Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A bog of blogs


So I decided it was time to clean up the links in my Blog Roll, because—what with my new book, my podcast, my radio show and my writings elsewhere online—it seemed like I just didn’t have quite enough to do. In doing so, it occurred to me that I should maybe clarify for all of you what my policies regarding linking to other blogs are—even though that begs the question of whether any of you pay attention to the Blog Roll at all. I mean, have any of you found a blog you enjoy via a link from 4DK, or any other blog, for that matter? Until you can supply me with a succinct answer, I’m going to assume that you responded with an enthusiastic “yes” and continue with this post.

Because, you see, you can actually consider those links to other blogs in my sidebar as a personal recommendation from me. I don’t just link to a site because people ask me to. In fact, I won’t do it unless I have read and liked that blog and returned to it on at least an occasional basis. Given that, I was very happy to find on this latest pass that, aside from a couple of dead links, the vast majority of the few dozen blogs on the list are still thriving, with posts as recent as this week. Because, as you probably know, starting a blog is as risky a proposition as opening a coffee house in Seattle, or a jerk store in Jerkistan. Many are abandoned after a couple posts, left to drift eternally in the vast loneliness of cyberspace like a digital version of Laika the space dog. This is why it is important that your first post not be anything that requires a reader response, because nothing is sadder than a readers poll whose only response in fifteen years is a spam comment about Azerbaijani escorts.

Of course, I generally delete those derelict sites when I find them, except on a couple of conditions. If an author has kept her or his blog going long enough for it to have archival content rich enough for it still to be valuable to readers, it stays up. A good example is my pal David Wells’ blog Soft Film, which did the hard work of compiling a lot of hard-to-find information about classic Cantonese films in one place. Unfortunately, David chose to take that blog offline completely, taking with it a little of the world’s light, and so the link was tearfully removed. Still available for all to see, however, are Andrew “The Search For Weng Weng” Leavold’s twin blogs, Bamboo Gods and Bionic Boys and Destroy All Monstruous, both of which review a comprehensive list of classic pop films from, in the former case, the Philippines and, in the latter, Mexico. Also an inexhaustible source of wonder is Professor Grewbeard’s Magic Carpet Burn, which, though not updated since Halloween of 2011, still contains a wealth of drool worthy images of old comics, 60s kitsch, and monster movie ephemera. Greta Kaemmer’s Memsaabstory, if not for its many thoughtful, informative and highly amusing reviews, would still be up by virtue of the Nahiiin Face Gallery alone.

Then again, there are those abandoned blogs that remain on my list as my passive aggressive way of hectoring their authors into reviving them. These include Amrita Rajan’s Indiequill, as well as Rumnique Nannar’s Roti Kapada aur Rum, which left a black hole of shouty enthusiasm in its absence.

As I said, I recommend every one of these blogs, but when I look at 4DK’s blog roll I see a lot more than a personal “best of” list. I also see a vast combined knowledge that amounts to a kind of alternate film history, one in which more than just the winners have their say. I think of the thousands of neglected, ignored and forgotten films that these writers have struggled to drag into the light, whether out of altruism, sheer competitiveness, or obsessive curiosity. It makes me proud to be one of them. And because of that, I hope that each of these writers, when they choose to walk away from their respective projects, choose to leave them online for the enjoyment of future generations of pathetic film geeks such as ourselves. The ghosts of all those neglected, ignored, forgotten—and, yes, derided—will thank you.

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