My god, the pulse of this song. The stumbling over your own feet, the running breathless down a shaggy copse, the gravel grinding under your soles, the hiccups, the tears, a nostalgia bordering on hysterics. This song pulls you along like a toddler yanking your hem, and every time she looks over her shoulder at you, she is older, stronger, and wilder. She grows up as you both run, run, run.
I can’t get it out of my head, a comment Warren Ellis made months ago about the blog being, effectively, dead. The blog as a medium unto itself, that is. He may have been paraphrasing Bruce Sterling in turn, but I find myself agreeing.
You know I’m a reject from the gameblog bubble; I did short and angry stints at Kotaku, Destructoid, and Wired. I was not exactly a hot property, but my special brand of artless gonzo made me lukewarm, maybe, in a brief arena of madness where venture capitalists would PayPal me $12 for a paragraph about how much I despised the latest Mario boilerplate. Mr. S laughed at me in the car about this yesterday. “I was railing against the rampant payola in the game industry,” I shouted, “I was the only motherfucker righteous enough not to sit up and pant at the prospect of a weekend at the Burbank Hilton and all the Bawls I could suck down!” He suggested that some modicum of tact would have brought me through the subsequent gameblog collapse with a cushy writing gig, and plenty more paid trips to Tokyo Games Show.
Tact is not what the people wanted, I replied, bringing my fist down on the dashboard. Which is a half-truth. And I was laughing.
Blogging is dead for me. I always hated the word. Ectomo lies fallow, maybe salted under. The front page is a wasteland of itty bitty posts I’ve slapped up out of guilt, with the occasional, still-warm contribution from Ross Rosenberg. Qais Fulton is happily jobless, and still cannot be induced to post at all. John Brownlee, ostensibly my partner in all this tentacular scree, has vanished utterly. I glimpse him, sometimes, through scraps of internet fog, frolicking overseas. He seems happy. His last batch of posts was brilliant, and met with ferociously stupid commentary from what remains of our audience. No word from him since, and I don’t blame him.
What do we do with the giant retard baby that is Ectomo, sloshing around in bathwater that is, at this point, mostly urine? It’s tempting, to just shut the doors and walk away while it quietly drowns. We were never paid for this, anyway. Attempts to monetize have been pathetic, at best. Laughing Squid and Kircher Society (which seems to have vanished) and the rest of the graceful-goofy culture blogs have our material well in hand. I don’t even read RSS feeds anymore. I quit a few months ago, much as an experiment, and have felt no urge to return.
Twitter has Zeno’s Paradoxed our Internet experience down from occasional, hearty meals to a steady glucose drip. Serious Writers™ have taken to pithy observations in 140 characters, chewed on and spat out over the course of their day like a chaw habit. The only people who object are the ones showing dangerous signs of Goddamn Kids and Their Fancy Gadgets, like JWZ, who objects to Twitter based mostly on the character limit. He insists that no well-composed thought could possibly take so few letters to express; the format has already been explored in IRC, etc. But the man has been working his LiveJournal for close to a decade now, and based on his rejection of various other platforms (like the iPhone) his objection to the Twitter format is sort of an endorsement in of itself (sorry Jamie). This little sugar-dribble internet podium is the future. Thinly-sliced.
I’m ashamed of letting Ectomo deflate. When we started, there was this swollen mass of untapped material. We felt the call to bring this mass to our readers, whom we regarded with affection. We wanted to chum them with this wonderful stuff. But we ran low on new ephemera, the comments grew stupider, and the jokes got stale. About the fortieth time someone sent us that Japanese porno screencap of the girls sucking down octopus slime, I began to feel uncomfortable. We’d had an explosive landing that had dug us into a mile-long furrow of Lovecraft, moustaches, and—actually, that was about it. A teensy stack of wacky in-jokes, discarded somewhere in limbo.
How do you cap off a website? I suppose we just leave it there, like we did with Table of Malcontents. It’ll hurt.
I’ve toyed with the idea of radically changing the format. Use Yahoo Pipes, Tumblr, Soup, and the rest of the aggregators to scrape up and plop out material from our writers’ various haunts, to the Ectomo front page. Ectomo was always sort of intended as a catchall for the four of us, but we never made use of it that way. After exhausting all other options, it may be time to turn it full-auto and let it generate itself from now on.