“What have you got against James May?” said a voice down the phone. Nothing, said I. “Why have you blogged about him then?” Which made me wonder how many other people feel the same way.
For me, blogging has several functions – it allows me to write about things I believe in passionately (or which annoy the hell out of me), and to provide information, but other times I write just for the pleasure of it and, I hope, for the entertainment of others. James May falls into the latter category (as does Sedentary Birding, which could so easily have been a very short book review). For the record, I actually like May – though I do wish he’d get a hair cut… The perceptive among you would have discerned that the May post was primarily about the crappiness of the experience of travelling by train with luggage in the UK! The tags and categories actually provide a pretty good clue.
Now I’d always thought the difference was reasonably easy to discern. Not that it matters overmuch – everything I write depends on people enjoying what I write (or finding it useful) – both would be a bonus.
Blogging is a lot like journalism – in fact to hear journalists bitch about blogging, it’s too much like it for comfort; theirs anyway. The fact that I put words on a page does not mean that I actually believe every word, any more than a hack does. OK, in the obviously factual posts, like those on health or benefits issues, every word is true, as it is in those subjects I am quite clearly passionate or angry about. In some posts, though, though – and we’re back to May again, as it’s the perfect example – one subject can be used to lead into the issue I really want to cover.
If I’d just written that travelling by train, with luggage, sucks, it would have been short and dull. Written as it was, I made my point in – I hope – an entertaining way. What’s wrong with that, for pity’s sake? It does not mean I have it in for James May (though he did provide me with the ammunition by making his idiotic pronouncement to the effect that real men don’t have wheels on their suitcases – so it serves him right!). I do, though, have it in for Virgin, and their rotten trains.
So you see, just because I use James May to lead into my main point, it doesn’t mean I hate him.