Wednesday, November 27, 2002


One thing I find interesting is our fascination with "reality."

Recently, The Sims has been attracting media attention because of the insights it purportedly provides into our own society. Most notably, everyone's favorite over-generalizer, David Brooks, had a piece in the New York Times Magazine. He writes, in part,

I confess I sometimes don't know whether to be happy or depressed when I dip into Sims world. Sometimes you get the sense that these Sims fanatics are compensating online for the needs that aren't met in their real lives...But the other and more positive sensation you get in Sims world is that some mass creative process is going on, like the writing of a joint novel with millions of collaborative and competitive authors.

Time also searched for deeper meaning. "The Sims Online might be exactly what America needs right now: a virtual sandbox where we can play out our fantasies and confront our fears about what America might become."

The paradox is that people are fleeing reality for virtuality at the same time that they are embracing reality television. Even more confusingly, movies like The Truman Show, eXistenZ, Dark City, The Matrix, Star Trek: Insurrection, Vanilla Sky, and The Thirteenth Floor all dealt with the concept of reality, mostly suggesting that real reality was preferable to any conjured virtual reality, no matter how much better the latter might be.

Raison d'Etre

So, I'm starting a blog. Call me a sheep. But I have good reasons, I swear.

  1. Learning I am very interested in the Internet's power to transform social discourse, and blogs are a critical component in that. The best way to learn about something is to try it. Yes, I will be throwing my own thoughts into a growing sea of blog reflexiveness, but some of it is quite good. Of particular interest are efforts to tie blogs together, like Daypop, Blogdex, Metalinker, and TrackBack. These play a role in a project I call Metabuzz
  2. Voting Because so many sites (most notably Google) rely on incoming links to determine a site's popularity, I consider this a way of voting for my favorites.
  3. Memory To help me out when I go senile.
  4. Outlet I have things to say and no longer have a college paper to take it out on. It will be nice to say things with permanence and structure and put them somewhere other than e-mail and away messages. In fact, one of things I want to find out is if I can attract an...
  5. Audience Who reads these things? Does anybody comment on them? Only one way to find out.