Sunday, September 24, 2006

They hae slain the Earl O'Murray and laid him on the green

The mondegreen is a phenomenon I discovered long before I learned its name, when I sang 'There is a land where southern skies / are gleaming with a thousand eyes' all the way through primary school before discovering my mistake.

A mondegreen, for anyone who doesn't already know this, is a creative mishearing of sung lyrics in which the brain, struggling to make sense of signals from the ear (in much the same way as it struggles to make sense of signals from the eye when you come out into the kitchen one morning to find there's water running down the walls because the hot water service has exploded: no no, says the brain, there must be a less expensive explanation), comes up with a mishearing that changes the original meaning but still makes at least a modicum of sense. Hence, instead of the correct but much duller 'thousand dyes', my apparently paranoid infant ear came up with 'southern skies are gleaming with a thousand eyes', an image that when I think of it even now, much less then, sends shivers up my spine.

But to the mondegreen. The traditional ballad The Bonnie Earl O'Murray contains the line 'They hae slain the Earl O'Murray and laid him on the green', misheard by the woman who coined the word as 'They hae slain the Earl Amurray and Lady Mondegreen.' Mondegreens usually rise from unfamiliarity with the words, concepts or syntax of the original, hence the best ones tend to come from children, particularly when struggling with the traditional language and stories of Christianity: the teddy called 'Gladly the cross-eyed bear', or that Christmas favourite, 'A Wayne in a Manger'.

Kids in particular tend to insert proper names, a way of making lyrics familiar by innocently inserting people they know: still on Christmas, we have 'Barney's the king of Israel' and 'Olive, the other reindeer', while in more patriotic mode there's 'José, can you see?'

The Wikipedia entry for 'Mondegreen' offers this meta-example:

'"It's hard to wreck a nice beach" ... originates in a story, perhaps apocryphal, about one of the earliest speech recognition programs being presented, at a demo, with someone saying "It's hard to recognize speech" and producing that phrase as the output. Regardless of the truth of the story, this mondegreen was used on a t-shirt given to Apple engineers who worked on the company's early speech-recognition software.'

And regardless of the truth of the mondegreen too, apparently. While 'It's hard to wreck a nice beach' makes perfect grammatical sense, it is obviously and demonstrably untrue: it is in fact fatally easy to wreck a nice beach. I've seen it done many times.

But when the erudite Tigtog left a comment a few posts back about eggcorns, and the equally erudite Laura posted a link to Language Log for further reference, I had no idea what either of them was talking about and had to go and investigate at once.

The eggcorn, it transpires, is a close relative of the mondegreen: again arising from unfamiliarity with, at least, the written version, an eggcorn is another sense-making operation in which you write down what you think you heard, aided (as with the mondegreen, and indeed with all folk etymology) by a kind of slippage of meaning in which the new version does make some kind of sense. An acorn is, after all, shaped sort of like an egg, and is, after all, a 'corn' or seed of an oak.

The difference between a mondegreen and an eggcorn is that the eggcorn does not depart from the original meaning, or at least not very far. I used to see a lot of eggcorns in my academic days: 'reigned in' for 'reined in' (both are to do with control) and 'honed in on' for 'homed in on' ('hone' being about sharpening things, including, presumably, focus) were the two most common.

My first encounter with someone else's eggcorn took place only a few metres from the Curramulka Primary School assembly site -- birthplace of the thousand gleaming eyes -- on the netball court, when a classmate insisted that the ball had gone out a bounce. Horrible pedantic infant that I was, I corrected her at once: 'Out of bounds,' I said schoolmarmishly. She stood her ground. She didn't know the word 'bounds' and as far as she was concerned the ball was out a bounce, because it had bounced out.

And for all I know, she's still saying it. I'm still singing 'summer skies are gleaming with a thousand eyes', after all.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's not a toy

And as first the mother and then the widow of the late Jake Kovco take the stand to testify at the inquiry into his death, the country's leader of ten years responds to the newly-revealed video footage of Australian soldiers in Iraq playing silly-buggers with their deadly Army-issue guns by saying that they're just 'letting off steam' and that the media are 'overreacting'.

I wonder if the PM has ever had a good look at a gunshot wound.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Word cloud

Cloud formed at SnapShirts.

Weasel words update ...

... and let's kick off with one I considered giving an entire post to itself:

Red-blooded male to mean 'Can't keep it in his pants and doesn't give a rat's who gets hurt'.

And now some more contributions from discriminating commenters:

address and not an envelope in sight

Aussie icon -- see susoz here for details

conquering as applied to mountains; the implication here is that the landscape is your enemy and must be bested. A great deal of second-wave feminist critique addressed itself to engaged with was about the idea of a feminised landscape and masculinist discourse of exploration being couched in implicitly gendered, if not overtly sexual, terms.

desperate bid for...


get some traction as applied to anything but a bogged-in-the-sand/mud situation


intertextualising esp. when incorrectly used, but 'intertextualise' even in the correct sense is a little bit on the nose as well. I would however go to the wall for 'intertextual'.

issues redux, when specifically used as a euphemism for 'problems'

losing his/her battle with cancer which constructs the processes of one's own body as somehow the Other, an enemy.

obligate -- what's wrong with 'oblige'?

passionate as business-speak, as in 'We are passionate about our clients', a sentence guaranteed to frighten even the most phlegmatic.

stay on task


they died doing what they loved -- someone somewhere (Crikey? Larvatus Prodeo?) commented after the death of Peter Brock so quickly after that of Steve Irwin (and I'd just like to point out here that the last car Brock had been driving before the one that spun out from under him was called a Stingray; cue X-file music) that Australians had better all stop doing what they love immediately, as it is clearly bad for our health.

(triple) benchmarking -- I can't even begin to imagine what this means. I've always thought 'benchmark' was a stupid word all by itself, but now that it's been verbed (and tripled, apparently) it has become completely meaningless.

More words we like:




Saturday, September 16, 2006

The seductions of blogging

Some weeks ago my dear friend Stephanie, a medievalist of international repute and definitely one of the more decorative full professors of my acquaint, set up a blog with the academic purpose of discussing and workshopping research proposals with colleagues and students. But her blog Humanities Researcher rapidly began to expand at the edges to include aspects of the personal (bikes, pianos, the frog in the creek) in a way that any blogger with a properly integrated life probably can't avoid for long.

Have a look, for example, at the lovely post for August 28, which resonated in my mind for a long time. It's a good illustration of the way that real scholars' (and real artists') minds work, going after and then mulling over tiny details and connections.

And while you're over there, click on the link (if you don't know it already) to Chaucer's blog, and discover whether or not he is hotte, and what he thought of the new cult movie, Serpentes on a Shippe! (spoylerez).

Harry Potter and the Great Big Security Guards

Now this is a conversation I wish I could have heard.

Note also the bit about Stephen King pleading with JKR to spare Harry's life.

(Also, do me a favour and stay out of the *&%$#@ comments box unless you've actually read the books. Ta.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Words we'd like to ban

Here for your edification and amusement is a summary of the list compiled a couple of posts ago by your humble and assorted commenters of the weasel words we most abominate at this point in time, going forwards:

actioning **NEW** 'Bored clerks have been actioning agenda items for some time now.'

at the coalface -- 'a glib little meaningless number which should only be applied to coal mines'

at the end of the day, 'except for those rare and precious crepuscular moments'

Aussie battler (with or without 'little') -- 'Though with rising interest rates, IR changes etc etc they're an endangered species, so it may drop from parlance without a helping shove.'

connection 'as it applies to fancying someone the utterer met on a reality TV programme ... The next time I hear some adolescent vacuum say "we really made a connection" I swear I will put my fist through the screen.'

devoted to his/her family, to mean 'married at least 3 times and have abandoned at least 2 kids to "move on" - "find yourself" and "now realise what fatherhood /motherhood can be and enjoying spending quality time with my (new) offspring"'

edgy to mean anything but 'jumpy and twitchy'

engage 'without a ring in sight'


finding oneself

fulsome wrongly used (as it nearly always is) to mean 'really, really, really a lot'

going forwards -- as distinct from going backwards, which, as we know, businesses do often also do. See also retromingent, below.


investment to mean 'We have charged you $850 to spend an hour drawing meaningless crayon doodles on butcher's paper, suckahs!'


journey to mean any new experience, particularly on a reality TV show

lifestyle (almost always refers to a life with no discernible style)

literally to mean 'really, really, really a lot', as in 'He was literally killed in that passage of play, and may have to spend the rest of the game on the bench.'

line in the sand


on the same page

outcomes (is this the opposite of incomes?)

pain except in the literal physical sense, as in 'I've felt no pain since I met my best friend Codeine'

seeking closure

take that offline

touch base **NEW**

the real me

Like most dead metaphors, these things were vivid figures of speech when first they were used; so vivid, in fact, that they caught on big-time. The whole purpose of metaphor is to make the abstract concrete: to provide an image that will give you an instant understanding of what's meant. Places like the coalface, the same page and the line in the sand, even now when these metaphors have officially carked it, still arise as images in our minds to show us exactly where we are in a conflict, a project or a transaction. But when repeated often enough, they become totally meaningless, as when you say the word 'purple' over and over again.

It's not that we don't get it. It's just that it drives us bonkers.

But here are some words we like:


cromulent **NEW**





resistentialism **NEW**

retromingent 'but that one is particularly hard to find a use for', says Mousicles. Pav had to look it up; it means 'urinating backwards'. Could this be the logical opposite of 'going forwards'?

schadenfreude This German word is pronounced SHAR-den-froy-duh and transliterates as 'shame-joy', referring to the guilty pleasure you feel when something dreadful happens to someone you don't like.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What do you mean, "femininity is a construct"?

Poor Twisty Faster, immobilised by ankle surgery, has been reading her junk mail. It includes a catalogue from the Patagonia people, who make outdoor and mountaineering clothing. See example at left: Patagonia's 'undercover cami', in fetching pinks, for girls who like to flash a little skin as they struggle up the snow-capped peaks at umpteen degrees below.

"Descriptions of Patagonia men’s clothing," says Twisty, "stick to technical aspects (’burly shell fabric’, ’a gasket-style neck forms a streamlined seal’), but when you’re a woman scaling El Capitan, guess what? You gotta be feminine. You need an ‘irrepressible knit that keeps its feminine shape.’ You need ‘feminine quilting throughout [to add] a touch of elegance.’ You need a ‘clean, feminine fit.’ You need a ‘a contoured bodice that flows princess-style to an elegant and feminine mid-thigh hem.’"

I suppose it would be possible to find writing that makes even less sense than this, but it would take some time. What constitutes masculine quilting? Do men not have thighs, or do their thighs not have middles? Is a masculine fit a dirty fit? Since when was it possible to have a contoured flowing princess-style bodice when this is, in fact, an double oxymoron? And why would any girl want to repress her knit?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Word Nerds' (Catty-)Corner

In a comments thread on a previous post in which I had used the expression 'catty-corner' to mean 'diagonally across from', the lovely and talented Ms Zoe from Crazybrave queried this expression, saying it was unfamiliar to her, though 'kitty-corner' was not. So I have been doing some research.

I had always assumed in some dim way that 'catty-corner' to mean 'on the diagonally opposite corner' was related to the adorable word 'cattywumpus', which I learned from Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone, who uses it somewhere to refer to a road that is neither parallel nor at right angles to (ie cattywumpus to) (or possibly from) the highway.

And so it has proved to be. If you check the Shorter OED, the two-volume one, you will see that the fourth definition of the word 'cater', derived from the French 'quatre' or 'four', is a transitive verb meaning 'to set rhomboidally; to cut, go, etc, diagonally. So Ca´ter adv. dial., diagonally. Ca´ter-cornered, a.'

Loftily, the Shorter OED fails to include 'catty-corner', but there is plenty of cyberspace attestation to the derivation of 'catty-corner' (and 'cattywumpus' as well) as an evolution of a corruption of 'cater-cornered'. That link indicates that the lovely and talented Ms Zoe and I were both correct, which is my very favourite mediation outcome.

'Cattywumpus' has been developed in my own personal idiolect to mean 'ickily askew' in either a literal or a metaphorical sense.

My researches accidentally uncovered another truly lovely word, 'catoptromancy', meaning 'divination by use of a mirror'. How lovely to find the name for something I do every day: I look in the mirror, see yet another line or spot, and divine that I had better get cracking sharpish on the ant/grasshopper thing.

I also found a 1673 usage of 'cat-witted' to mean 'small-minded, obstinate and spiteful'.


The attack of the killer psychobabble

Call me an enemy of free speech if you will, but I propose a total and permanent ban on the use of the word 'journey'.*

* Except where it refers to the departure from one non-metaphorical place in order to travel by car, train, donkey etc etc until one arrives at another non-metaphorical place.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Serves me right for asking

What kind of writer are you?

You're a Narrative writer!
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Yes, Virginia, you still rule

Still with the patriarchy-blamers, someone there has posted a link to one of the key texts of the 20th century. If you have never before got round to reading this charming, funny, brilliant and monumentally influential little book, now's as good a time as any. And I see with pride that it has been rendered into an e-text not fifteen k's from where I sit, thus.

Orginal cover by Woolf's sister, artist Vanessa Bell.


'A Room' coffee mug, by Penguin

'A Room' director chairs, tastefully arranged in a Woolfian gardenscape

'A Room' teatowel: IRONY ALERT

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Twisty Faster offers a tribute to the vanished Liz from Grannyvibe today at I Blame the Patriarchy. (Disclosure: your humble gets a mention, and I am so awed by this that I don't care whether 'Aesopian' is being used negatively or not. Nobody has ever called me Aesopian in my whole life before, so there is no guiding precedent.)

If we inspect the sacrificial entrails of the Twisty/Granny comments thread ('blogomancy', I call it) we can divine what the future of Australian health "care" will almost certainly shortly be; as a Medibank Private member grimly contemplating what will happen to me and my fellow-members when the Feds sell this particular chunk of the farm off to the all-important shareholders, I have a keen interest in what this comment thread reveals.

Commenter Pony from Canada is still coming to terms with their recent change of government and its effects on health insurance: 'Yes even here in Canada, as American for-profit companies are using the Free Trade agreement to barrel in and their co-conspirators, right-wing governments, happily hand over the keys to the tax-payer vault.'

Sound familiar?

And it gets worse: KMTBERRY writes 'As a person who has been a waitress and an artist for my entire working life, most of the people I know work at jobs that do not offer health insurance, and once you get say past 45, it is almost impossible to get even if you can afford it. Which one usually cannot, because the premiums exceed one’s monthly income. Read that again if you don’t believe it. That’s right: premiums for even shitty “disaster” insurance can be as high as $1500.00 a month. [That's US dollars, folks -- Ed.] People who don’t have health insurance aren’t stupid: there is a class war against them. There is no solution. You cannot earn enough money to buy it. You will not get hired by companies that offer it. Both of the people I know personally who were diagnosed with cancer, who did not have insurance, were essentially told to “go die”. (Which they did in short order.) That is here in Austin Texas. If you can make it to 65 without insurance, then you can get medicare, and that is what most hope for: to stave off cancer until the medicare kicks in.'

This is where we are headed.

Don't get sick.

Eddie's Nine gets its priorities right

I've just watched the first eleven minutes of Channel Nine's 6pm "news".

First item: the death of Peter Brock (which, as we know, happened yesterday afternoon) -- 5 minutes

Second item: the funeral of Steve Irwin -- 4 minutes

Third item: the Crows' final-quarter five-goal thumping of Freo in the first round of the AFL finals -- 2 minutes

Then there was an ad break. 'After the break, we'll look at the final day of the Royal Adelaide Show.'

Come 6.30, I'll switch over to SBS and see what's in the news.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Oh, not another one

Racing car driver Peter Brock has been killed, in -- more Irwinian irony here -- a car crash in WA.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

A fool for a bag of fairy floss

I accidentally went to the Royal Adelaide Show today. I didn't mean to, but I'd been out to Flinders to sing for my supper and that went well, so on the way home I saw the ferris wheel above the traffic and decided I had earned myself a treat and a few hours off, and slung a right off Anzac Highway instead of zooming straight on down West Terrace.

The whim thing meant of course no camera so I will attempt to do it justice minus pics.

First thing I see after I get through the gate is a ride whose name I have forgotten: two giant poles with a dirty big rubber band slung between them, in the middle of which four people in a flimsy-looking sort of chair thingy are being flung high into the air at speed. I high-tail it out of there and steer down Sideshow Alley to what is always my favourite part of the Show: Handicrafts Hall.

The First Prize winner in the Bread Sculpture section has done an entire Noah's Ark. All the female animals are considerably smaller than the male ones, which is good for two minutes of psychoanalytic interpretation, always a fruitful approach to a work of art. It's bloody clever, actually, with one elephant on the ground watching the procession up the gangplank and another elephant already on board and trumpeting; one giraffe looking up at the sky and the other one looking down at one of the hippos; one parrot flying and the other one balancing on the clothesline. They may all be two by two but none of them are side by side. The guy has really thought about it. (I know it's a guy, otherwise all the females wouldn't be so puny.)

Second Prize in the Open Honey has been won, says the card, by Elizabeth Taylor. I'm glad to see that she's found something productive and industrious to do in her later years.

I'm also glad to see that primary school children have taken to making passionfruit butter.

And that home-made finger buns look like the proper finger buns of yore.

I don't think the First Prize winner in the Smocking, a confected pink affair in nasty synthetic material, is a patch on the winner of Second Prize, which is a champagne silk christening outfit with some truly amazing, intricate, microscopic smocking. Of course one would not let an actual baby near it in a fit.

None of the alpacas spit at me.

The Anglo-Nubian goats have little silky ears and spooky barred eyes. There's a bunch of black-and-white baby goats with a sign over their heads saying 'We're three days old.'

I buy a three-dollar fluffy-black-and-silver tiara to wear at any future Adelaide grogblog with ThirdCat at it.

I buy two irises, called Imagine Me (pale brown and honey-cream) and Secret Melody (lavender and shell-pink), and get instructions from the nice iris man about soaking them in Seasol and so on. In the Hall of Irises (as I like to think of it) there is a man on the podium playing a bouzouki, the only instrument on the planet guaranteed always to bring actual tears to my eyes every God-damned time. The bouzouki music reminds me of the very first time I ever went to the show without a parent or grandparent in attendance: I went with my first-ever boyfriend, a beautiful, slender, black-and-gold Greek boy of fifteen with a James Dean sneer, and I don't remember a single thing about it except that I was with him.

I buy, from a gorgeous gypsy-looking girl wearing a fluffy pink halo not unlike my new tiara, a little bottle of bubble-blowing detergent with a special bubble-blowing attachment for the amusement of the cats.

'Cats', I think, and trudge up the ramp to see the show cats. There's a glorious Seal Point Siamese with a blue ribbon draped over the top of his cage. 'Hello, Gorgeous,' I say to him. 'Did you win?' The cat opens his lobelia eyes wide and turns them on me like headlights. 'Rheaaaowwrrk,' he replies.

There's a sleeping Maine Coon the size of a not particularly small dog, with paws like dinner plates, and an extraordinarily beautiful black and white Norwegian Forest Cat, also with paws like dinner plates.

I see no ferrets, and am disappointed.

Much fuss is being made this year about a Show delicacy called a Dagwood Dog. In the interests of science, I buy and eat one. It appears to be a form of fat, dipped in some kind of fat, and then deep fried, imaginatively, in fat. I calculate that it will take me eleven and a half days on the treadmill at the gym to work it off.

In one of the pavilions, the Christadelphians are catty-corner to the Army Reserve recruiting stall. I wonder if there's a connection, and, if so, what it is.

I have come at the absolutely wrong time of day for seeing the diving pigs.

Next year.

UPDATE: Separated at birth ...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A plague on both your houses

Proving yet again that intellectuals aren't necessarily gifted with street smarts, much less good hearts, Germaine Greer for all the good and great work she has done over the last 40 years still seems unable to resist giving the like of Tim Blair's drooling, slavering lynch-mob of fanboys a free kick (like she'd care; my point here is that she's stirred all knuckle-draggers up, which can't be a good thing) with her unnecessary trashing of poor dead Steve Irwin, while capering in her clown suit to amuse the Poms yet again with how crass and dumb Australians are. (Now there's a difficult task ... not; the Poms are all too willing to believe it.) Personally I find this treacherous as well as sad.

Don't read the Blair comments thread if you've just eaten; some of the vicious, hateful, moronic misogyny is very hard to stomach. Blair, as per his usual technique, doesn't say anything OTT awful himself, but the piercing shriek of the dog-whistle to his pack of rabid acolytes to come and do his dirty work has obviously been heard. You can tell by the way they've come running.

What is it with people's blind desire to belong? Look what dark and monstrous alleys of misjudgement this desire can lead you down. Germaine wants the Poms to love her. And Blair's fanboys want to be Blair's fanboys.

You're all mad.

A writer and educator, a visionary politician, and a motormouth conservationist walk into a bar ...

I've got this vivid mental picture of Don Chipp, Steve Irwin and Colin Thiele fronting St Peter and the pearly gates as a sort of Australian Olympic tag team (captain: C. Thiele) and vouching for each other's environmentalist credentials.

They say death comes in threes, so let's hope that's it for a while now.

Image from here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Paper cut

OWWWWW OW OW OW OW you moron why didn't you see that coming OW OW OW f*ckety f*ck f*ck OW OW OW OW OW that's going to hurt like a son of a bitch if I get lemon juice in it OW OW OW OW and it's going to take days and days to heal up and hurt every time I hit it on something OW OW it's as much the textural sensation as the pain it's like a knife going through meat s'pose that's what it is really ... eewwwww EWWWW OW OW OW OW F*CKING OW.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Eros Blogging and Psyche: a cautionary tale

Only a few weeks ago, I finally checked out a blog I'd seen on a few blogrolls here and there with what was to me the unpromising name of 'Granny Gets a Vibrator'. The blogger in question turned out to be a tiny but super-fit lifter of big heavy weights, a woman of exactly my own vintage whose mode of making a living remained unclear, but who had transplanted herself at some point from San Francisco to a little town in Louisiana.

I can't give you the link to her blog, because there no longer is one.

Liz@Grannyvibe was very amusing, and very intimate in some of her disclosures. I was deeply startled when she described herself as an extreme introvert, but then I remembered other bloggers who have talked about how satisfying it is to communicate via blogging without the sometimes-exhausting effort of actually being in a room with people. This resonates with me, as conviviality takes away from me, too, marginally more energy than I get from it, which is apparently how you decide whether you're more extro- than intro-, and I know what they mean.

The interesting thing to me about Liz was that she let the most extraordinary things hang out on a public-realm blog for all to see. Lots of people do it, but they don't all call themselves introverts. My guess is that it might have the same effect as talking to a therapist: a confessional mode directed at an unseen readership, at people who don't know you and therefore have no stake either way in what you have to say.

Still, I liked her toughness, I admired her physical self-discipline, I laughed at her jokes and I adored her aesthetic sense, visible in her garden, her house, the things she made and photographed, the things she said.

Then, only about three weeks after I began reading her blog, Liz mentioned she was having some kind of respiratory trouble. This escalated very rapidly into a desperate downhill-spiral wait for the test results to see whether she had inoperable lung cancer, which seemed very likely.

Last week the tests came back and Liz "only" has lymphoma. Still cancer, but treatable cancer. Psychologically I imagine this is an impossible situation to be in, roller-coastering from euphoria (It's not lung cancer, hooray) to despair (Oh my God, I've got cancer).

Into this already-volatile mix throw one 59-year-old alpha male, a painter whose words and actions demonstrate the kind of ego artists often have, Liz's lover, of unclear duration, to whom she refers as the Painter. In the wake of the medical news, they have a huge fight by email.

Liz then posts the entire fight, including the intimate emails from the Painter, verbatim, on her blog. Without asking him.

I am deeply, deeply shocked by this. I think of something I read recently in Michael McGirr's lovely book about his travels with his mum, The Things You Get for Free, something that strikes me as a profound and original thought: I can't find my copy but his idea was that the compulsion apparently peculiar to (not all, but many) Americans to announce even the most intimate details of their lives to a large audience, as on the Jerry Springer Show, often has as its corollary a deep personal shyness and reserve when talking to actual real familiar people face to face. This notion helped me to make a bit of sense of what Liz seemed to be doing.

In the many comments people wrote as a response to the 'Great Big Fight with the Painter' post, not everyone was fully on side. Several commenters took issue with one or other of the things that she had said. Obviously there'd been more fallout off-screen. Liz came into the comments box to say that it had all made her feel like taking the whole blog down altogether. And the next day, she did. When I went to check in on her and see how she was, I got Blogger's 'Not Found' window. The next time, I got redirected to an online supplier of sex toys.

I'd been reading Liz's blog for only a short while and had never left a comment on it. I'm not at all sure we'd get on in person. But I miss her and I worry about her. A number of my non-blogging friends would think this was a bit mad, but there it is. More importantly, it was very clear that the blog was hugely important to her and had become, as well, a major source of therapy for her: a place to vent, a place to create lovely posts, a place to tease out her thoughts and feelings about the awful thing that had happened to her, and to get feedback and engagement and validation.

What is it that actually happens when bloggers implode? Do people get charmed and seduced by this new form into exposing themselves in such a way as to make it inevitable that sooner or later it will backfire on them in spectacular fashion?

It would take months, maybe years, to tease out the various implications for the five-way relationship between subjectivity, blogging, the internet, writing and human relationships that are suggested by the story of Liz. What is a self? How do we know?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Friday mogblogging

Channel Ten's News at Five

Apparently the building of a new and improved space ship for another trip to the moon is going be a snip, but they still haven't found a speech therapist sufficiently gifted to teach the US President how to say 'nuclear'.