’Tis But Thy Name That Is My Enemy
It delights me to write. To shape the ideas that bang about in my head into organised words and sentences is, for me, a lovely pastime. So why then do I find so little motivation to keep up a regular blog? The inescapable answer is that I find the word “blog” utterly unattractive and incapable of allurement. It is, it cannot be denied, one consonant away from being the word, “blob,” and not for nothing did the Daily News name the Blobfish the ugliest animal in the world. A rosefish by any other name would not sound as sweet, or look any better. http://nydn.us/29LnN12
I did a little digging around, and I am pleased to report that I am by no means the first or only conscientious objector to the word, be it a noun or a verb, “blog.” I am among company no less esteemed than the Editor of Vogue, Anna Wintour. Back in 2007, internet chitter-chatter buzzed back and forth about how she did not like the word. She requested that her staff stop using it, and she further requested that they come up with a different word to place above Vogue’s own web content. My cursory investigative clicks also revealed that hoots of laughter and mockery followed her objection as it made the rounds on multiple other blogs and comment sections, the latter being full to brimming with snarky, suggested alternatives. I also had a little shufty at the current Vogue website, and I entered the word “blog” into its search box. This revealed that the staff seems to have been a dreadful disappointment to its editor. Not only did they fail to invent a preferable word or term, they continue on with shamelessly referring to their own and to others’ blogs. It must, I think, be conceded that when no less than Anna Wintour looses a culture battle with her own staff, the war for the word is lost beyond hope.
The etymology of the word is extremely simple and by now well known. In 1997, online content fell under the word, “weblog.” By 1999, the “we” fell away, and the word “blog” jettisoned onto the world stage as the unquestioned champion of modern phraseology. Nonetheless, I, with Khrushchev, bang my shoe on my table.
Where am I left when I at last return my shoe to my foot? I am left stamping my re-shoed foot because I still do not like the word, “blog.” It remains a stumbling block to my motivation to write content for my website. I cannot circumnavigate the immoveable fact that “blog” makes me think of “frog,” and I hate frogs, slimy, nasty little buggers they are, and my will to write disappears into my revulsion of all amphibians. I am left then to pick up what the staff at Vogue let fall and fail. I must coin a new word. Not a new word for the world, for I am conscious enough of my humble state to know that the world is not in want of a new word for blog. The world, I understand, does not want my fresh offering at free or any price below it. Whatever mockery I come in for, I will take as a good sport ought to, and when the jeering, should it begin, clears away, I shall still have my little word to cling to.
In warming to my theme, I began to play with a few words to see what game I could get up. The first I tossed up for consideration was “Regular Content,” which became R-Con. It strikes me as edgy, but perhaps better suited to serious think-tank type outfits that pen weighty pieces on the state of cyber warfare in Russia. My own more typical musings on historical crime, books I like, and writing mystery fiction would not, I fancy, find a comfortable home beneath “R-Con.” This then, led me to pull a bit of French out of my sleeve.
“Belles pensées” (beautiful thoughts), « B-Pen » Mm? Could do.
Then came, “Jolies pensées” (pretty thoughts) « J-Pen » Slightly better.
What about “Joli stylo” (pretty pen) « E-Stylo » It sounds snappy, but really, the fact must be faced that English speakers do not commonly know that “stylo” is French for pen. Ah, but what about quills? That brings one to “feathers,” and a feather in French is “une plume,” and most people do know about plumes, or so I fondly think they must.
My E-plume. Earlier today, I plumed about my distaste for the word, “blog.” Yesterday, my dislike of the word “blog” prevented me from pluming, but tomorrow, I shall plume about the staggeringly high murder rate that has now gone on wholly unchecked in Midsomer for nineteen years.
Anna Wintour, I give you my curtsy and bow.