Monday, May 19, 2008

Blog and Live Forever

I have survived the full-day meeting discussing the future of my academic department. Such events are the second-worst aspect of this job (the worst being grading). I have been around long enough to know that nothing will actually be decided in these meanings. On the contrary, all the important decisions have already been made before any of us set foot in that room. The meeting is just about giving the illusion of democratic process.

The low point of this meeting came when we had the opportunity to opt for a half-day gathering next year. “No, no,” my colleagues cried out, “We must have a full day wasted on things that we won’t remember discussing two months from now to critically discuss all the salient issues facing our program.” Why? Why are they so cruel?

To be honest, for most of the meeting, I zoned out into my own world. What do I think about when zoning out? This is a pretty accurate representation of what goes through my mind:

It really makes everything feel better.

Alas, though, my little bloggy hasn’t had much attention lately. Such is the way that it must be until I can finally put the Never Ending Research Project of Doom to rest. Only sporadic entries here at CoG for the next several months. I know, I know. I hear you crying out, "How can you be so inattentive, GayProf? We crave every moment of your attention. Our lives depend on your guiding gravitas!"

Okay, maybe you aren't saying that exactly. To paraphrase Charles DeGaulle: The nation’s graveyards are full of indispensable bloggers.

Given that this blog is currently on life-support, it made me consider what indicates the status of various blogs. Many bloggers become devoted to building a massive readership.

What changes a blogger from being ordinary to catapulting him/her/hir to internet celebrity (currently the lowest grade of celebrity possible)? Here are some signs to look out for in determining one’s social status in the blogosphere:

    Anonymous: You say that spam advertising penile enlargement “still counts” as a comment on an entry.

    Obscure: You get one or two incisive responses to your most provocative posts.

    Middling: You have a loyal core of readers who will give a comment, even if it is just out of pity.

    Celebrity: You are guaranteed a minimum of forty comments even if the blog entry is nothing more than a picture of your empty breakfast bowl.

    Anonymous: Your blog is not linked by anybody.

    Obscure: Your friends and family link you.

    Middling: People you have never met link you.

    Celebrity: People link you only out of the hope that you will link them back.


    Anonymous: The only e-mail generated from your blog is a secret offer from a Nigerian who needs you to open a bank account for him.

    Obscure: You occasionally get e-mail from people you don’t know in real life.

    Middling: You get birthday cards from people you don’t know in real life.

    Celebrity: You get mail from people that you probably don’t want to know in real life.


    Anonymous: Google doesn’t even know you exist.

    Obscure: People can find your blog if they type its exact name into Google.

    Middling: You find that Google sends people to your blog for incoherent search strings that have little to do with your actual blog content (For instance, “What are the dangers of tanning my vagina?”).

    Celebrity: Google is currently attempting a hostile take over of your site.


    Anonymous: The government has no idea that you exist.

    Obscure: Some really low level government bureaucrat once looked at your blog.

    Middling: The government is watching your blog to see if you are earning income that you are not reporting on your taxes.

    Celebrity (If on the political left): Your blog has resulted in the White House naming your blog part of the “Axis of Evil” and/or the FBI's watch list.

    Celebrity (If on the political right): Your blog has resulted in the White House giving you a medal for being their unpaid mouthpiece.


    Anonymous: When you wrote your last entry, you said that it was about practicing your own writing skills.

    Obscure: When you posted your last entry, you wrote it with one particular reader in mind.

    Middling: When you wrote your last entry, you imagined that it would later be published by Vogue magazine.

    Celebrity: When you wrote your last entry, you told yourself that it was just filling the time until you finally get your own television show.


    Anonymous: You are most often naked while you write your blog.

    Obscure: You have given away t-shirts based on your blog.

(Modeled byVUBOQ)

    Middling: You can actually sell t-shirts based on your blog at CafePress or other such sites.

    Celebrity: Designers send you their new clothes in the hope that you will wear them while you blog.


    Anonymous: You have posted pictures of celebrities.

    Obscure: You know another blogger who had a brush with a real-life celebrity.

    Middling: A celebrity stopped by your blog – once.

    Celebrity: You are currently in litigation for slander and/or copyright infringement with a celebrity


    Anonymous: If your blog was a retail store, it would be Montgomery Ward.

    Obscure: If your blog was a retail store, it would be Hot Topic.

    Middling: If your blog was a retail store, it would be Target.

    Celebrity: If your blog was a retail store, you couldn’t afford to shop there.


    Anonymous: You tell yourself you that you are blogging “for your own enjoyment.”

    Obscure: You tell yourself that you are blogging because you want to meet new people.

    Middling: You tell yourself that you are blogging because your ego leads you to imagine that other people expect you to blog.

    Celebrity: You blog because it's your main source of income.


    Anonymous: Nobody knows that you or your blog exists in the real world.

    Obscure: You once overheard somebody mention a blog that also happens to link to you.

    Middling: People recognize you based on your blog name.

    Celebrity: You have had to file restraining orders against readers of your blog.


    Anonymous: You link to current news articles in your blog.

    Obscure: Your blog is the first place that somebody hears of a particular news story.

    Middling: Other people build an entry using your blog’s coverage of a news story.

    Celebrity: Your blog is the news story.


    Anonymous: Nobody takes the time to speculate on you in real life.

    Obscure: People will mention that they think “you seem cool” in the comments section.

    Middling: People will take time out of their life to leave anonymous comments saying how much they dislike you and/or your blog.

    Celebrity: People have devoted their own blog to documenting how much they hate you.


    Anonymous: You have no social contacts based on your blog.

    Obscure: You have social contacts who read your blog, but they already knew you before you ever blogged.

    Middling: You have met new friends through your blog that you would have never met in real life.

    Celebrity: You have slept with people through your blog.


    Anonymous: Readers have no memory of your blog.

    Obscure: Readers remember your most recent entry.

    Middling: Readers remember one or two of your best entries.

    Celebrity: Readers claim to remember when "your blog was actually good."

    Anonymous: You still have perspective that the mainstream media shapes public opinion far more than all blogs combined.

    Obscure: You feel that a small community of bloggers might be able to sway some people and therefore post a banner for your favored candidate.

    Middling: You write extensive political posts imagining that somebody will take notice.

    Celebrity: Your ego is so out of control that you conclude that the 2008 election hinges on your blog.

    Anonymous: If your blog was one of Charlie's Angels, it would be Tiffany Welles.

    Obscure: If your blog was one of Charlie's Angels, it would be Chris Monroe.

    Middling: If your blog was one of Charlie's Angels, it would be Kelly Garrett.

    Celebrity: You would be too cool to fully understand these references.


    Anonymous: You take the time to write a blog entry when you want to do so.

    Obscure: You write a blog entry on a regular schedule.

    Middling: Your regular job is suffering because you are blogging all the time to “reach the next level.”

    Celebrity: Nobody has noticed that all your entries are really just summaries of news feeds. You have not posted an original idea in years.


    Anonymous: Nobody writes about you.

    Obscure: People make an entry in their own blog discussing having met you.

    Middling: People express disappointment that you are not as interesting/entertaining in real life as your blog persona.

    Celebrity: Somebody has sold naked pictures of you to a tabloid.


    Anonymous: It would never occur to you that your blog could be a source of swag.

    Obscure: You write a review of a movie/product hoping for swag.

    Middling: A company asks you to write a review in exchange for swag.

    Celebrity: You have your own swag that you give out.


    Anonymous: 100 percent of the general public doesn’t care what you write in your blog.

    Obscure: 100 percent of the general public doesn’t care what you write in your blog.

    Middling: 100 percent of the general public doesn’t care what you write in your blog.

    Celebrity: 99.999 percent of the general public doesn’t care what you write in your blog.


Mel said...

Wait, where's my GayProf t-shirt?

I fall pretty solidly in the middling category, except I'd much rather be Sabrina Duncan. It's that whole inner dyke thing.

Oh, and I love the way your mind works.

Alden said...

Hmmm. So does it say anything about the rest of one's existence when they can pinpoint their location on that scale somewhere comfortably idling in between obscurity and middling? Allegedly?

tornwordo said...

Vaginas-care of, snicker. As for commenting, I firmly believe that you pretty much get what you give.

Earl Cootie said...

I could do without meetings altogether. Even when it's necessary to get a group of people together face to face to hammer at some issue, there's always someone hammering at some insignificant part of (or as often, not part of) the issue and wasting most of the meeting time.

The exception would be meetings of my "team" at my (long-gone) cushy government job. We all got along splendidly. The first half of the meeting was spent discussing politics (all of us flaming lefties) and recent vacations (all adventurers). Plus there were doughnuts or cupcakes or some form of frosted treats!

Greg said...

Hey, there's no "day-dreaming" tag on this post...and I thought that was one of the best bits!!

Now, about these T shirts...

Greg said...

(We have to volunteer to help with the NERPD to get one, don't we?)

vuboq said...

gosh. that VUBOQ sure is a cutie.

Alan said...

Heh....Definitely Anonymous. :)

pacalaga said...

I thought the Hiltons were the lowest grade of celebrity possible.

Roger Owen Green said...

You're a celebrity in my eyes. I, on the other hand, am middling at best.

lost in france said...

I love your blog even if this post made me realize that my blog is somewhere between Obscure and Middling!

gwoertendyke said...

i want a t-shirt. i really dig the TIME cover....i swing between categories, i noticed, and my blog is also on life-support.

Frank said...

I'm in some nebulous, non-Euclidean midway point between Anonymous, Obscure, and Middling. But who can be as Celebrity as you and your blog, GayProf? No one, that's who! You singlehandedly swing elections and set the zeitgeist.

You're so getting some hits from that vagina string, you know. You're so dastardly clever! It's one of the things that makes you so sexy. *wink*

dykewife said...

"Celebrity: Somebody has sold naked pictures of you to a tabloid."

and that somebody is yourself.

Clio Bluestocking said...

Because you said it first, I must use quotation marks: "How can you be so inattentive, GayProf? We crave every moment of your attention. Our lives depend on your guiding gravitas!"

Did you, perchance, conceive this post during said meeting? Or would you have to plead the fifth on that?

GayProf said...

Mel: Sabrina was going to be the "Celebrity" category until I realized that true celebrities don't ponder Charlie's Angels.

Alden: Obscurity and middling fits me pretty well. Why not embrace it?

TornWordo: As for commenting, I firmly believe that you pretty much get what you give.

In terms of volume, I think that this is true. In terms of content, not always.

Earl:The only plus of the retreat was that they did feed us. The end also came with wine. So, that made it somewhat okay.

Greg: Daydreaming would be the tag for every post.

VUBOQ: VUBOQ probably didn't realize how much mileage CoG was going to get out of that picture. VUBOQ probably feels regret.

Alan: Anonymity has its benefits.

Pacalaga: Ah, but that would require me acknowledging them as "celebrities" at all. I think celebrity should require one to have done something -- anything -- to warrant attention. I mean, doing something other than inheriting obscene amounts of wealth.

ROG: I'll always think of you as a celebrity.

Lost in France: These are just rough guidelines -- There is a margin of error by +/-4.

Adjunct Whore: Do you dig the T-shirt enough to buy one from CafePress? If so, this blog could be moving up in the world.

Frank: People should look to CoG first to answer questions about their vaginas. Just because I don't have one doesn't mean that I don't have opinions on their upkeep.

DykeWife: But the publisher said he wouldn't reveal -- uh -- I mean, that's not necessarily true.

Clio: Hey, they are lucky that I didn't write, edit, and post this entry at the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Hey gay prof. those meetings are just g-d's way of making sure you have an added monthly (weekly, bi-monthly, urgh) dose of wonder woman, in which to think about her more obscure outfits. What episode was that scuba suit in by the way? Now I have to go check my DVDs :D I spend those meetings trying to remember all of the lyrics to "old" tv shows, which ensures I will always be smiling but also likely to answer a pointed question with "it's like a light of a new day; it came from out of the blue." or worse "wah waah, do, doo, doo, do, do, do, do" :D

ps. there is something wrong with your scale b/c my blog is on lockdown while I'm away and I still hit above middling. (that ain't right.)

Alan Scott said...

Hey, GayProf! Loved the Wonder Woman montage! I doubt if even she has the power to battle academic politics and bull***t. (I wonder where I can get that black evening gown?)

I wonder where I can get a copy of Time's Man of the Year? Wow! :)

My blog is somewhere around obscure. If it was Charlie's Angels, it would be John Forsythe.

dpaste said...

So I'm somewhere between obscure and middling. Thanks, thanks a lot for that.

Pardon me while I go play in traffic.

Anonymous said...

I'm adding commentor Alan to my blogroll. ;-)

I seem to recall you stating in a previous post that grading is the worst aspect of your job. The more I think about it, the more I believe it has to do with your sincerity to reflect a student's true performance and effort; rather than those professors who may have capriciously decided grades ahead of time based on favoritism or other factors.

Great post!

Bill S. said...

I was doing so well, teetering between obscure and middling for a while, and then I plummetted back down to anonymous. Maybe if I posted more than twice a month, or ever had anything to say...

Joey said...

Gayprof : Are you EVER going to take any responsibility for your part in the Duke lacrosse rape hoax? What kind of integrity do you have that you should post extensively on the subject in 2006 and so quickly drop it when it looked like it wasn't going your way? No mention at all of the black hate groups (homophobic as well) carrying Castrate signs and chanting, "Guilty guilty guilty!" Of the townspeople handing out the names and home addresses of innocent people to the New Black Panther Party. No mention of Nifong's jail time, the subsequent lawsuits against Durham and Duke, the feminist and black "professors" that made such buffoons of themselves? Have you read Until Proven Innocent, yet?What kind of gay man would have gladly joined in with such hate?Will you ever ever ever sum up the story you were so eager to sink your teeth into at first? -Joe (NYC)

GayProf said...

ProfBW:I am glad to hear that you are still around. When your blog was locked up, I wondered if you shut it down.

Alan: That means that your blog will eventually become the patriarch of a soap opera family, no?

David: I might join you in the traffic.

Afod: Yes grading is hard because I make it hard (probably harder than it needs to be). At my former Texas institution, many of my colleagues simply gave multiple-choice exams that were computer graded. They were probably done in under thirty minutes.

Bill S: These days, even twice a month seems like a headache.

Joey7777: Exactly what are you referring to? I never wrote a single post on the Duke case at this blog or any other blog -- ever. Or are you just jumping to conclusions? It seems to me that you are falsely accusing people without any evidence. A bit ironic, no?

Anonymous said...

Oh Gayprof... you are the one I miss when your posts are few and far between. I'm finding I'm running out of things to say on my blog. I have to start making things up, or shudder...take a stand on something political.

You do a much better job at that then I.

And one more thing. Joey7777 made my head hurt. I think he's a crazy person.

Anonymous said...

How Mad Magazine of you. Put it in a grid and add some illustrations by Sergio Aragones and viola: instant humor article ready for the press!

Kudos on finding the transformation montage that begins with the double image "too expensive to use for more than a few episodes so we'll replace the effect for the super-secret transformation with lots of light and noise" version. It was much closer to the original '40s quick change. Either way, Lynda always looks lovely.

Despite the life support, you and the blog remain as witty and intelligent as ever. I still think you should download all the entries and package it up as a book.

Anonymous said...

Looking for gay love no games.

mB said...

I always figured Obscurity was for me... I just didn't know other people's fancy grading methods would expose me!

LumpenProf said...

I had a Department Chair once who upon hearing about another department's impending all-day meeting said to us "That's a great idea. We should have an all day meeting too this Saturday at 9:00 am. If I'm a little late, though, you should all just start without me..." It was nice to have a Chair with a sense of humor.

Lesa said...

Newlywed to commenting on this blog (I'm from Massachusetts so I can use the M word)I strongly encourage GayProf to blog on! Think of it as a tool to jump start inspiration when "Hand of Doom" inertia begins to creep in.

By the way does former White House mouthpiece Scott M's "tell all" tell us anything we didn't already know FOR YEARS?

More importantly, why did I spend all that money getting an MBA to address a mid-life crisis when I could have bought the requisite sports car instead? Remember growing up under the illusion that life would change once you (fill in the blank)? Bitter doesn't suit me well but I wear the color anyway.


elgringo said...

I'm apparently swaying back and forth between obscurity and uh... Middle Earth? Time to print some T-Shirts!

diablo said...

well here's no. 31 just because. thank you for the WW memories. i flashed back to the purple scuba suit episode immediately!

Anonymous said...

good Job! :)

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