Saturday, September 06, 2008

I am a frustrated gag writer


Literary blogs.

They're out there by the thousands.

A lot of talented, accomplished people running them, actually.

And it seems, week after week, once the bloggers hone their finest expository writing.

And they wait for agreement, comment, engagement.

Zero.

No comments.

The literary blogger checks his inbox, his computer, his comment space. Something must be wrong.
I mean, I got such and such a prize. I have an advanced degree. . I am certifiably brilliant.

A month goes by. Still no comment.

What on earth is the matter? I know that I am beautiful and talented. Don't these unwashed clods see, appreciate this?

Check the comment box and still a dougnut.

Ah, my pedigreed friend. You wrote but you did not entertain. Writing, after all, is not all content. It is largely entertainment. Content is content, but style is style. Any J-grad will tell you that you not only need not only to inform, you need to entertain.

My favourite Sean Connery story is Connery being asked the meaning of a word. "Conundrum." Define," says the prof.

Connery: "Conundrum?" Why that's like a puzzle...Aw forget it. Your mother is a whore."

That's entertainment. Jay Leno uses something like this a lot. And somebody has to write his stuff.


I am, I suppose, a frustrated gag writer. I would have loved to have written for Royal Canadian Air Farce, but, sadly, they are now gone. Too many spoofs of Prime Minister Harper as stiff robot. Mr. Roboto?
Well, hes no Daft Punk, but he still walks like something out of that video. If fishes were to swim with icepacks on their backs, you'd get the idea.
Policy wonk. Wonk. Wonk.
Yet the devil is still going to win with a majority, because here in Canada, as in the U. S., you can never underestimate the stupidity of the electorate.

I mean, who doesn't go ga-ga over Sarah Palin. I know I do.

Like in the old Air Force joke, I wouldn't throw her out of bed even is she were gassy.

But to base ones political judgment on a canny trick by that Scot McCain is to be duped for another four years of the Bush admistration,.

But you gotta admit it. She is cute, and very, very smart.

And a mother.

Why do I think of Detroit? :)

"Your mother is hot."

But I'm getting off topic.

I feel for the ignored literary blogger.

Book publishing is a different game from publishing on the fly; for writing humour and history on the fly, is wit and not always literary wit. There isn't too much of this around, that's why you have People Magazine and Entertainment Tonight to tell you Jennifor Anniston is here in Toronto right now, and who wants to read a paper or magazine? They're all here in Toronto for the last day of for TIFF, the internationl Film festival with their Zohars and unfunny funny movies and the latest lineup of Hollywood dogs. Here is perhaps where the literary blogger should focus. Why have there been no good movies in the last twenty years? Legally Blonde getting three stars? Jesus Christ.
And I say that religiously. Movies like that are sacrilige. Political correctness elevated to something like drama.
And there is a whole spate of them at TIFF right now.

One good Canadian movie is up. Pascheandaele. Sounds like Passion-Dale, doesn't it.Maybe it'll go just by the title till the audience find out that it's about one of the set pieces that began to define Canada as a country. We paid in blood. But what the hell. Happy commercialdom is all around us.
TV tells me to have a happy period.
##

16 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I always thought I could be a pretty good gag writer. I wanted to write for Frazier.

And yes, entertainment is of grand importance in most folks lives, and in the lives of blogs.

Lana Gramlich said...

Sorry we kind of dropped off the face of the Earth for a while...Gustav knocked us off the grid.
Thanks for sharing Sean Connery's story--I hadn't heard it. Love it!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Gramiches.

I can sympathize and empathize with your your slight unease down there in Louisianna. You're on relatively high ground, But Hurricane Hannah is apt to give you guys some backblow, and Huriricane Ike Ike looks like a real warrior. Coming to a town near you soon.
I'd build me an ark, but what would be the point? To a hurricane, and ark may as well be an aardvark. Get swamped all the same.
As I say, it's a good thing you folks are on higher ground.
Yeah. Any kind of lampoon Sean Connery character is a laugh.
And most people liked Frazier.

Jo said...

Have a happy period? Is that why you're wearing those cute pink shorts?

*snort*

But you're right. Some of the most booooorrring blogs get a lot of comments, and some of the most brilliant get almost none at all.

I think it has more to do with the intelligence (or lack thereof) of the commentor, and not the blogger.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Hey Ivan,
Now I know why my ratings went down -- I HAVE TO ENTERTAIN! -- But how do I do that? I'm totally against more hot tub photos. Maybe I'll pilfer that picture of Palin in her red, white, and blue bikini, the one where she's holding a gun at poolside; Maybe I could photoshop myself on a deflating innertube. As for thinking of Detroit, the Republicans think every hockey fan out there will vote for the McCain/Palin ticket.

the walking man said...

I live in Detroit and wonder why I still think of it. Like Palin, the bloom is off that rose, not to an old lech but to a middle aged one...

I personally don't think I need be a gag writer, punster or jockstrap...reality itself is held up by the humor of it all.

"Why are you smiling all the time?"
"Because it's all so fucking funny."

That was cribbed from some movie or another.

I suppose that the reason I personally write a blog is to entertain...myself. Any one else who enjoys it enough to comment, is a separate pleasure of it's own and an appreciated one.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Jo,

Pretty in pink, I say!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Compared to their fans, the Detroit Redwings may as well be adepts and intellectuals.
I can just see new goalie Jimmy Howard looking up from his copy of War and Peace to say, "Nah. Those guys were pure William Burroughs.
You could say it was 'The Ticket that Exploded.'"

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

After a certain age, you sense and know these things.

I am thinking of Joseph Heller's exploration of mid-life crisis in "Something Happpened."

Seems every second paragraph begins or ends with ha-ha.

Not the a-ha! response, but the ha-ha response.

Cheers

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

p.s. to JR,

That pic of you in the hot tub was cut and pasted all over the blogs.
I have heard of people stealing outhouses on Halloween, but you went and hijacked an entire hot tub from an absent neighbour.

I in fact, stole that picrure, as you know and used it on my own blog.
Readership went right up.

Donnetta Lee said...

Yes, well, it's all entertainment, isn't it? It keeps bloggers occupied. Gives them a giggle. Makes them think. Draws forth a tear. All entertainment. Ya gotta have a dog and pony show it seems.

Liz and I used to write gags and act out skits in younger days. And they were funny, too. At least, the two of us laughed. Even when nobody else did!

Donnetta

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

THE WALKING MAN (If you are around)

Mark,

You want to take an angle on what Donnetta has offered just above? I think it would be mawkish of me to try myself to explain.

...Or maybe somebody else who happens onto this page.

I do play the guitar and have been an entertainer.

Still am, I guess.

the walking man said...

There is entertainment and entertainment. I will admit that every blog I go to on a regular basis and the one I write is meant, as an end result, to entertain an audience.

The first entertainment is the one that puts up pictures and letters for friends and family to see so the blogger won't have to send a dozen letters out...in any blog spot blog there is a button at the top that says "next blog" hit it and follow the threads most blogs are meant as a personal communication between friends and family and the voyeuristic.

Blogs like Donetta's, yours, JR's, Middle Ditch, Charles, Josie's and so many others are written out of a need.

There is within some folks a need, to be known as a writer. Not a good speller or a user of the language in it's rule defined world but a writer, a person with heart and the ability to express it in words using a series of rules that are defined by the thoughts of that heart.

Van Gogh is the example that comes most readily to mind, he wrote but mostly letters to his brother asking for a few dollars more ( must have been a good writer because his brother always complied) but his passion, his art, was paint.

People of the age mostly didn't get it but he continued to produce it and now he is acclaimed as the best the 19th century offered to the world. Had he not left his "words" would anyone be entertained by them today?

Some of us struggle to get acclaim and wealth now through our art of words. We are the base that the acclaimed of the present stand upon. Some within our community want to see that name under a book title or anything else that is distributed to the population as entertainment.

And That Is OK. I don't demean or vilify that want or goal, I understand it, I wanted it myself and probably would not turn it down if it wasn't going to cost me anything that was precious to me...and agreed that whatever someone called entertainment for an audience was in fact that.

Yes we all have a different bent to our character, even them who say they are just boring little bloggers with no talent for writing, we write to hear ourselves think first but the entertainment is that our thought processes are skewered and that is what makes us honest writers regardless of what else is attached.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Mark,

Well, thanks for articulating this.

I have, in some coffee table books,been reading van Gogh's letters to his brother Theo. They easily hold up as literarure, and i know some straight writers who ape him when it comes to the condition of that kind of genius, Philip Roth being one. And all the movies.
There are times when I know I haven't got the art but bigod, I really suffer-- Like when somebody dummps a cement mixer full of sand by accident into my swimming pool.
Heh. Shows the paucity of my ideas.

We are, I think, all of us in dead earnest.
It's kind of do or die, innit?

the walking man said...

The dieing will come whether we do or don't put fingers to board. But doing it sure as hell makes the rides more interesting.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Yeah.

It gets you out.

The sonofabitch is that it seems to take you thiry years to learn plot.
And then (gasp) you discover character..