January 13, 2012

Of Shoes - And Ships - And Sailing Wags


© The artist formerly known as O Docker, 2012

This will be another of my long-winded and rambling posts, So, if you're in a hurry, you may want to skip it altogether and head straight over to Facebook.

A few days ago, Tillerman posted about an invitation extended to a few young bloggers by shoe giant Puma to visit the current stop on the Volvo around the world yacht race. The current stop is in exotic Abu Dhabi.

What may seem strange at first is that the bloggers are not sailing bloggers. They're urban hipsters, fashionista, photographers, and, oh, did I mention that they're all pretty young? Puma, if you hadn't noticed, has spent a few bucks sponsoring one of the modest little sailing ships that's entered in the Volvo race. But Puma's products, like the bloggers, also have very little to do with sailing. They make shoes which used to be functional and boring things for joggers. But their latest offering are, well, how shall I describe them? I've given you my best shot at a deconstructionist interpretation at the top of this post.

"What's this," typed the Tiverton typist, "I've been tenaciously typing about sailing for years now in one of the best-read sailing blogs on the planet" (he didn't actually say those words, but they were there for the reading if you read between the lines) "and no one has offered me any free trip to Abu Abu Dhabi Dhabi." "No one has given me behind the scenes entrée to this great sailing spectacle."

He was mildly miffed. He waxed a bit ironic, hurled a few brickbats at the upstart bloggers (whoever they were), was called for his curmudgeonliness, and has been back-pedalling with apologies and compensatory posts ever since.

Worse, these post-pubescent, pimply-faced poseurs with their instagrams and their cinemagraphs had the cheek to have more readers than Tillerman. How dare they?

Hmmm, did someone say big numbers of readers? And right in the sweet spot of the hottest demographic for a shoe company? You could hear the knees of the Puma marketing dudes quivering and knocking.

"Send the kids off to the races! Put them at the helm! Let them drive!"

And the knock-kneed shoe Nazis had news for Tillerman, too:  "No sloop for you!"

So, what are the lessons here?

I, like Tillerman, am of an age that needs lessons from life's comeuppances. Ours is a cosmos of cause and effect. Excrement doesn't end up on our cheek for no reason. It comes from somewhere. Somewhere, there must be a chimpanzee with a shit-eating grin on his face.

I think the chimpanzee in our little parable is father time. He is marching on. He is having some fun with graying old codgers like Tillerman and me.

We look at the work of the young bloggers and scratch our bald heads. Where are the carefully stated ideas? The logical arguments? The premise? The expostulation? The restatement? The conclusion? Where are the twenty-seven eight-by-ten color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one?

I think, little by little, things like expostulation and carefully-developed arguments, and all the rest are getting moved up to the attic of time. They are taking their place alongside the victrola. the hula hoop, the typewriter, and the iPhone 3.

Folks in their twenties don't talk the way I do. Or think the way I do. Or laugh at what I do. They have their own language and use it as well as I do mine. They are in more of a hurry than I am. They use fewer words. They talk like they text.

I feel like I am gradually getting nudged towards the attic, too. I'm not quite ready to go yet, but no one seems to care much if I do. And I think things will get on perfectly OK when I'm no longer here.

Another thing I've noticed lately that seems somehow related to all of this is less activity amongst the sailing blogs I follow. Fewer posts. Fewer comments. Maybe fewer blogs. To some extent, I think people are spending more time on Twitbook and less time blogging.

But the Puma Ten may be proof that blogging is alive and well, but just speaking a different language. The paragraph may be morphing into the cinemagraph. Not better. Not worse. But evolving, as things always do.

I was hoping all of this would come together a bit more cohesively at the end of this post. But I still can't quite pull it all together. There is my generation's obsession with neat little arguments that lead logically to clear conclusions, again.

If I were one of the Puma Ten, I don't think I would care much about that. I got my thoughts out there. It's your job to make sense of them.

So, maybe I'll throw this in your lap. What do you think? Is blogging dead? Has its golden age passed or is it about to begin? Is Twitbook better? Where are you spending most of your time online, lately?

Are you still awake?

Am I still breathing?

I wonder if the Puma Ten will know where the title of this post comes from.