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Blogtards all went horribly, horribly wrong. Our expert panel weighs in on blogging, bloggers, blogs and why most of them suck.

by Dave McAwesome

Saying you don't like Blogg'd or Sites That Suck is like saying you don't like science. It examines a problem, suggests a hypothesis and offers evidence to support its theory. If you don't like the result, the onus is on you to prove otherwise...or else eat it. That's just the way life is. Stop being a motard about it.

Brad Chesterton Jr. started Blogg'd after surfing the "next blog" button on the Blogger toolbar. "Frightening," he recalls. "I realized rather quickly that personal blogs are the direct result of a society that feels like it must encourage and compliment even the most un-talented. I can only imagine that years of awarding ribbons and medals to 6th place finishers have taken their toll." He began weighing in on blogs with brutally scathing reviews. "I just felt that the blogosphere needed some sort of balance, someone who wasn't afraid to stand up and say 'hey, you suck.'" To some, being Burn'd by Blogg'd is a Red Badge of Courage. To most, however, it's a hard jab to the ribs--a swift yank back into grim reality that you are not, in fact, the web superstar you thought you were.

If Blogg'd is the Cobra Commander of blog critiquing (angry, raving and vicious), Sites That Suck is the Destro (brutal, cold, analytical). That's right, kids, let's see Charlie Rose throw a G.I. Joe reference into one of HIS introductions.

Sites That Suck's approach to site reviewing draws from years of web design experience. STS strikes down font choices, javascript applications and general Photoshop impairment. "Everyone thinks they can design," says co-founder Eric, who reviews websites (not just blogs) with two other buddies. "Clearly, very few people can."

Both sites are very funny.

I am writing most of this on loose leaf paper in a lower east side, New York bar. The beer, like my writing, is going down well. So long as I can avoid an occasional free shot from the cute bartender, I may complete this article in an uncharacteristically coherent and lucid fashion. I am, thankfully, aided by Brad, who checks in from a hotel in London, and Eric, whom I immediately loathe upon learning he's a Red Sox fan. As you might guess, Eric and STS are based in Massachusetts.

The latin word for blog is abominatus
Dave: Technology, once an instrument to serve humankind in the form of automobiles, air conditioning and Guinness, seems to have failed us in the form of sites like allow any moron with a keyboard to own a blog. Apart from, say, the atomic bomb, Technology used to have a pretty good track record until blogging came around. What happened? Suddenly, we have all these blogs but still no damn aircars.

Would we merely be pointing out the obvious to say that most blogs suck? I don't mean "suck" in a "last season of Seinfeld" way, I mean "suck" in an unredeemable, no-good-can-come-of-this, car-stuck-on-the-train-tracks way.

Brad: It is a correct assumption, but judging from the amount of crappy blogs out there I doubt it's so obvious. Your car-stuck-on-the-train-tracks analogy is very appropriate. I have always noticed in the movies and TV shows that when a car gets stuck on the tracks the driver sits there and keeps trying to restart the car, only to be killed moments later by the oncoming train. It's very similar to the behavior of most bloggers. They keep writing and promoting their blogs even though they know deep in their hearts (at least I hope) that their blog sucks. It's just as illogical and stupid as the guy who keeps trying to start the car. Why most bloggers won't jump out of the car and to safety before the train slams into them I'll never understand.

Eric: I don't think they suck from a I-like-to-talk-about-myself-and-think-I'm-interesting perspective. They're cathartic. Plus, I really think people need to know everything about me. Otherwise, who would join my fan club and buy all my Cafe Press stuff? Think about it, dude.

how blogs started
This missive from the corporate overlords in the fortune cookie business
is arguably to blame for the horrifying rise of blogs.

Dave: Here's Reason Number 347 why I hate bloggers: They put up a PUBLIC website, spam comment boards, put a link to their blog in their sig in every message board, sign up to traffic generating sites like BlogExplosion and BlogClicker, but when someone criticizes them they bitch and moan, "Hey, y r u trashing my blog? It's just a personal little site. I didn't ask you to come here and piss on my carpet." Discuss (with venom).

Brad: First, Dave, let me say that I don't piss on anyone's carpet. I go to their house and say, "Hey, you know your carpet sucks? Maybe you should get rid of it, or exchange it for a nicer carpet, or vacuum and shampoo it more regularly." The problem with most bloggers is they are too stupid to realize that they have no talent, and their stupidity is fueled by comments from people just as stupid as them. I think a lot of bloggers make the mistake of taking positive comments as a sign that people actually like their blog. Most comments are only there as a way to get traffic and comments back to their own blog. It's like a gigantic orgy of retarded people. The funny thing is, I get the "my blog is only for myself" answer to my reviews quite frequently. That's interesting considering that all of the blogs I review I find on some sort of traffic exchange. I guess what I am trying to say is a lot of bloggers are just pussies, plain and simple.

Eric: People gotta realize, not everyone's gonna like their blog. Just the way not everyone likes W. Some people do. They are dumb.

japanese tattoos suck and are evidence that you are stupid
The back of the same fortune cookie note. Somewhere, a frat guy is looking at the Chinese letter tattoo he got last year during spring break in Daytona Beach. "Rats," he says, feeling the sting of cosmic justice (which, to extend the metaphor, must take the shape of some kind of interstellar space wasp. Of justice.).

Enter Carnonymous
I don't even hear the music in the bar anymore. Instead, each note is an individual blog sounding off on the issue of the day. They are happy, angry, sad, bitter, resentful, oblivious, hateful, joyous and rambling. But each note fares just as well as any other in the poor acoustic environment of a bar. They careen off hard walls and ceilings, bounce in tinny dissonance off pipes and bottles. To ears dulled by alcohol, the notes are warbly and distant--their anthropomorphic mouths filled with gumballs.

Brad and Eric opt for iTunes. As such, their music experience is immediate, clear and direct. Good for listening and relaxing, but not the sort of conduit for bizarre metaphors often induced by my cheap, happy-hour beer. Brad, normally based in Milan, Italy (lucky bugger), checks out his London hotel room. The Molten Browne toiletries are already in his travel bag. The soap is next.

At this point we were joined by a fourth member of the panel, Carnonymous. The Austin, Texas-based car salesman is best known for jacking you up for that rust-proofing con with the last car you bought. The rest of us double-check our wallets as Carn sits down, cursing his profession under our breath.

Dave: Carn, you're a duly appointed representative of the automotive industry. Where's my goddamn aircar?

Carn: I feel ya. Too bad that rat bastard Delorean died; he was on the right track. I know what you're saying though. We have the power to give Hugh Hefner a boner, make Britney Spears sound like she can actually sing, and airbrush Carnie Wilson into attractiveness. A flying car can't be that freakin hard.

Dave: You realized early on in your blogging days that blogs were, in the most general sense, stupid. You even changed the name of your site to distance yourself from blogtards.

Carn: My site's original title was "The Most Hard Hitting Thought Provoking Blog EVER." I had gotten banned from a message board I posted on regularly, and the joke was that I and a few others like me posted some of the "most hard hitting thought provoking ideas ever" when we wrote about stuff like, "Which female pornstar has the best fake orgasm moans," "Why Charles Nelson Reilly was ahead of his time" and stuff like that. We had deadly serious conversations on obviously stupid and absurd stuff. The fact that we were serious irked the hell out of a lot of people on the board.

After I got a chance to read some blogs, a few things happened. Number one, I spent about three hours continuously vomiting and shitting. It wasn't pretty. After I recovered, I decided I didn't want to be associated with the word 'blog.' So I changed Angryface_Central to a website instead of a blog.

Dave: And the answer to the pornstar question was...? Well, wait, let's stay on topic for a moment. Here comes the lightning round.

The lightning round
Dave: If blogging were a disease, what disease would it be?

Eric: What's that with Ben Affleck? I wonder if he has a site. It would have to be admitted to STS just on principle. And Jennifer Garner? Lost ALL respect.

Dave: Eric is obviously distracted by a Red Sox game and a whopping ONE World Series Championship in the last 86 years. Brad?

Brad: If blogging were a disease, I hope it would be leprosy. That way we would be able to round up all the bloggers and send them off to live isolated in caves. They would only be able to circulate amongst themselves, and our only contact with them would be leaving food at a designated point for them to pick up later. The best part of all is that blogging, just like leprosy, would eventually disappear forever. The only mention of blogging would be in history books, and people would shudder at the thought that there once existed such a disease.

Carn: A virus that makes you go into a coma for like 20 years. After reading two of them, I can seriously feel myself slipping into darkness.

space wasp of justice pic
Go, space wasp of justice! Go! Actual sightings of this cute little guy are rare, as you might imagine, but I'm pretty sure this sketch is accurate. See, instead of wings, he's got a Startech Industries Mach 7 booster rocket strapped to his thorax (or abdomen...whatever). Cosmic justice is never far so long as Space Wasp can fly three times the speed of an appellate court.

Dave: The lightning round continues. What are the top two or three things on a blog that instantly bubble your bile?

Eric: (1) Putting your photo in the header of your site. Who cares? It's bad enough I have to stumble onto your site while looking for, I mean flowers for nice people. Why do I need to see your mug? (2) Colors, colors, colors. I mean, can we get a color scheme here? (3) Yah, and stop messing with your CSS. Any idiot can tell you've done something wrong.

Carn: (1) Vloggers. Nuff said. (2) pe0pl3 th@t r1te l1k3 th!$ (3) All the mommy blogs. You know, the ones that are "I'm a Super Mommy!" attitude blogs. Fuck you. Nobody cares about your kids. Instead of blogging and posting pics of them for five hours a day, try raising your kids.

Brad: (1) Memes. What's the point of asking yourself a bunch of stupid questions? Things like, "If I were a proctologist I would..." and then answering, "I'd be looking at assholes instead of being one." I mean, you've had all the time in the world to think up a witty answer so it's not like a real interview. (2) Paypal tip jars really piss me off. Most people won't pay a fee for premium news content from Yahoo or The New York Times, so why should they leave a tip for your post about the time Grandma Lipschitz accidentally farted at Thanksgiving dinner? (3) Don't even get me started on endless blog rolls. When I see a blog with like 80 blogs on its link list, I know I'm in for a rough ride. Why can't people be a bit more selective? There is no way someone is reading 80 blogs per day. I can't even find 30 blogs I like, let alone 80. It all goes back to the whole retarded orgy argument really. I could go on forever, Dave.

Blogger, thy name is Narcissus
In fact, Brad did go on forever and almost became a quivering mass of babbling incoherence were it not for a spark of lucidity. He quickly shifted to hatching a plan to swipe a second bathrobe from the hotel cleaning cart to take back to his mansion in Milan.

Dave: Blogging and narcissism. It's like peanut butter and jelly. Meat and potatoes. Tango and Cash. What gives? Look, I'm fully aware that my byline reads "by Dave McAwesome," but jeebus, that's a joke--I don't go around introducing myself that way to attractive single girls (isn't that, after all, the true measure of a man?). So are these people THAT starved for attention? It's hard to see such spotlight whoring outside Oscar night.

Eric: You mean like that chick who got fired from her job, and now every blog links to her like she started the whole blogging thing? I mean, what's so good about her? Though I would sell my left nut for her site's traffic.

Carn: Apparently, 99 percent of bloggers are 14-year-old girls on their period. Whiny, over dramatic, and hyper emotional. They go from: "My sites fantastic, everyone loves me" to "Why would someone criticize me, all they are is rude, angry little people waaaaaaaaaaaaah" to "THOSE MOTHERFUCKERS THINK THEY CAN CRITICIZE ME? ASSHOLES JIZZMOPPERS #%¡$¢ %?#%¡$¢ %!"

This goes on for like 10 paragraphs. What's hilarious is that everyone who reads their blog then chimes in. They get super pissed when someone points out that their site blows. Nobody cares about the sammich they made yesterday or their review of the latest episode of Gilmore Girls.

Political blogs
Let's not even discuss political bloggers. There's no punishment too harsh for these troglodytes, each of which claims to have the exclusive patent on Truth. Have we not learned that regular exercise is a much better conduit for unleashing irrational hatred? Why these knuckleheads have chosen politics as their daily heavy-bag is beyond me. At best, it is a minor amusement to see people, who know jack-all about the subject, pontificate as experts. Encore, my little troglodytes, encore.

At least potheads have the good sense to keep their couch-based, amateur philosophizing to themselves (bless their lazy hearts).

Carn: As a matter of fact--

Dave: No, no. There'll be no debate on this topic. The only thing worse than political blogging is the discussion of political blogging. That and Mariah Carey. God, I hate her.

my library rules
If Noam Chomsky ever shifts his eye from criticizing American media to the blogosphere, then surely we can say in hushed tones, "The worm has turned." Alan Moore's "Watchmen" and the collected G.I. Joe 1-10 round out this snippet of my library. Yeah, my library rules.

Blog Thunderdome
Dave: Should people have to apply for a state-mandated license in order to blog? (Just to cut down on the chaff?)

Carn: Much like having kids, I think someone should have to pass some kind of approval to blog.

Brad: A state license is a good idea but too expensive. You would have to hire people to give the exams, issue the licenses and then monitor the system to make sure there was no abuse. Way too costly. It would be easier to pass a quality blog law--in other words, a series of guidelines on quality in three areas: grammar, graphics and content. If you are caught with a crappy blog you get fined $5,000 dollars, 2nd time $10,000 and 3rd time a jail sentence of three months. All you would need is for three or four guys to surf Blog Explosion, hand out 30 or 40 1st time fines and I guarantee 90% of all blogs would disappear overnight. Drastic yes, but very necessary.

Eric: No, who would we make fun of?

Dave: I can't argue with such clear-headed logic, Eric.

Eric: People need to know there's help out there. They don't need to have a sucky site. Please, for the cost of a cup of coffee a minute, a designer can help. Please.

Dave: Let's briefly touch on BlogExplosion's Battle of the Blogs (this hyperlink doesn't directly access it; apparently you have to be a member to see that page...sorry), where members pit their sites against each other to win BlogExplosion credits. The winner is determined by a best of nine vote from other members (best of nine...hey, just like the U.S. Supreme Court--the way some people enter their site in BotB you'd think that stupid contest has as much import as Constitutional matters). Am I too jaded to see the point to this mess?

Brad: The point is simple: It creates traffic for Blog Explosion. The whole idea of pitting one blog against another is stupid. The whole exercise is proof that most bloggers just don't get it. Blog Explosion basically doubles their traffic since losing blogs go to surf to get back the credits lost, and the winning blogs use theirs for traffic. In other words: two blogs battle, winning blog uses credits for traffic, losing blog surfs to get credits, views winning blogs while surfing, goes back to battle, repeat process = blog explosion owner laughing his ass off when he sells site to major internet company. There is an advantage for me though. Most of the Top 50 blogs at BotB have been lulled into a false sense of security by their battle successes making them prime targets for a review by Blogg'd. The reactions can be priceless.

Dave: There are so many reasons why BotB is a waste of time and energy, but personally, I think its greatest flaw is that its stakes are too low. I am forthwith and immediately introducing Blog_Thunderdome. Two blogs enter, one blog leaves. The loser is forbidden from blogging for two months. I predict Blog Thunderdome will receive zero entries, due to the crippling addiction blogging has become for the benighted masses. Nevertheless, Blog_Thunderdome is real, and it is accepting entries.

Carn: Battle of the Blogs sucks. I guarantee you 70 percent of the contestants have multiple user IDs and vote for themselves to win credits. Screw that, your Thunderdome idea is like 1,382,283 times better.

Dave: Just to clinch the earlier metaphor about a bad blog being a car stuck on the train tracks, thank you Brad and Eric for being the train that plows through such detritus.

Experience the cruel and horrible farce that is Blog Thunderdome.

blogs suck

Muchas gracias to Brad, Eric and Carnonymous of Blogg'd, Sites That Suck and Angryface Central, respectively. You guys rock.

Discuss in the forum.