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What I’ve been reading

July 31st, 2005

I’ve decided to do a pre-announcement review of the candidates for the 2005 Hugo Award for best novel. I’ll post a draft before too long, I hope.

But one vision of the future disturbs me. I was reading Charles Stross’ Iron Sunrise (a strong contender, but I liked his Singularity Sky better), set in the 24th century, and he introduces a character who had inherited the masthead of The Times and announced his profession as “warblogger”.

I don’t really suppose our little virtual community is going to last a thousand years, or even 300, but just in case, can’t we find some way to agree on a better name than “blogger”?

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  1. July 31st, 2005 at 17:21 | #1

    You mean like “quigger”?

    Everything is ridiculous the first time you hear it. At least “blog” is short and not obviously in violation of usual practice in spoken and written English. Many neologisms fail in that sort of way, by enforcing a change in flow partway through expressing a thought – but “blog” doesn’t.

  2. July 31st, 2005 at 22:21 | #2

    I agree with my friend.

  3. July 31st, 2005 at 23:46 | #3

    I’m continuing to work through the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture

    A huge undertaking, and full of extraordinary pathways to follow.

  4. Nabakov
    August 1st, 2005 at 02:16 | #4

    Interesting lineup for the Hugos this year. Two of the five have “Iron” in their title while the two Ia(i)ns both penned books where the plot is driven by AIs escaping human persecution.

    Strange echoes. Strange times.

  5. August 1st, 2005 at 08:33 | #5

    I think if you try to replace the word “blogs” worldwide you’ll be, to use our wonderful Australian language, pushing shit uphill mate.

  6. ml
    August 1st, 2005 at 10:30 | #6

    John, I utterly agree, and congratulations for saying it. That one of the more hopeful, liberating, and therefore beautiful recent cultural developments is currently saddled with a profoundly unbeautiful name is ironic (if far from unique). One can see the name as the logical child of its two vastly different parents – medium (computers, computer jargon (HTML anyone)) and message , with the computer-culture parent ascendant where naming was concerned. Web-log in my opinion is logical and if not inspired, has nice associations. It was the far-from-fung shui computer-culture abbreviation of web-log which did the damage. But I’m hopeful – now that we’ve named the problem, a world that got rid of New Coke should also be able to sort this out.

  7. August 1st, 2005 at 10:41 | #7

    Do you honestly think the abbreviation of “weblog” was inspired by “computer culture”? It was started because someone split the word asymmetrically, to produce “we blog”. An in-joke that went too far? Perhaps, but it’s certainly not geek-speak and it bears absolutely no resemblance to HTML.

  8. ml
    August 1st, 2005 at 12:03 | #8

    Fair enough, I suppose I was trying to get at the idea that whatever else it is, the web is also in a general tech-speak environment where blocky, non-euphonious expressions thrive, or are not rejected. If “blog” arose the way you say, the fact that it is still around I would take as evidence of my basic point.

    HTML was mentioned because of its lack of euphony, not anything else.

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