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Rec Room: Rebecca Bates: Graphomania, Blogs, and Masturb8tion

July 1, 2010


Rebecca Bates.jpg“In the era of graphomania…everyone surrounds himself with his own writings as with a wall of mirrors cutting off all voices from without.”—Milan Kundera

Our world is saturated with blogs. They’re easy to start, even easier to abandon, and are often no less masturbatory than Kundera’s wall of mirrors. Even photo blogs.

Take, for example, LOOKBOOK.nu. The site describes itself as “collective fashion consciousness,” but really there’s nothing collective about it. Young hipsters post pictures of themselves in “chic” garb— fur stoles, feather epaulettes, chunky heels—and caption their photos with shitty lyrics from shitty bands (“We’re wandering now./ All in parts and pieces.” – Evanescence). They’re not sharing with others; they’re exposing themselves, each new post pleading, “No, but really, look how hot I am” to all the others.

Or what about “satirical” sites like Hipster Runoff, much of which is written in some incredibly obnoxious Internet dialect (4 instead of “for,” 2 instead of “to,” “u” instead of “you,” etc.). A recent post discusses the picture of Miley Cyrus’ lady parts that Perez Hilton posted to his own blog, potentially resulting in child pornography charges. Hipster Runoff says: “h8 the internet/ gets every1 in trouble/ every1 just looking to tug off/ but people killing chill vibes of tween horniness/ wish we were free to look at upskirts/ whenever we wanted.” Let’s see if I got it: “pretending 2 b in2 tween newz is tots/alt ironic.”

Another condition of graphomania: the absolute lack of anything to write about. Kundera describes one of his characters as having “never experienced anything from the outside. It is this absence of content, this void, that powers the motor driving her to write.”


Rebecca Bates is Guernica‘s blog intern. Read her last recommendation of the book Literature and Cinematography “here”:https://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1826/rec_room_rebecca_bates_literat/. Read her Q&A with author/literary agent Bill Clegg “here”:https://www.guernicamag.com/blog/1860/qa_with_bill_clegg_author_of_p_1/.

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