Feeling a degree of intellectual jaundice? Yes, I am.

A couple of years ago, some very wise boffin at a talk at Oxford expressed the opinion that the internet was not quite the sooper-dooper resource we had been sold.  That whilst it did offer an infinitude of information at the click of one’s mousie, what it did not offer was understanding or any ability to weigh the importance of a fact or see and understand the significance thereof.

Which sounded very intellectual and savvy to me but I had other things to think about so I didn’t do a wulie wulie dance or anything.

But, you know what, that ancient boffin was spot on.

Because every day one encounters, if one is cruising about the internet, a bazillion blogs and articles which basically repeat what some other individual has talked about either six weeks ago or six months ago.  It’s endless.  And what does it contribute to the understanding of the past or past lives?  Nothing!  It’s just blah blah.

For many historical novelists it appears to be a form of publicity.  (I don’t know that it works in one’s favour…to me it’s just internet glut and more and more I see it as proof of not an original thought in said novelist’s head…)

Or maybe, in terms of some of it, it’s the historical version of celebritocricy–an effort to shew me the Kardashians of 1800–let me tell you, they were about as interesting as buckets of dried wallpaper paste, the same as today, and the study of their empty little brains will not even add an ice cream cone to your day.  (I like ice cream==not as much as cakey obviously, but…) And as for enhancing your understanding of the past…(I may need some ice cream here to recover the will to think…)

So today’s brief ranty-pants is to encourage the ladies and gentlemen of a writerly perhaps quasi-historical leaning to reconsider before they repeat what’s already been blogged about ad nauseum and where half the time, one can trace the line of the information from first appearance to its endless rehashing.

To remind everyone of a dictum that came about in the wake of the crammingness of stuff in Victorian houses so that there was so much STUFF in there you couldn’t see the  taxidermy squirrels for the squiggley flocked wallpaper, less is more.  

Okay, that’s enough grumping for today…well, not really.  I mean the weather’s foul but the roses, somehow amazingly, are still blooming their heads off, so I shall stop complaining and think how grand they are…pink and red and yellow and blowsy!


8 comments on “Feeling a degree of intellectual jaundice? Yes, I am.

  1. prue batten says:

    To be honest, M.m., I think I agree with you, which is why I subscribe to so few hist.fict blogs. They are regurgitative and repetitive and I get tired of the same old same old. I’d much prefer to read a blog about how writers need cakey and a good garden, or excellent dogs and a ride in the country or walking by the ocean to survive.
    By the way, have just made a glorious coffee cakey today with thick coffee butter icing. Very more-ish!

  2. Debra says:

    Then again there is only so much you can write about an historical subject and then it just becomes another persons view or rendition of the history they are trying to relate. Just my two cents.

  3. chasbaz says:

    There seems to be very little that is original on the net. I’m not an academic, but I understand that in anything you publish you should give credit to the source of your information, and that includes blogs, surely. But no – it’s open season. What is worse in my view is that much of what people are blindly promulgating is false, but people believe it because they think the net is authoritative. Hogwash! Humbug. More cake, Vicar?

  4. Feud_writer says:

    As one who spent years trying to persuade secondary school pupils that they should use the internet in a more discerning way, I fear that we now have a whole generation who play the numbers game. If several sites say the same thing then it must be true – no matter that the sites got the information from each other! Having said that, I don’t mind people blogging about a subject as long as they know what they’re talking about. After all, there are always folk for whom the ideas are in fact new and interesting. I prefer discussion groups where views are welcome but you have a critical mass of people who know the subject well.

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