Pummel and Thud

Are blogs the modern cultural form of self-expression? And when I say ‘self-expression’, I meant the polite phrase for stress-reliever and aggression-releaser.

A place to go to and write when someone has slighted us, when we feel we’ve been unfairly treated or bullied, when we have a beef with our boss or when we’re upset over the world’s affairs but have no other form of recourse?

What is the preferred external outlet to mirror the internal disturbance?

What did women use to do when they got angry back then? I bet many an angry pummel was thrown into the bread dough they were kneading, or an overly loud thud of the pestle into the mortar they’re pounding the spices with.

In a polite society, anger is a carefully constrained emotion. Hurt too. Not too much but very, very little. Even at our worst, we must still be civil as an orange.

What did men use to do when they got slighted, and their honour needed redeeming? I think they were duels – were those a form of expression?

It seems that when a post is produced, there is a belief that some semblance of life’s fairness would be breathed back into the world. That somehow, even though it doesn’t explicitly mention that unjust person who sucked out the sunshine, retaliation was given and justice was met. Or as my old law teacher said, cathartic.

Perhaps modern society is growing odder. Or maybe society had always been slightly more on the side of loopy – because here we are blogging to the world and airing the most personal of issues. At the same time, we valiantly defend our privacy and take advantage of being present yet ignored, we clutch purposefully to our insignificance, pursuing anonymity through being but one tiny drop in the tsunami of voices online.

If there is freedom of speech, why do we not feel free to just voice our grievances? Litigation can be the main reason. Protecting feelings and relationships might be another reason, or simply fear that we might get sacked. Thus we are the unfortunate children of modernity, all the freedom to roam in the online world and no place to truly be.

And when there are barriers, people usually find an alternative route, and one of the ways is through blogging (but not blogging) about it.

Blogging this way therefore, requires the artful use of metaphors, cloaking, insinuating, and for some, pretending to care about issues that we would otherwise not have cared for, merely that they serve a useful vehicle as analogies.

It is perhaps a permutation of philosophical esotericism, what is defined as, “the practice of communicating one’s unorthodox thoughts “between the lines”, a common practice until the end of the eighteenth century.”¹

Except that in the empty spaces where one is usually guided to look in the olden days for those marginal ideas, have succinctly been replaced today by self-centric annoyances, jumping out and scaring the wits out of the innocent readers.

Indeed the readers should feel cheated, those readers who only read the untranslated versions. How much they are missing out. If only they know the drama and emotions, the undercurrents that broil behind each post, beneath each commentary on the exchange rates, each analysis of the stanzas of long forgotten Roman poems, or each smirking, sarcastic review of a movie. All made public. All of them, raw and personal.

Many bloggers also give links to the interesting things they’ve read these days. Thus, even links can be a form of self-expression. Twenty percent perhaps are posted because they truly are interesting, but the other eighty? You would be hard-pressed to convince me that the choosing of them are not in some way or another affected by the blogger’s mood.

Do I approve of the practice? It doesn’t matter. That is the beauty of online freedom, you don’t need anyone’s approval, least of all mine.

Is it ok to deceive the reader by slipping in another layer to the literal reading of your post? To that, I ask in return, is it even termed a deception when the art hung in the museums are nothing but layers and yet no one seems to mind?

To summarise, look at this post. Did you think I would bother writing it, touching on the usage of metaphors as the metaphors and publishing it in the most public of all manners, if I did not have a personal gripe?

  1. http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/P/bo18692306.html


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