I have been thinking about what is accomplished by the huge volume of language hurled onto the face of the Internet, and it strikes me that most of it is completely pointless. Or at least pointless for anyone except the poster. It reminds me of what has to be my favorite opening line of literary criticism ever. (Yes, I know what a geek I am if I have a favorite line of literary criticism. You should have heard me going on about post-modernism under the influence of morphine that time I ended up in the emergency room with a dislocated shoulder. But I digress.)
My favorite sentence appears in an essay by Susan Winnett: "I would like to begin with the proposition that female orgasm is unnecessary." It caught my attention to say the least. She goes on to explain that she doesn't mean to diminish its importance for any individual woman or her partner, just that it isn't a biological imperative.
It strikes me that most blog posts and comments fall into the same category: of no consequence to anyone other than the poster and, in rare cases, perhaps one other person. What purpose does the average smart-ass comment on fark.com actually serve?
Internet postings are the white-collar equivalent of tagging. In a few cases, the post might be elegant or witty enough to entertain or impress a few viewers, just like your better-than-average graffiti. But most of the time, it's nothing more than an annoyance, a little more noise in the urban scenery, an excess of static in a culture already overpopulated with data.
Does that stop me from posting, any more than the next person? Okay, so I certainly don't post any more than the next person; all you have to do is see the dates of my existing posts to figure that out. But the impulse is there, even if my time is generally spent otherwise. I am just as driven to write my name in water as anyone else.