Around 3:30 this afternoon, my 4-year-old nephew called me. Sometimes he does this because he actually has something to tell me, and sometimes he does this because he wants to go to the park. While I appreciate that he thinks I’m cool enough to hang out at the park, I had just started watching Silent Hill and was trying to figure out what the fuck was going on (derp, what are video games?) and was generally unenthusiastic at the idea of leaving my couch.
“Hey kid,” I said. “What’s going on?”
“Well, right now I’m really bored.”
“Really bored? How come?”
“Because Mommy’s been relaxing for ten hours.”
At this point, I’m not thinking that Beck could be exaggerating. Because I am a worrier by nature and one of my prime worrying specialties is how on earth this child is going to live to adulthood, I immediately imagine that my sister – his Mommy – is lying on the floor after having a stroke or something.
“What do you mean, she’s relaxing? Is she sleeping?”
“No,” he says, and my lower intestine crawls back up my asshole where it belongs, “She’s awake.”
“Is she talking?” I ask.
“Well, is she just hanging out or has she even gotten out of bed?”
“She’s been in bed for ten hours!”
Then I hear my sister yell in the background. “DON’T YOU LIE!” she says. “TELL HER WHAT WE DID TODAY!”
“What did you do today, Beck?”
“Um, I don’t remember.”
“KNOCK IT OFF, YOU LIAR!” my sister yells in the background. “WE WENT TO THE PARK SO YOU COULD RIDE YOUR BIKE, THEN WE WENT TO THE CEMETERY*, AND THEN WE BUILT YOUR BAT CAVE TOY!”
Then Beck starts arguing with her. I can’t understand what he’s saying, but I know he’s sassing her because he’s recently developed That Tone. And I don’t need to be right in front of him to know that he’s making That Face, too, this shitty little scowl he’s picked up when he’s trying to imply that you must be an idiot or something.
“GIVE ME THAT PHONE,” my sister says, and he snottily says “Well, take it.”
She gets on and tells me what they did that day, and that she most certainly has gotten out of bed. She says she asked Beck what he wanted to do but he couldn’t decide, all he knew was that he wanted her to stand up while doing nothing instead of sitting on the couch. When she told him that she couldn’t conceive of why she’d do that when he didn’t have any ideas, he replied that if she wouldn’t stop relaxing, he was just going to call Aunt Erin and Uncle Ben and see what they had to say about it.
“Erin,” he said, “I’m so bored.”
So I went over there. I mostly finished Silent Hill first, but didn’t get all the way to the end because I thought the mother absorbing the child demon was just too ridiculous to continue. Also, I realized that Silent Hill is a great example of why I never mix meth, LSD, and gothic impulses from my adolesence.
After I hung out with Beck for awhile, I came back home and spent some time dicking around with my crappy Internet connection. Now I’m sitting here clicking through Tumblrs, which isn’t a very productive or interesting way to spend a Saturday night, but at least it’s given me a couple of insights:
While I admit that kids (ie, anyone under the age of 22) who have grown up with the Internet all their lives do make pretty good gifs and stuff, it bothers me that they call their Tumblrs “blogs.” Because they’re not. “Blog” is short for “weblog” and traditionally, a “log” isn’t filled with photos of yourself and tiny moving pictures. A blog is for writing, not for filling up with 200 pages of jokey pictures in the space of a month and a half.
Unless you’re writing on it, a Tumblr is not a blog. Yeah, you guys seem to think it’s the only blog-ish server in the entire universe, but some of us are older than you and we remember the days of LiveJournal. And Xanga. And Typepad. At least two of which are still around but are now even less popular than MySpace.
So. If you’re reposting pictures and jokes and songs and maybe making gif files out of episodes of the new 90210 (and I can’t even with that show), please don’t call your little Internet project a blog. If you want to call it a blog, you’re going to have to start writing entries that do not contain the phrase “and I was like” more than once.
Hey, lookit that, I thought I was done…
AND another thing, Kids Today. For all your Internet expertise, you know shit about etiquette. Bitching about losing one follower out of the thousands you have is a dick move. I know that because you have never known a life without reality television, you just assume that everyone is entitled to fame and the ability to speak in soundbites. But you’re not, and complaining about being just a fraction less popular on the fucking Internet of all places is ridiculous and rude.
But I guess all of this makes sense. If you grow up on the idea that popularity is the single most important thing to accomplish in life, then what you offer the world becomes the most widely appealing, nanosecond-length attention span-grabbing, easily-digestible stuff you can find. Which is what Tumblr is perfect for. I don’t mean this as a dig against Tumblr (if I wanted to do that, I’d mention their constant fucking infrastructure failures), it’s just that its format is massively appealing to a generation of people that have been trained to do no more than this. This generation has mistaken creativity for regurgitation, and unfortunately, as the ones who, for better or worse, consume most of the Internet, they have found some sort of legitimacy doing so.
With that said, Kids Today, I do still mostly enjoy your Tumblrs. Just don’t call them blogs.
* That kid is really into cemeteries. Every time we drive by one, he asks if we know anyone in there. When my sister drove past the military cemetery earlier today, she decided to show him his great-grandparents’ headstones and explained that when you come visit someone in a cemetery, you should say a prayer. He sang the snack prayer song from his preschool.
To paraphrase Courtney, the new 90210 is the shit!
I just went back and looked, and actually that was a direct quote. It’s the shit.