Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In which the Meridian muses that now he can perhaps stop selling his blog out of a car trunk

Ariel of Bittersweet Life has tagged me as an Indie Blog. Lest you think this is some faux, Fox Searchlight or Focus Features kind of indie designation, think again: As Ariel's description of what an Indie Blog makes clear, the definition we're working with here is, Indie="cool," as in "quirky and unknown."

That's this blog all over.

I would have posted this earlier, but somewhere in here is the first step on a slippery slope. Acknowledgment is, of course, "cool," but man: too many people know about you, and there goes the coolness factor, supplanted by cries of "sell out!" And, in reference to the "cool=unknown" dynamic, which I've mused about before, I cannot ignore the fact that the sentiment expressed below is applicable in spades to the very blog in which they appeared:

It's not hard, then, to find "cooless" suspect: maybe certain bands or writers, let's say, are unknown to all but a few initiates for a reason--they SUCK! And if your tastes in music run toward such bands/writers that suck, well, then, why should I buy into your anti-hype of "Nobody's heard of 'em!!"? But then again, I'm not cool, 'cause I'm, like, old, even if I do have a blog, so what do I know?

Which brings me, uncomfortably, to this post's other point: This, like, old guy is now going to tag five other bloggers and designate them as "indie blogs." I just hope that the below-tagged won't see their below-taggedness as implicitly suggesting that they are some old guy's idea of coolness, and not, in fact, cool to a degree approaching metaphysical certainty. So--if you're not embarrassed to acknowledge your designation as an Indie Blog, visit and link to Ariel's post, choose one of the badges he's created (he's made six, but in true DIY spirit, he encourages you to make your own if his aren't to your liking), and tag five (or so) blogs that you think worthy of the Indie tag.

Below the fold: my choices. This is by no means an exhaustive list--others will appear on future lists. I wanted to point people in the direction of blogs I like that don't get a lot of linkage. Also below the fold: a eulogy of sorts.

327 Market. Long-time readers know I'm a big fan of Camille's blog, and a large part of the reason why is that I literally never know what I'm going to find when I visit. Her current post, for example, shows--and explains--her, um, friendly engagement with a Miró sculpture--something, I assure you, she's never posted before in the years that I've been reading her blog.

Delights for the Ingenious. When he blogs, Fearful Syzygy blogs, mostly, about popular culture--which of course means "just about anything."

Either/Or. Mary writes elegantly about the intersection(s( between Christian spirituality, philosophy (especially cultural theory), and popular culture.

Hyygeia's Big Adventure. Hyygeia ostensibly blogs about bike-riding; but, seeing as her blog is pretty new, it's liable to be about anything. An engaging, upbeat tone to her writing.

The New York Minute. Jim is another blogger I've mentioned often here for some time now, and someone who posts all too infrequently for our collective good. Jim's eye catches the sorts of details that others would miss, thus casting a light on our world that creates shadows we're not accustomed to seeing.

The Phenomenal Field. Cordelia's blog isn't quirky (not a bad thing at all, mind), but her writing as every bit as elegant as that of the bloggers she admires.

Tales from the Microbial Lab. "Gardening. Science. Poetry. Life." All this and, of late, preparing to move into an Airstream trailer while her new house is being built. It's a mash-up of a blog, but Pam makes it work. Most posts are accompanied by marvelous pictures of flowers and insects Pam sees in her garden.

Finally: thinking and writing about whatever it is that makes a blog "indie" gives me a chance to say farewell to what for my money was and is still the epitome of indie-ness, Hank's blog A Lake County Point of View. Hank recently announced that he would no longer update his blog; the good news, though, is that he hasn't taken it down. Hank's posts defy neat encapsulation--"typical" posts are all-at-once tours through art, music, science (particularly botany), history, and vignettes from Hank's own life, often with David Foster Wallace-like footnotes and, even, footnotes-within-footnotes. They serve as demonstrations of the idea that all knowledge is interconnected. What makes his blog such a joy to read is Hank's obvious delight in conveying all this to his reader. He's never happier than when he's writing about something that he's just learned. In short: If there's a blogger I'd love to be more like, it would be Hank.

I hope you'll pay a visit to these good people and, in so doing, catch indie-blog fever.


Sheila said...

Aw, man, I was reading Blog Meridian back when it was cool. Now they've gone and done John Buaas like they did Nick Drake.

Justkidding justkidding justkidding.

You're still cool (and -- a not insignificant distinction -- you're alive).

John B. said...

Yeah, Sheila. I hear you. It's like what happened to Nirvana when they released Nevermind: to release a record that introduced most of the world to grunge that is simultaneously called a sellout by those who Knew Them When.

My street cred is teetering on a knife's edge, I tell ya.

Ched said...

to a degree approaching metaphysical certainty

I like your phraseology here;

John B. said...

Thanks for dropping by and for the kind words.
Maybe this Indie Blog thing will catch on, eh?

debra said...

Congratulations, my friend! You deserve every ounce of recognition you get - whether it makes you "cool" or not.


Cordelia said...

I'm honored ! But I can't let you slide on this one: define quirky.

John B. said...

I was afraid you'd ask that, Cordelia. I suppose the synonym that comes to mind would be "weird" or "unexpected." It may be that in your blog's archives you have something that would fit that description. But it's not a bad thing not to be "quirky"--especially when the writing is as good as yours is.

I'm glad you feel honored. I hope some people will find their way toward your place.

Cordelia said...

Ha, ha. I'm up too late, but had to comment that I went to Ariel's blog and got myself an Indie label. Very sly how the ones that say "Indie" in the middle and "you're probably not cool"/ "enough to have heard of me" absolutely captures the metaphysical certainty you wrote about: if you're here, you're probably not cool. So you're uncool. Which is cool. Which is soo uncool, and round it goes.

dd said...

ah, another victim of one's own success...

BruceA said...

Hey, that's a really cool honor, and you definitely deserve it.

Ariel said...

Defying the acronym, I was laughing out loud at the modest skepticism that pervades this post. But there can be no metaphysical uncertainty when you write stuff this good. You're cool, there's no getting around it. We can only hope that this blog stays underground a little longer.

I'm going to check out your picks, there are a few I haven't heard of before. Dividends of the indie project are already rolling in...

Pam said...

I am honored. I'm going to call all of my friends and tell them that I may be scattered, but I also may be cool. (They won't believe it though!).

And the County Clerk is back, if less frequently. That's something that we are all happy about.

Hyygeia said...
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Hyygeia said...
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Hyygeia said...

Um, John,
I am humbled and flattered by your nomination. Like the audio-visual squad of my generation that has now come of age, it is hard for me to imagine that Hyygeia's Adventure might be of interest to anyone. Thank you for the vote of confidence and I'll try not to disappoint (or bore, or offend, or appall, or disgust, or .....) any of your erudite readers who may stop by. Thanks again and what fun!

12:11 AM