Thursday, July 12, 2007

Trying to think of a thesis topic? Take up blogging!

I first took up blogging after an Honours thesis I was examining blew the top of my head off with its brilliant and groundbreaking interdisciplinary analysis of 'infertility blogs' and their posts and comments. The student had used a mixture of narrative, psychoanalytic, new media, feminist and life-writing theory, plus material from the fields of anatomy, psychiatry, sociology and ob/gyn, to put together a brilliant analysis of the content of these blogs and of their democratic and therapeutic nature (including a few incisive remarks in passing about the relationship between democracy and therapy), and to formulate a set of propositions about future possibilities for the medium.

Blogging opens up a whole new field for analysis and it certainly lends itself to interdisciplinary approaches, one of which would be some kind of sociological/psychoanalytic/general-discourse-analysis study of how people behave at computers and what they put into search engines. The terms that turn up on one's own stat counter reflect both the nature of the blog and a cross-section of who's out there Googling and Yahooing, and it's quite an amazing reflection on human nature: on the things people want to find out about, the ways in which people use language, and the ways in which their language then gets crunched by the search engines.

In the course of this experiment in Ideas-Festivalblogging, I've had occasion to check the stats-counter information a lot more often than usual in order to get an idea of how many people have come to the blog directly from the Festival website or from searches about it. And I've not been able to help noticing -- as you do -- what some of the more exotic searches have been that have brought people here. Many of those people will have been bitterly disappointed; others will have found exactly what they were looking for, particularly in the case of the frilled shark.

So before I get on with the last two posts from the Festival of Ideas, here for your amusement is my version from the last 100 posts of the time-honoured Search Meme: here are some of the things people search for that bring them, sometimes kicking and screaming, to Pavlov's Cat. Yet again, I don't seem to have scored any of the real bottom-feeder dreck, for which I can only be grateful. And even just my last hundred visitors have thrown up a number of definite, and predictable, themes.


ABOUT CATS

'ideas to build a cat pen'

'magnificat cat'

'picture cat stuck in fridge'

'cat drama' (a tautology, surely)


ABOUT FOOD

'pauls brandy custard'

'frog cake'

'cherry puree+jelly recipe'

(Do you see a theme emerging here?)


ABOUT OBSCURE SCHOLARLY/LANGUAGE STUFF

'bachelard nests and memories'

'retromingent metaphorical meaning'


DUBIOUS MISCLLANEOUS

'wardrobe fall on top'

'wire in the blood sexual tension' (another tautology)

'prehistoric shark-half eel' (see above)

'cuckold tramp stamp'

I particularly love that last one. Observe the mix of the quaint outdated concept of the cuckold with the very contemporary 'tramp stamp', which is a tattoo on one's lower back or upper bum, depending on which school you went to, and for which the most usual synonym is 'arse antlers'. Poetry at its finest.

5 comments:

Mark Lawrence said...

And to think, I had no idea what a 'tramp stamp' is, or what 'arse antlers' are for that matter, until I visited today. (btw, is there such thing as 'Achilles' heels' in tats?)

Aah. Blogging…

Anonymous said...

Cuckold is also a very contemporary pr0n term. It's used to describe a particular kind of scenario. Read it used on a pr0n star's blog the other day.

TimT said...

Observe the mix of the quaint outdated concept of the cuckold with the very contemporary 'tramp stamp', which is a tattoo on one's lower back or upper bum, depending on which school you went to, and for which the most usual synonym is 'arse antlers'. Poetry at its finest.

Antlers in your Pantlers? The Magnifcat's got nothin' on that!

Pavlov's Cat said...

Thanks for this intriguing info, anon. And not just pr0n either but a whole sexual subculture, it seems. I just Googled it -- the single word 'cuckold' was enough -- and oh dear God I wish I hadn't.

'Cuckold' in its traditional sense is basically the name of something a man does to another man. The property, sorry, woman drops out of that verbal transaction altogether. In this new fetishisation of it, at least there's an actual term for the woman in the scenario ('hotwife' -- wow, how elegant and subtle is that). But the bottom line (yes yes, I know) is still that it's a man-to-man property transaction, all about auto-negotiations with masculinity, comparing power roles, penis sizes and other predictable, dreary obsessions.

There you go, Mark -- everybody learns something new every day!

Francis Xavier Holden said...

mark - also "Slag Tag" and "Whale Tail" for G string - or as Monica Lewinsky would put it "thong" showing above day wear

Don't mention it. All part of the service.