Saturday, September 23, 2006

BBB:- The 101 of how a blogger takes advantage of you!

Dear reader, if you have the intention if reading this till the end, be forewarned that I couldn't care any less about feeding your ego than I would to feed any other blogger's. If that disturbs you, find something else to read.

There are some futile questions that if you ask yourself (if you ever do!), the odds that your brain will give you a General Error Message are more than those of giving you a decent answer. One of those questions that pop up occasionally in a genie-of-the-bottle-like fashion is why on earth do people bother and write that much on their blogs? There are endless possibilities that could pass for an answer, or that could be passed for answer if you're in the mood to believe them. Usually, it's "fortune" and its what some bloggers depend on when they write, and hope for heavens that you won't notice the contradiction between the context and the title and header of the blogs, or that the context is a total sham (like a straight middle-easterner starting a gay-right rally, YEAH RIGHT!) or is stolen from somewhere else. You know…some people do blunt things such as writing the "purpose" of their blog as a header, and it's usually irrelevant. Perhaps they just assume that you aren't that smart to notice the contradiction. Or perhaps things like selling you some too-good-to-be-true things, or even copying things. That's the 101 of taking advantage of your ignorance, which makes blogs prosper. You have a brain that can think, otherwise, and you don’t need to be fed an opinion.


When somebody writes about issues that are of common interest, it's almost like borrowing your opinion. Think of a raw piece of clay, borrowed modeled properly and then handed it back to you with lipstick. And you would happily read that, thinking "What a brilliant writer". It doesn't make writers sound good, but it doesn’t make you sound that good either…or does it?

It's just a simple explanation to why sometimes people do agree with this writer, but not another one. Why other people would agree with the other writer and not the first one. It's all about picking the right pond to fish about. It just happens to be your reader-brain really. You could sue for copy-rights if you could only prove that the thought was yours, it's called "Taking advantage of your simpleton of a reader-brain". Perhaps if you could prove that you've thought about that first, you could claim copy rights. Yes I'm giving you a reason to sue one another, to get you busy and keep you from blogging or reading blog that often because you induce so much brain damage, whether you're on the "innocent reader" end or the "evil blogger" end..or even "hanging in the middle" like myself.

I'm not saying that there aren't any really brilliant writers who do bother fish in their own brains for things to say, rather than just falling categorically into a mainstream of their taste for one reason or the other. But in topics like politics, there's a specific bunch of trends and it takes a real genius to come up with something new, and very often even when there's something new, it's already been chewed by somebody else somewhere else before that it isn't new at all, it's just "taking advantage of your reader-ignorance". Yes, it's a widely-made assumption that you’re an ignorant, regardless whether you do blog or not. That accounts for the masses and masses of bloggers who happen to consider themselves the Gods of knowledge. There should be a reserve for original writers because they're "endangered species"…endangered by extinction, that is. And there also should be a reserve for "not-quite-ignorant" readers, who are endangered by pretty much any blogger in sight. (I know what you're thinking. Me too).

Some people actually write for the sake of agreeing comments. It's satisfying to see how many people agree with you, that's the "feeding the ego" process that you're tricked to do for free. Some people write because it helps them get over some things that are taking advantage of your presence to whine and feel heard. I write because some of these things get on my nerves and it feels better to phrase them and throw them at you, and I call that "your problem", specially if you willingly read it then dislike it. You can't deny that I do fish in your brain occasionally!

As I was saying, I occasionally fish in your brain as well, just out of catching up with the trend (That's called ME being STYLISH). While fishing around, here's an inventory of what I found… I've found a nice pair stilettos in some lady's brain, a ton of paperwork in some guy's pond of a brain (I was interested in the first, and tempted to can some termite from the nearest forest for the latter). I also found some great deal of whining, spiteful emptiness and an even greater deal of nonbeing, which did a great job at making my life seem like heaven (There's an occasional advantage to reading!!).But all of that makes it harder for me to throw my bate and catch something better than shoes that will be fashionable again in a decade, family that don't seem to be leaving anytime soon, a life that sucks, paperwork to be done or anything else meaningful. At the best cases, there is a handful of shakers and a load of public-opinion-repeating parrots to pry at. Did I just say parrots? Well, I didn't mean that, I just meant it in terms of how they "repeat" things, never coming up with anything genuine. Add to that my sincere apologies to parrots for that horrible-horrible offense. At least when they do talk, they don't lie.

You, the reader, aren’t usually held in such a high-high regard unless there's a benefit coming from you (Don't ask, some bloggers already know it and some other readers know it too). In that case they politely take advantage of your presumed ignorance and their words are more often decorated to make you feel "RIGHT". Personally, I'm just telling you what I think is going on. That's called "my not-so-humble" opinion. I guess you know that already. But see, in the end it isn't any of my business if somebody is taking advantage of your brain or your bank account or your benevolence (The regular 3-Bs that bloggers take advantage of), because I get the kicks and the laughter just at that. Poor you!

If that bugged you that much, here's a word to comfort you. I also read blogs, leave comments and sympathize / let myself get fooled or whatever. No-no-no, not that I'm too great to be stupid, no-no, I'm the average reader as well (occasionally) AND the writer who does all of these horrible things to you…so we all are on the same boat…eh, sort of.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Who cooked an H5N1+ goose?

Let's suppose that the post is a goose and the blogger is a cook. So writing is like cooking a goose, and my part comes when the goose is served. That's when I extract my fork and knife and politely try to taste it, though I do make some exceptions and instead of the fork and knife, when I roll up my sleeves and work my way through with nails and teeth. Now some of them are just the right taste, the right amount of spice and well cooked, but some of them are under or over-cooked, too much salt and spice or none at all, and occasionally rotten geese. It just causes my stomach to actually turn, my face to turn green, and my mouse to instantly go to that tiny little red button in the upper right corner, which all of a sudden looks so tempting. There's one goose that I've been sniffing around for such long time now, and I've been considering it for quite a while, had the smell not been overwhelming. Now, what I thought was a badly-cooked goose turned out to be an H5N1+ goose, it had bird flu and it's still served. If you'd excuse me, that's a nails-and-teeth issue.

The infamous blogger is Zeyad of Healing Iraq. Now I'm pretty sure I will have nails and teeth digging after me, I'll make sure I will confess about that when I start caring. Anyway, so the blog's titled Healing Iraq which could have been the case when he first started posting, and which definitely is no longer relevant to his current writings. As it comes, it does take a decent amount of 7Up to go through his blog, if you know what I mean. There are better ways of saying it, but it can't come out any differently so excuse me here, he does make some shoes go shiny!

I don't want to talk about the biography that is there. It's yet another goose that's stuffed with ego. "Thou should never overlook the knowledge I bestow upon thee":

"I was the first Iraqi blogger to open a comments section on the blog thus facilitating and encouraging communication and exchange of ideas. I also took it upon myself to get other Iraqis to blog, in which I succeeded to some degree. It has been quite a pleasure to watch those other bloggers become well known names in the blogosphere."

Yes, yes..and yes. But giving you credit is what people are there for, not what you're there for. I really hope that your next step won't be crediting yourself for the expansion of the Iraqi blogosphere. You have inspired some people; just have enough modesty not to mouth off about it. I just hope you won't save the world from the apocalypse or anything, because then we will be tormented by an oversized ego, that the apocalypse would seem like the lesser of two evils.

The most recent post of September 4th, titled "Gunman Shoots Tourists in Amman", and which you can find in the September archive, is nothing interesting really. Al-Jazeera made some very partial reports about the Amman gunman incident; he pointed that out and left a link to the reflections of the Jordanian blogosphere, and it just ends there. Nothing to quote, there was nothing to look at in the first place.

There was this August 23rd post titled Aqaba left me quite baffled. First, and as he's already aware of himself, he's acting like a tourist guide. Second, "Healing Iraq…?" and third would be "If we're interested in going, we will. If we're interested in knowing, we can google". There was a thorough recount of Aqaba's history, which I doubt anybody is interested in, and upon giving it a thought the only thought that is creeping in your mind would be "is that dedicated to letting us know how much of a genius he really is, and how much does he know?". There was this part I found hilarious about the Urchins where he goes like:

"We had a short swim at the resort, until an unsuspecting Iraqi friend of ours was pricked in the foot by the spines of a black sea urchin (Diadema antillarum)."

Yes, now we know you know that much or that you've dug into wikipedia that much, but I do think that the majority of people will recognize the creature by its common name, and if they don't, they're even less likely to recognize its Latin name. Doesn't take that much thinking…or does it? Sometimes all it takes is a tiny addition to make people look ridiculous. A historian, a scientist and a tourist guide, I'm trying to be impressed, but my advice is "Give wikipedia some credit"

If you would please scroll down on the same page of the archive as Aqaba, since I'm too tired to go look around for direct links to each post, I'll just talk about it. There's this post titled Visa Update, which I read with complete disdain regarding Zeyad. I do understand the urge with which every individual is struggling to leave Iraq to find and create a home elsewhere, to start fresh and live normally where their potential and skills are appreciated and put to proper use. However, there's a certain lack of appreciation towards those whose efforts to do that are intertwined and every so often synonymous to kissing up for that purpose. Sometimes, while you read a post, you hear the "we Iraqis" and the "I, as an Iraqi" and so on, but you get no sense, whatsoever, of him belonging there or being one, in what seems to be an effort to shake off that identity and be more convincing at being somebody else, in his eagerness to be somebody else that is. It is as though the blog is there to mark the transformation of his character from an Iraqi to an American wannabe. Excuse me if I'm being harsh or vicious here, but that's my frank opinion.

The posts in which he's talking about Iraq, he comes across as a person who's detached from reality, the way any non-Iraqi friend of mine would look onto things and reflect upon them. He has this tendency of overflowing with information that aren't that necessary to know, that are useless and that aren't even interesting to read through, like the chunks of information in the August 17th post titled "Unrest in Karbala" where he's giving a not-so-brief introduction of Mahmoud Al-Hassani:

" Mahmoud Al-Hassani is a former disciple of Ayatollah Mohammed Sadiq Al-Sadr (Muqtada’s father) based in Karbala, briefly imprisoned by Saddam’s regime in 1999 following Sadr’s assassination. He initially pledged allegiance to the remnants of the Sadrist movement that emerged directly after the 2003 war - as did other former representatives and followers of the second Sadr (such as Abdul Sattar Al-Bahadili, Ahmed Al-Fartousi, and Hazim Al-A’raji.) By the time Muqtada Al-Sadr assumed a central role in the leadership of the Sadrist current, Al-Hassani broke off and headed his own Sadrist fringe movement with a limited hardcore following, mainly in Karbala, Basrah and Nasiriya."

I read through his blog, and I get the image of a young man whose life-time dream is to live in the Big Apple, to fit in there and to be accepted and successful in that society. But amidst all of that, he's dumped his identity, and with honesty I say I behold nothing but despise towards that kind of people. Lighten up on the shoe-shining process Zeyad, and please…there are too many egos that expand and expand and get stuck somewhere down our throats. Brilliant blogger? Perhaps. Just stop crowning yourself, that’s what everybody else does. Oh, and another thing…America's about the blend of culture, try maintaining yours. You don't sound that good at it and you weren't even there yet!

There isn't much to quote. I can see that there's a wide base of support, most of which is non-Iraqi. Makes me wonder who is he writing for, but then I see the writing, and I realize what's going on. The goose got sick, the goose stinks, and he isn't getting a better one...he's just serving us a goose with bird flu.