Friday, 25 February 2011

How do you show weakness in a blog?

Carter Pewterschmidt: He's violating Sea Breeze.

Peter: No, he's just awkwardly positioning himself- NOW he's violating Seabreeze.

Screwed the Pooch is a classic Family Guy episode. After the family dog, Brian, realises he can’t control his sexual urges, he throws himself at prize female race dog, Seabreeze. Overwhelmed with shame, Brians finds his situation worsening when Seabreeze is found to be pregnant, and the finger is pointed at Brian.

When the race dog eventually gives birth, the puppies look strangely like Seabreeze’s owner, Carter- who briefly enters to call Seabreeze “a filthy whore”. Well. Although still a horny dog, Brian is off the hook and free to go home with his moron master and best friend, Peter.

Peter rounds off the episode with this afterthought: “Hey, you know what's funny? I always thought that dogs, erm, laid eggs. And, I learned something today.”

Peter and I have made a similar mistake.

Open this blog in a separate tab. Dig deep through the annals of entries. The further back you trawl, the less this blog features literature-related information and the pestering of celebrities. The content gets darker, more explicit, and uncomfortable to read- especially if you know me personally. As you’re probably noticing if you're reading my older work, I was a bit of a clown in my younger days- and not on purpose.

Peter, although being an archetypal idiot, has a similar mind frame to me and to many other writers. People write to be understood. We want people to see our strengths and to feel entertained by our cleverly structured arguments and gripping stories. But we also want people to grasp that we are human- we make mistakes and feel disappointment, regret and stupidity just like everyone else.

I have always understood that dogs are mammals that give birth to live young. However, I have also admitted to people I understood the phrase “to be shafted”- to be tricked, conned- to mean “to be sodomised.” Worse still, I admitted this on a work experience placement in a radio station. They never offered me an actual job. But at least now I understand this surprisingly non-sexual phrase. Just like Peter now understands how a puppy enters this world. We both took the risk of exposing ourselves as the idiots we are.

I make mistakes a lot in the real world, and only a fraction of them get mentioned here. Blog views don’t flood in for angsty, self-depreciating entries. (They do flood in when you quote Family Guy, though. Damn, I’m good!)

You might have a blog in which you want to discuss your own mistakes- whether that be in a hobby that you have or in something that’s very personal to you. The correct way to do this is to start your blog with strong, optimistic writing. Blog about what you love. Write well, and with passion. Be personal. You’re not writing a magazine article. Your blog might be on a particular subject, but there’s nothing wrong with your posts being partially about you. Then people will like you. And then…

Throw in a description or two of a personal error. Make us laugh with these anecdotes, like Peter Griffin did, only let us laugh with you, not at you, and- like Family Guy- watch your ratings climb.

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