The premier journal of http://clinomania.blogspot.com criticism.
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Many scholars, whose condition could fairly be described as flabbergasted, have asked us where the Clinomania archives have gone, and if they will be preserved. Rest assured that we intend to supplement our own amateurish preservation efforts by quickly acquiring and maintaining a private library of posts. This will not be publicly accessible, however special cases of scholarship will be considered. But our mission to preserve, promote, and protect the world of Clinomania remains constant.
Politics ("I Like That We Don't Torture People Anymore")
Our Jack bona fides have been fairly well established, and we feel that among the elect who frequent Clinomania, none can rival in amount of time or mental energy devoted to critical analysis, explication, and exegesis on Jack's behalf. This is offered to assure readers not to be put-off by our occasional fault-finding, and to mitigate the blow we must inflict - Jack is weak on politics. His post about not torturing reflects a cloying and cutesy attitude that shows absolutely no appreciation of the hard-nosed choices forced upon men in power by the actions of Islamist savages.
Without staking out our own ground on the matter, we feel a certain leeway must be granted to those at the muzzle-end of the War For Western Civilization, and excesses must be allowed for. Caesar didn't pacify Gaul with candycanes and spinning tops, and for his brutality we must be thankful when we see that the heirs and heiresses of those blue-painted monsters are the rosy-cheeked buxom chocolate servers and bicycle riders on the streets of Lyon.
Jack's simplistic rendering is better suited to the cartoon images of a children's book - one is reminded of the odd "Cosby Show" where Rudy's fanciful pacifistic scenario comes to life and is enacted. Not for nothing is this among the least funny "Cosby Shows," a series that is startling in retrospect for its lack of funniness.
One need not be a scientist to realize that Bloggiana lacks any sort of mathematical clarification or statistical barometers. Those of us who fancy blogology may soon become one of the more respected social sciences would do well to essay a system whereby a site can be given some quantitative measure, beyond the mere whim and opinion of readers and writers. In an age when French-poisoned professors, and namby-pantsed journalists attempt to take the hard judgement out of everything from art to politics to theatre, and attempt to replace it with "discourse" and "context" and other catchwords that stink like fishgut, it behooves to make some serious effort at seperating the wheat from the chaff, and not cast it all off into miasmas of self-doubt. There IS good, and bad, there ARE good blogs and bad. Let's not make like the timid souls who see all the Internet as one lump of sociology - rather let's divide, and assess, and yes, to use that hated word of the Left, JUDGE! By gum we can make at least a noble effort at a scale to measure the worth of a site, and its creator! If he's found wanting, let him rectify! Let us commend excellence and scold failure, and the world will be better for it!
Our project then is to create a measurement, reliable, testable, that can give at least a rough sense of a blog's worth.
We propose the SC number (SCN).
This number is determined using the handy "Next Blog" feature from Blogger. The number records how many times "Next Blog" must be pressed before a blog OF MORE INTEREST TO THE GENERAL READER can be found. One starts at the site to be tested - in this case of course, Clinomania - and presses "Next Blog" until a more generally interesting blog is landed upon. The number of Next Blog presses = Clinomania's SC's number. A high number, then, is good, indicating the blog in question is far better than most of the chuffle. A low blog indicates a fairly low calibre of blog, since it doesn't take long to find its superior.
Now, two points of interest. Blogs in Spanish, and Spanish-related languages (non-Asian tongues) are discounted. These blogs are however included in the Adjusted SC's number (ASCN). This number will typically be almost twice as high as the SCN. Asian language blogs, since the writing of the Oriental is not quite what we call "literature," are not included.
Additionally, the SCN of a blog should be constantly in a state of revision, and we welcome reader input. Naturally, one test may reveal an abnormally low or high SCN - if Fortune brings a better blog quickly or makes one wait. Random chance plays a role certainly. That is why readers are invited and encouraged to run many SC tests of their own, and to submit their results here, so that they may be included in the average. We propose an SCN be given in the following form: SCN(X) where X is equal to the number of tests run. A higher X indicates a more accurate result. Running a test, as the reader might imagine, is a fairly time-consuming, although as we shall see enlightening process.
TO SUMMARIZE: SCN=number of times the "Next Blog" button must be pressed before finding a more engaging blog. ASCN includes Spanish and Spanish-ish language blogs. X=number of tests run.
RESULTS: THE SCN(1) FOR CLINOMANIA=130 THE ASCN(1)=189
We encourage readers to run SCN tests on Clinomania, and also to submit other blogs' SCNs. It may take several hours, but the cursory clicking is generally an entertaining enough pastime.
WHAT WE DISCOVERED WHILE RUNNING OUR TEST People are interested in: their own inconsequential lives, their families, manga, graphic design, flawed poetry, System Of A Down. Nearly all English blogs include one or more of these phenomena. A perhaps startling number of blogs are from Australia. Spanish is common, but Portugese perhaps a close rival. Of 189, only 1 appeared to be homosexual pornography - an equal number to Canadian monarchist propoganda. This accords with our general theory that homosexuals are a much tinier scintilla of the general public than most realize, and than their cultural impact would indicate.
We thought Jack might be bested early by actorschmactor.blogspot.com, or nycbeard.blogspot.com. But the ultimate winner, after 189 clicks, was http://wiscghostnet.blogspot.com/
Note that we do not claim this blog is more interesting, of more depth, or more literary merit. We merely claim it is more interesting to the general reader.
Readers, apologies for our long delay. We speculated that increasing tumult of work and worry would cause us to be much harried in our attempts to maintain criticism, which is worthless if not done at the highest of levels, and the result soon proved the correctness of this surmise.
But the Latin maxim, which, translated, reads "the engines change the works" proved again its timeless veracity. With the advent of Bloglines, one need not fear burdening the bustling reader with the nuisance of recurring check and recheck. Rather, one can write and muse as one sees fit, and trust that those interested parties will be, when occasion provides, informed and offered the opportunity to join through their reading in the act of criticism.
And today's post by Jack merits a strong huzzah. The time of our absence has seen a subtle but important shift in Clinomania. Jack has found himself, and found his voice. No more prattle masked behind tiresome half-puppets of his own devising. What is striking about today's post, "Sandwich Makers of Soho," and indeed many recent posts, is that they're REAL. They feel, smell, practically taste as though they're coming from a real place. Jack follows the SS of writing: Specify. Simplify. Give the reader the detail that matters. Posit scenarios that call to light the absurdity of alternatives.
It's a small problem, this red pepper issue. No one of sense would argue the point. But it's not an UNSERIOUS problem. It is a reflection of sloppiness, of overenthusiasm, of insensate lust for novelty. And all of these are real problems, problems that reflect the missteps of modern (one shudders to say "postmodern") society.
Jack takes the small - too many red peppers on a sandwich - and makes us see how it reflects on the big. It's a buffoon who complains excessively of a sandwich. But it's a man of taste, a man of refinement, a man of understanding who realizes that carelessness in sandwichmaking is one of the small things, the mild turns down the road towards a frothy world devoid of attention. The small details matter, and losing them costs us something. The world won't go to hell over a sandwich. But a world where no one understands the smudging of our culture that comes with sloppy sandwiches has taken a small turn towards hellishness. And too many small turns, uncorrected, and things have gone to pieces.
It's a conservative argument, at its core. An argument for standards, and expectations. It's the same instinct, felt but perhaps not articulated, that makes "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" a bestseller, or "Manners maketh man" a resonant phrase.
Look sharp, sandwich-eaters, says Jack. Keep a watch out, for the scribbles on the wall that in themselves are nothing, but together signal the end of Caesar.
Forgive our sloth of late. We were just brushing up on the Messinian Salinity Crisis. Not to worry - turns out the whole damn thing happened a long time ago.
In the pleasant confines of Cambridge, Jack's development continued apace. Without records to prove such, it is left to the biographer to assume that he grew and developed like a normal human baby - limbs expanding, appetite increasing, hair developing. Above all, we can assume that he showed an especial interest in the acquisition of speech.
It's tempting to interpret backwards - to imagine our baby Jack as simply a smaller and shriller facsimile of the grown Jack, the relationship being akin to that of the Muppet Babies to the Muppets. So we imagine him swilling milk in ill-lit baby bars and shouting and demanding video entertainments. But it seems unlikely that this was the case, as the formative stages of a man's life are what truly makes his character. That's why they're called formative, dicks.
I lower my quill to go get a Snickers ice cream treat.
As the new year breaks, we of course see it as a time of self-improvement. And so, with charming earnestness, declare the following goals for '05.
1) COMPLETE THE BIOGRAPHY OF JACK
A project long overdue. This will not, despite what critics claim, be merely a recital of facts. It will be a careful, scholarly examination of the writing and life of Jack, through what scraps are extant, and a piercing look at where the twain meet.
2) RESIST THE TEMPTATION FOR AD HOMINEM
Those who commit themselves to the project of criticial examination of one writer cannot but be troubled by his shortcomings. But we hope, earnestly, to keep ourselves restrained, and not to heap indignity upon Jack every time his prose is repetitive or his word-choices foolish. Lord knows, that would keep us damned busy.
We today launch what we hope will be an ongoing and enlightening project. And, we might add, one long overdue: A biography of Jack. This will be based on various anecdotes he has related to us, and on his writings, and will attempt to draw together the known facts about his formation as an artist. One hesitates to extrapolate too deeply from life to art - the stated position of this review is to avoid excessive and overt biographical criticism. Nonetheless, one is interested in The Artist as A Young Man, and the study of an author's development can indeed take the mind on the most satisfying routes of exploration.
So, we begin.
It was in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that Jack first engaged the world. The rich and storied cultural history of that town need not be elaborated upon here - it was and is a mecca of science and humanities, nestled in a crook beside the river Charles, and haphazardly laid out by subsequent generations of distracted minds. Its angles and alleyways have proved fodder for countless hours of undergraduate exploration and post-graduate speculation, and offer shelter to any who dwell in the realm of ideas: the punk-painted youth, his thoughts given over to skateboard tricks and rebellion; the daft old lady, her communications directed more towards birds than humans, and both apparently delighted with the exchange; the frazzled Taiwanese, grinding through chemical equations in his mind as he scurries off to meet his pimpled, timid paramour; the bombastic professor, who earns his bread by the sweat of his jaw, and the furrowing of his brow, pumping out blowhard bromides to obscure journals. On its tangled web of streets we see the student-architect, designing moonbases in his head; the disciplined lawyer, making of the chaos of the world a sensible ream of regulation; the athlete, his body fit for Sargent's paintbrush, forming himself into a study of muscle and shape; the wandering tourist, desperately trying to seize from this place some sense of its speciality.
But what most seemed to impress our young Jack was that there was a British-themed pizza restaurant. Anyone familiar with the tomatoed breadpie knows immediately to associate it with the Italianite race. How should it come to be that sons and daughters of Albion should be making that food prized by teens and single mothers? No easy answer presents itself; and indeed, none seemed to for young Jack. Rather than accept some pat answer, he chose the harder path - to accept that here was an example of a world out of line, a strange paradox for which there was no explanation.
And so the boy put into his head at a ripe age the idea of the world's absurdities. Seemingly an obvious realization, one that perhaps every man must make at some point. But in this case, the discovery of the world's madness, its congruence, its silliness was more important. For from this notion a life, and career, had found its theme.