I’m a writer. I write for a living.
Well, OK, that’s not true. I don’t write for a living. At least, I don’t just write for a living. Much of my time is spent writing things down in notebooks, to develop into ideas later. As you can probably imagine, this never happens. Because for me, the vast majority of these notes are nearly impossible to understand later; much of my notebook is filled with incomprehensible chains of words that were clearly written in some sort of caffeine-addled haze, such as “short story idea: MAGLEV TRAINS ALONG THE MAGINOT LINE!!!!!!” or “VAMPIRES on a SPACE STATION!!! WHAT WOULD HAPPEN?!?!?!?!” There are always exclamation points, which is particularly sad, because it indicates a level of enthusiasm that makes me feel sort of a cross between embarrassment and pity for my past self. I wish I had a time machine, because I’d go back in time and calm myself down. “There, there,” I’d say. “There, there.”
But every once in a while there’s a little gem, and by “little gem” I mean “comment that isn’t quite so nonsensical as its companions.” It had to do with bloggers and fictional characters.
If literary theory has told us anything, it’s that the number of really original fictional characters out there is fairly small. Jack Sparrow is essentially Han Solo, who was essentially Robin Hood, who was essentially, I don’t know, Promethius or someone. It’s all true and totally verified by prominent literary theorists, so you don’t have to waste your time Googling it or anything.
And just like most fictional characters can be boiled down to a few basic archetypes, most types of bloggers can be represented by a few basic fictional characters. So: What kind of blogger are you?
Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding. Otherwise known as “Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption,” this was the guy who could get you anything you wanted. Even though he was in prison, his network of professional connections could provide his fellow hoosegow residents with anything from tiny hammers to pinups of increasingly attractive movie stars. The blogger version of Red constantly makes you say, “Where does he find this stuff?” How did he find a version of “We Are the World” performed entirely by Japanese game show contestants? Or Weng Weng?
Examples: Grow-a-Brain, the guys at Mental Floss
Ignatius J. Reilly. This blogger is all the hell over the Internet. Sometimes you think the Internet was made for this kind of blogger. In his self-appointed mission to point out everything that has ever gone wrong with the world, the Ignatius blogger just can’t figure out why everyone is so freaking stupid. If people would just take his very simple advice, things would work out just fine. Jeez.
Examples: About half of all political bloggers, the good folks at Reason.
Jack Sparrow. You may have fans out there on the Internets, but rest assured, dear blogger, few of your fans’ ardor matches that which you carry for yourself. You’re more bearable than the Ignatius J. Reilly blogger because you’re less of a sourpuss and produce much higher quality work, but you risk turning readers away because you’re just so enamored with yourself. A good deal of your time is spent Googling yourself and wondering why so many people think “narcissistic” is an insult. The annoying part is, you actually are fairly cool, and you run a damn nice blog. Dammit.
Examples: Cory Doctorow, Jason Kottke.
Sherlock Holmes. Sweet locks of Samson, is there anything you don’t know? You may be one of the most knowledgeable bloggers in the world, and you never hesitate to share your expertise with your readers in a way that makes them think they probably should have thought of that themselves. You’re not condescending about it, though. No, you’re cool. You’re so cool.
Examples: CopyBlogger, Seth Godin
Lindsay Nagle. Ever watch The Simpsons? You know that generic business lady who always shows up and spouts random corporate nonsense? Yeah, her. The Lindsay Nagle blogger is the blogger who’s just in it to monetize, who sees the Internet as an easy place to sow lots of seeds and part fools with their money. Their blogs are often little more than reprints from ezinearticles.com and generic advice, cribbed from better blogs, on how you too can use SEO to make millions on the Internet. Avoid this blogger.
Examples: Oh, I think you know who you are, deep down in your ugly little heart.
NEXT WEEK: Which Winnie the Pooh Character Are You? Or possibly something better.
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