July 26, 2004
She loved the unedited way he reported the details of his life, good or bad. The other men who had courted her always spoke of the flattering things in their lives, keeping the unflattering ones to themselves or lying about them. George's openness seemed to bespeak an enormous self-confidence. She never heard him apologetic. If he had anything embarrassing to tell about himself, he told it without the slightest request for pity or forgiveness. If he had been slighted by a superior at work, or was suffering from his spring allergies, or a car had splattered him with mud, Liane's heart leapt to his protection, but he hardly noticed. Reprimanded, sneezing, or splattered, he maintained the same rather pokey, absent-minded dignity she had found so sensual and so different from the tense, self-serving quickness of the men she had known.From Gilbert: A Comedy of Manners, by Judith Martin.
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Migraine Treatment responded with Migraine Treatment
Farewell to our guest-blogger Milbarge, whose musings on Himself, Benign Racism, Free-Riding, Blog-Crushes, and Guest-Blogging have graced these pages the past few days. Look for him back at his permanent digs.
Welcome, to Waddling Thunder, who has guest-blogged with us on numerous occasions, and now joins us as the thirteenth permanent Crescatter, and second member of the alleged HLS hostile-takeover. He will maintain his own operations at the Kitchen and Waddling Thunder for the foreseeable future. He may begin blogging under his real name if I can find a seamless way to do that.
We're glad to have him.
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Somebody, maybe Woody Allen, once said that the worst thing that happened to him in theater was when somebody woke him up before CATS had ended. I've been mulling it over since I went to see The Producers last Thursday, and have decided The Producers was not as bad as that. (When my mother and I saw Cats, the only reason we didn't leave at intermission was that we had taken a bus, and it wasn't running again until the show ended.)
But it was still extremely rotten. In some ways, this may have just been a bad production-- the music was too loud and overwhelmed the lyrics, the lyrics were sung at a breakneck and distracted pace, and the whole crew never managed to maintain crackling comic timing for more than two minutes straight. (They did have some snazzy black fedoras, but top hats or homburgs would have been more appropriate).
But in other ways, I suspect the Producers just isn't a very good musical. The music isn't very good, the jokes aren't very funny, and the show offers nary a surprise-- comic or dramatic-- throughout its entire excruciating duration. The people around me seemed to think it was funny when a dancing girl walked out with pretzels on her head, but good comedy-- even comedy that has cloaked itself in awful noise and called itself music-- can't just thrust a visual gag at you and demand "laugh!" A prop is not a joke, not without more.
My companion was particularly irritated by the brief scene where Bialystock acts out in his jail cell the story thus far. I thought it was the one bright spot in the otherwise leaden show because it was cleverly inaccurate and seemed to require actual exertion from the actor. I couldn't help but think, though, that it would have been an improvement to have watched only the two-minute musical-within-a-musical and skipped the larger spectacle.
Maybe the Broadway production and it's star-studded cast were better, I don't know. But don't waste your money or time at the Kennedy Center.
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Not to be outdone, another poet has offered "rhodomontading" (Boasting, bragging, blustering...), which is good if insufficiently punchy.
But fabulous words are always welcome. Send them along.
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I wanted to finish up my stint here at Crescat with The Definitive Post on Guest-Blogging. But I couldn't think of much to say. So then I was going to fake it and blame Movable Type for losing my post, and write a Tribute to the Definitive Post on Guest-Blogging.
This is the fourth blog I've guested for this summer. (I have previously dumbed down Life, Law, Libido, De Novo, and Soupie's BBQ & Daycare.) I don't know if that's a record, but I feel pretty qualified to opine on the subject.
First, why do bloggers seek out guests? For Life, Law, Libido and Soupie (and my own blog, Begging the Question, last month), the answer was that the blogger, for one reason or another, wasn't able to post as frequently as usual. As I've noted recently, blogs are such an instant-gratification medium that bloggers can't just take the month off, like some people can. And, I'm going to find myself in a similar position in late August, when I'll be moving and out of touch for a couple of weeks. Suggestions and applications for guest-bloggers are appreciated. The De Novo folks went about things differently, creating a "Survivor" competition and pitting guest-bloggers against each other. So their ultimate goal seems to be more about getting new blood rather than any old warm body. Despite its, um, flaws, the De Novo endeavor is unique. The pattern of inviting someone to keep the lights on and dog walked, without an expectation of becoming permanent or providing more content than would usually appear on the blog, seems to be much more prevalent.
But whom to invite? The general pattern here is less like a television show's "special guest star" and more like a "crossover" guest appearance. For the former, think of E.R. when they had Alan Alda or Bob Newhart stopping by. For the latter, think of the Simpsons episode when "Jay Sherman" of The Critic showed up (perhaps it does not bode well for the future of guest-blogging that this episode is consistently considered one of the worst in the show's early years).
For readers who don't analyze everything based on what television has taught them, I'll explain. The "special guest star" model is for situations like Cass Sunstein guest-blogging for Volokh. Or, for example, if Will were to guest-blog at BTQ. The "crossover" model is when someone from a less-popular blog guest-blogs at a more-popular venue, like I'm doing now. To use a sports metaphor, it's like a AAA baseball player getting called up to the majors. Based on my pretty informal survey of guest-bloggings, the crossover or "call-up" version of guest-blogging is by far the more common method.
Why is this? I don't have any doubt that Will would be willing to guest-blog at BTQ if I asked him nicely. At the very least, I doubt he would think it "beneath" him or a waste of his time. (Eugene Volokh or Cass Sunstein probably have better things to do.) Although I'm sure our readership overlaps to a fair degree, it would expose him to some new readers, in addition to whatever altruistic impulses he might have. But it just doesn't seem to be the way things are done.
Part of the reason for that, I suspect, is that the host blogger wants to extend a "helping hand" to a blogger whose work the host likes but who doesn't get as much traffic. The host wants to show regular readers what he or she sees in the guest. I think Will's motivation is a little more complicated, and I don't want to attribute thoughts to him he may not have. But I do know he's extended a helping hand to me previously. And it's worked. My visit here has generated a nice little surge in readership for BTQ (thanks, folks!). Of course, with Will's absence, he may have wanted someone to keep things from getting too quiet around here.
I think this leads me to my conclusion: What makes a successful guest-blogging?
Biology provides us with a nice concept for a good guest-blogging relationship: symbiosis, or "two species deriving mutual benefit from the association." (I'm willing to be a parasite and exploit a more popular site for BTQ's gain, but I haven't had any takers yet.)
I will be interested to see how the De Novo modification of the symbiotic relationship works out. In the final Survivor challenge, the remaining contestants amass points based on links from other blogs -- links to De Novo, not the contestants' own blogs. I wish De Novo the best (I swear I don't have anything against any of those folks), but suffice it to say that I had more selfish reasons for joining the Survivor contest. While it's possible that someone linking to a post of mine at De Novo would follow me back home, my guess is that it's far more likely that the linkers already read the competitors' blogs and are using their links to cast votes for their favorites. Let's face it: Nothing I write on De Novo is going to get a link from Instapundit. I don't mean this to sound cold, but there's a limit to how much I'm willing to do De Novo's work for them. And I think I reach that limit when I feel like I've gotten as much out of the guest-blogging experience as I can. When it's no longer symbiotic, it's not worth it.
I didn't mean for this to wind up as a long ramble about my experience with De Novo. I really do give them credit for trying to do something new and different with guest-blogging. I think innovation is possible, but no one's really hit on the "killer app" yet. And that's because the current crossover method works so well for everyone involved. At least it does for me, and that's what matters. After all, if you need a guest-blogger, I'm your man.
To wrap up, many thanks to Will for inviting me and the rest of the Crescat gang for tolerating it. Thanks to everyone who has commented or emailed about my posts here, especially Scheherazade's thoughts on blog crushes. I'll have a follow-up on that topic sometime soon, so be sure to keep hitting "refresh" on Begging the Question at least a dozen times a day. I'm still waiting for someone to confess a blog crush on me. Until that happens, I'll keep posting stuff like this. So somebody hurry up and love me so I can write about something that matters.
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