The wisdom of Cold Bacon

I'm about to push out a feedback survey to ask what you think about this blog so far, after five months and 25 films.  While I prepare to do so, I just wanted to share a post that my friend Cold Bacon linked to me as we were in the midst of discussing his thoughts on Godard's Contempt [TSPDT #49].  I've always admired his "rabbit hole" approach to hyperlinking one page after another, but wondered if it might be better to present those linked texts as pop up hover texts (not that I know how to make that work myself).  In the course of our discussion he shared with me some thoughts he had posted a couple months ago that took a broader view of the purpose of all this blogging, posting and other communications facilitated online, and it's given me food for thought as I evaluate the ongoing purpose of this blog (and if you click on that one link in the middle of this passage, you'll see what i mean about rabbit holes).

There is this idea of sharing ideas—of a living dialogue rather than essays which are fixed and done. When you read something heartfelt—you want to talk to the person who wrote it. Or at least you want to feel that discussion is still possible. The web offers this promise. But the format of blogs is unappealing and discussion forums often devolve at best. So the idea is to create a sincere discussion, which is alive, or at least feels like it could be.

But one thing I have learned is that the best responses to thoughts and ideas do not emerge online, but rather in real life conversations. This could be at a party, a café, or even on email. I find those who are inclined to post post early and often. There is an unnatural sense of urgency, perhaps to post before someone else does. There seems to be a pressure to be clever or show off, at the expense of true meaning. The most thoughtful responses take more effort. They must be allowed to germinate and grow naturally. And then, as I find is the case with most of my friends, they must be forced out of people, sometimes at the threat of violence. Those are the best responses (I’m thinking of Paul and Clare specifically).

And so for this purpose, the web offers nothing new other than a broader reach in space and time. The conversation may traverse continents and may live as long as it lives, perhaps forever. As a practical advantage, the discussion can remain fixed in one virtual yet perfectly real and accessible place on the web. And if it is lost, it may be rediscovered. No matter how you found it, here is the discussion. Here is where it is happening. Not a recreation or rendition, but the actual thing itself. The possibility to contribute is always there, always here. We can build it together. But as I mentioned before about discussion forums devolving, the one key ingredient is there must be a good curator. More than just a censor. But someone who cares.  Who is going to be that curator? 



March 2007