Sunday, October 15, 2006

Interesting mess

I've been trying to catch up on my blog reading backlog. 7000-plus unread, Bloglines tells me, and I know it's hopeless. I want to 'mark all read,' but that would marking read the ones I really want to read as well as the ones I don't mind missing. That would be annoying. I decided to catch up on the ones I want to read.

I started off with Ms Mac, who never fails to entertain, and I haven't neglected her for TOO long so there wouldn't be so much to read, I thought. (I was wrong. Ms Mac is prolific.) I only left one comment, on an oldish post, but read them all. I can't figure out whether Ms Mac should be writing for sitcoms or is living in one.

Then I moved on to Gordon, and the rest of my evening was gone. I KNEW that would happen, and that's why I had been avoiding him. Since August. (I am so ashamed.) But he does great links (which inevitably lead me astray), and writes some thought-provoking posts.

There were two posts I wanted to comment on but didn't (because they were old), one about culture and the other about why RSS doesn't quite work. That second one is basically what I was talking about at the beginning of this post, and in fact using Bloglines to organize my RSS feeds COULD work, if I organised it properly. If I had all my 'hot' feeds in one folder, and my 'cold' feeds in another, I'd just need to click on one folder (the 'hot' one) to get rid of the ones I had no need to read all the backlog of. (Horrible, horrible sentence. Quick - move on.) But I gather he is talking about off-line RSS readers...? I'm not sure. I didn't even know there was such a thing. It is true I don't know much.

Actually there were a few more posts I wanted to comment on, but didn't. One was his latest one, Hard Times, which begins like this:

Blogging is not life and my life is not centred around blogging. There are a lot of things that go on that I have never and will never mention on here...

I don't know why I didn't comment, except that I had nothing to say, really, except Yeah, gotcha, me too, and doesn't it go without saying?, and that's not very interesting, is it?

The culture post, on the other hand, I wanted to think about. Because what IS your culture, when the culture you live in is not your own (and can't be, because Japan's like that), and when you hardly ever watch TV (and that's what most people talk about, isn't it? It's the common ground) and the various circles of people you socialize with (when you have a social life) are all different and come from different cultures (and watch different TV programs from each other), and when you've been so long away from your own culture it has moved on and you haven't? Do I even have something that could be called a culture?

And does it matter?

Oh, and somewhere in there I managed to visit the Auspicious Dragon Bookblog, where I discovered that out of all the books reviewed there I had read three. She has been reading a lot more than I have, but still, I read two of those books fairly recently. It was one of those things that made me feel ... I don't know, connected. Like maybe, just maybe, I share a little bit of culture with someone, even if it's someone I have never met.

So maybe it does matter. And maybe that's the way it always is. We don't share whole cultures. We share parts, with different people, in a great big glorious and interesting mess.


Megan said...

This post made me think, but I haven't really formulated my thoughts. However, if I don't comment now, I'll probably forget to comment in the future and all will be lost. So, here goes...

What is culture? That's a great question. While I'm living in the country of my birth, it is still a difficult one to explain to my ESL students. It's a pretty different idea/dilemma than what you're talking about, though. How do I explain what an American is? My students all assume it is a white person. It's so hard for them to understand that someone of, say Mexican decent, but who was born in the US is also an American. And then to make things more complicated, I generally refer to all of the students as Americans whether they are citizens (or in the country legally) or not. To which culture does anyone really identify? Is there ever a true reason for doing so? I don't have answers for these, and I don't think we ever will.

Thanks for getting my brain turning on a lazy Sunday morning.

Antipodeesse said...

Ms. Mac's life really is a sitcom, right down to the affable husband, cheeky adorable moppet children, overly-strong lighting and the canned laughter.

Oh wait - the laughter was in fact mine.

Potentilla said...

Ah, but you had read one of the same books (Stuart: A Life Backwards) because YOU had recommended it to ME. I'm fairly sure, anyhow. In my comments, I think.

I love that about blogs; you can get to "know" someone quite well without ever meeting them.

Gordon said...

Yeah yeah, blame me. If you visited more often you wouldn't have so much to read! ;-)

Ms Mac said...

Darls, I wish I was making this stuff up!

Blimey though, 7000 unread in bloglines would put me off blogging for ever. I know when I go away for a weekend and miss out on a few blogs, just over 100 unread posts is enough to make me weak.

Ms Mac said...

Oh and I have that Stuart: A life Backwards in my bookshelf! I shall be sure to read it soon.

Actually I have a book which I keep meaning to ask if you would like me to post to you, What Happened to Henry about a boy who has a Japanese man living in his head. I'll email you one day with an official offer! ;-)