is that there are are people out there who long to tell their truths; great and small. Meet them in their everyday lives and they would be playing their parts. We would not really know them. In a sense, they would not really be them. As bloggers (particularly anonymous or pseudonymous bloggers) their inner voices speak.


james higham said...

Tom, you've touched on something here which I was also thinking of posting on - living a lie.

Especially in cyberspace here we are doing it - many of us are not what we seem and yet we are being real.

In essence, the real us, at odds with the conventional "front" comes through, through a screen of lies.

I'm far more real writing this to you now than I am in "real life", where I play a role.

Even in that role, I'm one of the sly convention breakers - I'm just plain naughty, really and never take anything except G-d and our current project seriously.

I know that Last Ditch is not your only venue, nor SL and so it is with me. Many bloggers communicate via e-mail as totally different people.

Which are the real ones? Am I James Higham or Hugh Jensen?

Wolfie said...

There is a certain catharsis about the communion of human thought. I suspect that to a certain extent blogging is the replacement for the communities that we have been loosing since the start of the industrial revolution and the migration from the land into the cities. Are we the self-appointed village elders in the technological village?

Self deception or fraud? Who knows who is the real you, can your loved ones tell? Can you? Does it matter?

Probably not, after all it is our words and actions that define us. I think therefore I am, I speak so I am understood. Bits and bytes or reed and papyrus these truisms are as fundamental today as they were at the dawn of civilization.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right in "real life" I am a Church of England Vicar...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Nice post. Blogging helps us be who we would like to be.
Mutley, can I come to one of your sermons?!

Delicolor said...

I can just imagine it- Fire and Brimstone, with some bum sniffing thrown in...

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Yes, I relate to that.

Many people who read my blog would form a different opinion about me, were they to see my standing at the bar of my local.

You might even judge me as a fairly shallow looking person, a bit glib, probably not quite respectable.

Anonymity allows me present my thoughts, without the origin of them being an issue.

lady macleod said...

A good view of blogging I think, and there is truth there. The big surprise to me was that sense of community and friends you speak of, however real or not, to me it is true because I choose to believe it is true. Especially being here, cut off somewhat because of the language barrier in addition to culture and religion, the people who visit my blog seem even more real to me than those I encounter daily in the physical world. I revel in the diversity of the Blog World and the cleverness, insight, and creativity I have found. I think it bodes well for the humans and how we communicate. "Life will find a way." (wink and a smile)