Thursday, April 17, 2008

Compelling

Here is a secret.

Everything I know about blogging, I learned from Howard Stern.

Good radio, he says, is compelling. If listeners are compelled to listen, then the show gets ratings. It doesn't matter if folks like it or dislike it. If it is compelling, they will listen.

My glutenous ego dictates that the Lounge have readers, many of them, and so I try, at least, to be compelling.

That begins with a hook. The first line, the very first thing after the usually-obscure title, is what the readers read. I often spend quiet time in silence with my eyes closed, pondering that first line. Often it is the last thing I write. Sometimes it writes itself.

Then there is the twist. Often it is the end-bit that comes to me first. Then, I just have to write the seemingly non-related story that leads to it. And presto, we have a Lounge post.

You will notice that nowhere in the Lounge, or my description of it, do I use the word "Musings." Musings are shit. No one cares. Why bother?

Likewise, I will rarely relate the days events or provide a personal update, unless there is some punch line I can pull from the facts. Generally, with the exception of very few of you, I don't really care how your day is going. In turn, I don't expect you to care about mine.

And that, my friends, leaves us with comments.

As Inog is very fond of pointing out, most folks come only for the comments, mostly to read their own. However, most folks will at least give a cursory glance over the post itself, first.

In my mind, the comments section is a playground. An absolute forum for free speech. Much is said there, mostly at my expense. And over the last three years, I have come to categorize the commenters.

First there is me. I am always witty and sparkly. If you particularly enjoyed a comment, it was probably written by me.

Second, there is the closely-held cabal of long-time ball busters. I can name 5 or 6 of you right off the top of my head. In truth, there are probably about 8 or 9 of you, who consistently come up with witty, well-thought-out barbs, again, usually at my expense. These are the superstars. These are the spice.

Third, we have the truth police. There are three or four of you in this category. You keep me honest. Which can be fun, but not always.

Fourth, we have the snipers. Four or five of you who read daily and comment occasionally. Usually, whatever you have to say is pithy and worth reading.

Fifth, we have Anonymous in all of its many splendid varieties. Anonymous, Other, The Hat, the Panties, Kansas, whatever... Anonymous is me. Anonymous is you. If you haven't been anonymous yet, you should give it a whirl. There is freedom and power in speaking your identity-less mind

Six, we have the fuzzy bunnies. The literalists. The cheerleaders. Always cheerful, always game. Enthusiastic, but not always judicious. Not everyone can see the game you're playing, but I can.

And last, the lurkers. Regular readers who visit us every day. I know you're there. I see your shadows. Yet, you never comment. You never contribute. You never say "Hi." Yes, the Lounge is rough and tumble, but at heart, we're an OK bunch of misfits. C'mon in. the water's fine.

And so, in the last couple of weeks, I have received a shocking and surprising number of private complaints from many long time readers regarding the quality of comments as of late. The quantity has exploded, but I am told that the quality suffers.

It has been suggested by more than a few that I limit and moderate the comments. Several have suggested that I select only those that I find compelling enough to pass through the filter.

To that, I say this: the Lounge will remain, for better or for worse, an absolute forum for the free expression of ideas, no matter how big or how small, how left or how right, how right or how wrong, how titillating or how banal. There is room enough for Battlestar and NASCAR, gay clubs and minivans, Obama and McCain, Scotch and beer, tits and ass, Christina and Scarlett...

And that, I think, is the flavor of the Lounge, which is, I hope, compelling enough in itself.

I will do my part to write the most titillating posts I can. And if you really want the comments section to be exciting and provocative, don't just complain to me about it, go write a compelling goddamn comment!

32 comments:

  1. My critique about the comments is a polite way to reflect on the content of the post itself. Your post drives the readership. By opting for quantity over quality, you have succeeded in one at the expense of the other. And in this post, you have gone so far as to perpetuate your own lie. You break your readership down into seven classes. You claim to love and praise them all. And I know that is bullshit.

    You may have studied Howard Stern, but you missed some of the key lessons.

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  2. other7:16 AM

    I was named in this blog! Happy happy joy joy!

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  3. The Lounge will remain, for better or for worse, an absolute forum for the free expression of ideas, no matter how big or how small, how left or how right, how right or how wrong, how titillating or how banal. There is room enough for Battlestar and NASCAR, gay clubs and minivans, Obama and McCain, Scotch and beer, tits and ass, Christina and Scarlett...

    Amen...

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  4. True... as they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity!

    There's room enough for all that... AND discussions about the sex/reproductive lives of Marge and Helly ;-)

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  5. I have to agree with Inog. You are a Democrat now so you can't love everyone, that would be too damn born again for you.

    My only complaint about the comments is that they have lost a focal point of making you look bad. What happened to the days when you wrote a post and then we poked fun at how stupid it was.

    Its not like your writing is getting any better. Maybe your readers are just getting more stupid. You make something free and put it out there for everyone, and the idiots who have the loudest voice will rise to the top.

    Just look at our politicial system.

    Brian, I think we should make the commentors more accountable for what they say. WARNING: If you are writing something just for the attention and it lacks any sort of substance, Kentucky is gonna git ya!!

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  6. Exactly Helly.

    And you know what my doc said about the pill? "Well there is a 1% failure rate."

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  7. Sounds like Dr. B woke up on the wrong side of the dentist chair this morning.....

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  8. I think Howard's key lesson, to which you refer, is to be honest, with both yourself and your audience. However, a little bit of lie in the truth makes it more palatable. Mary Poppins' spoonful of sugar, and all that...

    And as such, sure, I perpetuate my own lie with every post.

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  9. And you know how they have that time period after the procedure, where the remaining sperm still needs to be flushed out before he's completely shooting blanks? We're gonna wait twice the recommended time just to be on the safe side.

    I used to sing that song backwards: "just a spoon full of medicine helps the sugar go down..."

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  10. And Dr. Brian is right, the comments should be all about me.

    And, if you spout drivel, Kentucky's gonna git ya...

    Fair warning...

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  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. Marge and I are carrying on intelligent conversation, yet it isn't about you. So where does that put us?

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  13. So, if the comments should all be about Mr. G&T, here's a question for you, when are you getting the snip snip?

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  14. A haircut? ya, I should get one this weekend, it's starting to touch my ears.

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  15. Kentucky10:34 AM

    Ok, Where's my headless Helly doll?

    A new rule Bukaroos...There should be a limit to 3 Helly and Marge comments per post. After that, its just a stupid conversation that no one really gives a shit about.

    In my Simon voice...sorry, just being honest.

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  16. the goat10:37 AM

    Hey Leah! You're no longer the most hated commenter!

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  17. I would, at this time, invite everyone to comment as either Helly or Marge...

    hurray for butt plugs!

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  18. You like to stir the pot Helly, I love it...good lord, we had two conversations...

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  19. Well you know how it goes. If Anonymous hadn't gotten Annoyed, I probably wouldn't have been as dogged. Negative attention, and all.

    p.s. butt plugs? Nooo... nothing but the full-size deals, thank you very much :-P

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  20. p.s. i'm just waiting to see what kinds of words "fake Marge" will put in your mouth ;-)

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  21. I would rather have the gay guy do me in the ass. Wait, then he wouldn't be gay anymore. Maybe then my ass would be so sore that I would forget about putting so many comments on Brian's blog.

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  22. We're so alike, if anonymous would get off our backs, I'd probably post more "interesting" comments and not have personal conversations with you about IUDs and birth control pills, but you know...shouldn't piss the girls off I guess

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  23. I know, spooky, isn't it! You're in Oregon, right? Next time we visit up there, you and I will have to meet up!

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  24. Yes, Oregon. Maybe we can all get together with the G&T family and let the kids run amuck.

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  25. That would be awesome. I didn't get to meet Ace last time I was up. And I think our kids would have a blast! We'd been hoping to come up there this summer, but I don't think time will permit. Maybe winter? Get a feel for what winter is REALLY like up there!

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  26. Indiana11:04 AM

    Shut the fuck up Helly and Marge.

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  27. West Virginia11:04 AM

    Shut the fuck up Helly and Marge

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  28. Maybe I should stop making comments now. No I won't, I cant get the clue.

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  29. Wow we are ruining Brian's blog. Oh well! As long as we get all the attention.

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  30. This is how we know Anonymous (and all his aliases, including 'helly' and 'marge') is a guy-- only a guy could miss the concept of "the more you antagonize, the more we persist"...

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  31. I doubt very much that in a week there will even be a blog to comment on. Honestly, we really dont care what you two have to say anymore. But, you just keep doing what you want because you know whats best.

    Its all been fun kids... B.S. out

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  32. Oh, get off your high horse, Dr. B.

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Be compelling.

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