Cracker by Damian Christie

And we're living here in Allentown...

The problem with sometimes having opinions on stuff is that – by definition – sometimes you don’t. Yeah I know, radical concept.

I think that’s largely to blame for so many blogs ending within the first year. We’ve all heard the stories about the majority of small businesses failing within a year or two, and the parallels are quite clear. After all, a good blog is like a small ideas factory. Or a small factory for ideas – either way, you get my point.

Walking around the subdivisions that make up the NZ blogosphere, one can’t help notice the abandoned factories, not to mention the boarded up shopfronts and unsanitary homekill outfits. In my brief and very unscientific survey, it seems the right-wing blogs suffer a higher infant mortality rate, but I mention this merely as an observation, rather than a slight on the right. For every runningblogcapitalist, badpolitics and mediacow there may be hundreds of failed lefties, I just didn’t find them. It’s unsurprisingly difficult to find something that no longer exists.

Except – in the case of most failed blogs – they do still exist. Internet real estate is cheap and easy to come by, so rather than redevelop an abandoned lot, it’s just left to decay. In some cases there’s a goodbye note, a virtual Dear John (or is it more like a suicide note?); in others, it’s like the Marie Celeste. The jug’s just boiled, there’s dinner on the table, but not a soul in site.

For some, the constant effort simply proves too much. Sure, there aren’t any deadlines, in theory you can come and go as you please. But after a week or so, the emails start coming in, “are you okay?”, “...haven’t heard from you for a while”, and there's a definite pressure to post.

In other instances, removing the veil of anonymity seems to have a silencing effect. Media Cow went pretty quiet when his identity was leaked (although his site now promises a comeback). After I confronted him about his identity, Radionzbias disappeared without trace, at least until recently, when he (or someone using his alias) surfaced as a guest blogger on PNN.

[I almost forgot to tell you that story. A few months ago I was shown pretty decent evidence that The Blogger Formerly Known as RadioNZBias was an attractive gentleman by the name of Russell Hutchinson, the principal of a company called Chatswood Consulting. I sent Mr Hutchinson a couple of emails, which remained unanswered (although his alter ego did offer an apology soon after). So I called him up, and asked him whether he was indeed the masked malingerer.

“No comment” was the answer.

I offered to take that as a ‘yes’.

“I don’t think you should take that as a yes, or a no” said he.

Way to pull a poker face, dude.

Anyhow, that conversation was enough to satisfy me – I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions. Hutchie, if you’re reading, far from going to ground after being outed, may you now have enough courage in your convictions to do what the rest of us do every day – put your name to what you say.]

I digress. In some cases, family concerns (or Being in a Family Way) grinds the ideas conveyor belt almost to a halt, or a change in vocation means the man hours just aren’t there. When I was working as a media monitor, I was intensely absorbing an average of ten hours of talk radio and television current affairs each day. These days I barely have time to read Sideswipe.

And Cracker reflects this. While I might opine from time to time about the state of the nation, less and less are such matters Cracker’s raisin detour. If you want half-arsed opinions, there’re plenty about, on both sides. If like me, you just enjoy reading people who have a nice turn of phrase, or an interesting take on “stuff”, then hopefully you’ll find it here.

I read something today that had been written about this entry. The bilious blogger seemed to like something I’d written, but was at pains to impress that he hated the fact it was me who had said it. Not sure why exactly, although he does refer to me as “self-appointed important person”. I must have missed the memo.

Surely it can’t be because I have a blog? – everyone has those these days, even the detractor himself. All I can come up with is Blog Envy. And looking at the lack of response to his hard work, it seems to be true. The poor guy has only had ONE comment back in the past six weeks, and even that was only some guy quoting Reagan. That’s enough to send even the most mild-mannered blogger on a rampage. So please, go to his page, say nice things about his writing, tell him he’s clever. Throw the man a bone.

Enough of that. Thanks for reading thus far, I’ll be back in a week with another instalment. I don’t promise to change your world, but I promise the Cracker factory will keep on churning out whatever it is you’ve come to expect. As of this month, I’ve been writing Cracker for longer than my longest relationship, so I’m kinda attached to it, and to you, especially those who send feedback ‘n’ stuff. But whatever anyone tells you – even me – I’m not important. I’m just a guy… standing in front of a computer... asking it to love him.

(Sometimes I think I love that movie too much.)