s skippy the bush kangaroo: ted barlow disease strikes again - a skippy musing

skippy the bush kangaroo

Monday, January 08, 2007

ted barlow disease strikes again - a skippy musing

the latest victim of tbd: the erudite michael berube.

also, it looks as if kevin hayden of american street is coming down with a bad case of tbd. and digby informs us that billmon and jeanne d'arc have called it quits (we already knew about kevin of catch.com).

all of this saddens us, but it certainly does not surprise us. we've been following the spread of ted barlow disease, or tbd, since it was first spotted in 2002, when it took down (who else?) ted barlow.

of course, ted fought back and went on to blog again back at crooked timber. and, truth be told, remember that billmon and jeanne and michael have all had previous bouts with this dreaded affliction.

let's face it, blogging is only slightly more productive than masturbation, and a whole lot less fun. unless you are one of the lucky more talented ones, like kevin drum, who gets paid for blogging, or lucky smart ones, like atrios or kos who have big enough audiences to command mucho dinero for their blogads, chances are you won't get paid enough for blogging to buy a 15 inch monitor.

so that means one of two things, if you're a blogger. you are either really stupid and like to waste your time writing inconsequential things probably nobody ever reads, or you are incredibly dedicated to your political ideals and believe you are making a difference, as well as being really stupid and like to waste your time writing inconsequential things probably nobody ever reads.

either way, sooner or later reality is going to sneak up and bite you on the ass. and the reality is, life away from the keyboard is not only more tangible and fulfilling than blogging, it's ultimately better on your lower back and eye strain.

so, we are absolutely not surprised that some of the best bloggers have succumbed to the dreaded ted barlow disease. aside from those listed above, let's not forget south knox bubba, zizka, jess of pandagon, who went on to real world work, kyn of shock and awe, counterspin, ben and alex, the originators of bluegrassroots, both of whom also went on to real world jobs. and annatopia has promised to come back. and of course, we lament the loudest over the grand-daddy of all lefty bloggers, the horse.

and let's remember to keep hope alive. not only is ted barlow disease not fatal, it has often been known to go into remission, allowing the blogger to feel good about sharing his/her/its feelings and thoughts with the audience again. dcmedia girl, blogtopus, the watchful babbler of doxagora, and of course, ted barlow himself, have come back to blog once more (tho the babbler has apparently had a relapse, and ted, alas, is nowhere to be found in blogtopia,and yes! we coined that phrase).

[ed. note: ironically, it was kevin hayden who points out to us that also experiencing remission are john emerson of zizka at seeing the forest and r. neal, aka south knox bubba, who toils at knoxviews.

[p.p.s. also our good buddy dave johnson reminded us that john is zizka is john at stf.]

you ask, what is our point? we ask, after 4 1/2 years of blogging, suddenly we're expected to have a point? but seriously, a wiser man than us once said, all good things come to an end. nothing lasts forever. it's all over except the shouting. to everything turn turn turn.

what we are trying to say is, mourn not these cyber-entities, for their authors have done nothing but go on to live their lives in three dimensions, something most of us could probably afford to do more of. they are happy and healthy and living productive lives in the real world. it's us who should be mourned, leading our lives in front of computer screens, as if the pixels in front of our eyes were the important things.

we say unto you, ted barlow disease is but an opportunity to interact on a physical plane with the world, and not in the safety of moderated comments.

be not sad, friends. they who contract tbd are all in a better place.

the real world.

ask not for whom the blog tolls. it tolls for thee.
posted by skippy at 11:13 PM |


The very night of the election I felt like that equation of urgency-to-blog vs necessity-to-make-a-living had changed. Our Nation Emergency was pushed back -- maybe by only a few weeks, we'll see what Bush does next... So I understand this.

I'm still blogging but the necessity of making a living really is ringing its bell in my hear now...

Note that zizka is a Real Blogger (meaning he couldn't stay quit). He's John Emerson at Seeing the Forest - very occasionally.
commented by Anonymous Dave Johnson, 5:18 PM PST  
Hey, if you get bored there's always unmoderated comments!
commented by Blogger Summerisle, 8:43 PM PST  
I blog because I'm wired to write. If I weren't writing blog posts (and my blog posts tend to be kind of infrequent and pieces of actual writing, and not just a link and a few stray comments), I'd be doing what I used to do pre-blog, and bashing these things out every once in a while and sending them around to people via "town hall e-mails." Failing that, I could clean them up for publication. Blogging is easier than trying to submit stuff to actual editors, though, even if my track record is pretty good.

*shrug* I'm going to write anyway; I might as well blog. Gotta have a hobby. I actually don't give a damn if nobody ever reads my stuff; the fact that people do (and occasionally even give me money for non-blogging-type writing!) hasn't stopped delighting me in over a decade now.
commented by Blogger Interrobang, 11:59 PM PST  
I have a full time job and blog at night or sometimes on a lunch break like now. I usually write only one post each day, but I try to make it as well researched as I can. I thought about quitting after the election, but my Congressional District failed to break Democratic by the smallest of margins and I still think we are in a national emergency and am not fully comforted with Dems in the House and Senate so long as they are saying bonehead things like Biden and Hoyer claiming Bush can do anything in Iraq he wants as commander in chief like the Constitution was never written.
commented by Blogger Ellen Beth, 9:05 AM PST  
I echo Interrobang; I can't not write, and blogging has the instant gratification of seeing something in print that others can read very quickly -- as long as Blogger is functional, that is.

As a playwright, I submit scripts to theatres and literary managers and occasionally I get back a letter telling me "thanks for the submission but it doesn't meet our present needs," or whatever. But one came back that told me I'm kind of glad they didn't choose my play. It said, in part, "congratulations on the arduous task of writing a play." That told me that they had no idea why people like me write; we do it because it is how we can express our thoughts, and if we couldn't write, we'd whither. Speaking for myself, if writing was arduous, I wouldn't do it. I am not interested in self-torture. Writing is an act of love, and blogging is just one way. I have two novels-in-progress, I'm collaborating on a musical, and I'm still flogging "Can't Live Without You" to anyone who is interested in a two-act romantic comedy with five characters and a single set.

I am sorry that those other bloggers have given up, but as you noted, skippy, they come back. Eventually, they all do.
commented by Blogger Mustang Bobby, 9:33 AM PST  
PS: Somewhere in this blog there's an unclosed italics [i] tag...
commented by Blogger Mustang Bobby, 9:35 AM PST  
blogging is the model t version of the new media that is coming our way. and it beats leaving the message playfield to the corporate media.
commented by Blogger Howard Martin, 1:08 PM PST  
you are kinda pathetic for using ted barlow's name this way. unless it's actually some homage to him that i can't figure out. an obvious case of jealousy that you have never had received the respect or had the impact he did. take time to know him - he's one in a million and exponentially smarter, more clever, more interesting and classier that you peops show with your "tbd" posts.

can i get a? ... baud-auss! (josh berkowitz)
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 12:08 AM PDT  
yes, it is an homage to ted barlow, and no, you can't figure it out.
commented by Blogger skippy, 12:15 AM PDT  
I like to get up early to go out and breathe fresh air. I feel that it is good for health and a good habit
commented by Blogger Love Kpop, 6:33 PM PST  

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