Tags: tall poppy syndrome

8 Dec 2005, Comments Off on Worthy but dull triumphs over wry and writerly

Worthy but dull triumphs over wry and writerly

Author: Helen

So, I got this invitation to nominate people for a blogging competition by someone I didn’t know from some obscure ISP or whatever which I’d never heard of. So I deleted it as possible spam. Perhaps I don’t get out enough, but the results are here. Sorry to all of those people I would have nominated, if I’d known I was meant to take it seriously.

It’s strange that there were only 530 entries, compounded by the fact that “blogs” included straight-up commercial blogs, like Trollhattan and Problogger. Well, OK, them’s their rules. But it seemed to make for a very wide and shallow flit over the surface of Australian blogging.

The winner, Singing Bridges, is not so much a blog as a nice, pretty web site with a rudimentary blog attached. It’s the prettiness of the design (I’m only talking aesthetics here, and white on black text is a bit last century) plus the usefulness of the site as a vehicle for Rose as an artist which makes Singing Bridges work as a website. But as a blog? Here’s an example of the prose. This is in answer to a jealous critic who was naff enough to send a horrible email to her, and you’d think the writerly juices would be flowing. Imagine what Ms Fits or Burnt Karma might make of it. But instead we get: (Ahem):

First, this is a sad reflection of the bias in Australian culture which tends to privilege success in sport or business over creative or intellectual activity, and of course is a classic example of the tall poppy syndrome. Second, you would be amazed to notice if you bothered to read or listen to any of my work, that I actually do have a sense of humour about it, and am not at all pompous. In fact I had a conversation only the other day wiith the residency chiefs where I am currently guarding a bridge, about various ways of coming to a grisly end to provide good stories for the local newspaper.

(sags to the side, wakes self up just in time to prevent falling out of chair, splutters, recovers…)

It’s also a bit strange, given the main subject of the blog (sound recordings of bridges), that there are no MP3 or other sound files. But that’s a quibble. Maybe there are and I didn’t dig far enough. And anything that gets an australian artist a bit more moolah has to be a good thing– the comment about “sport or business” is spot on, if blandly expressed. I know a lot of people reckon her work is a wank, but I reckon a lot of stuff the AIS do is a wank, and my taxes support that too.

But Australia’s best blog? See, that’s the sticking point.

As one of the competition judges said, they picked the winner out of a short list of eleven which were not sorted out by them. That was done by Smartyhost, presumably. If so, it’s definitely suss. Who were the other 519 entries, I wonder? Most of the finalists’ writing is definitely in the same worthy-but-dull category as the winner’s. I don’t want to know if your friend wants to sell his exercise weights, Mr Hearye, unless you can make it interesting.

Saint (via Trevor Cook), Tim of Road to Surfdom and others have more to say.

There were a few real blogs in the shortlist – Loobylu, Karen Cheng, Ausculture.

Still, it was entertaining to watch bloggers like Tim Blair and Bunyip get all steamed up about not being on the shortlist. (Me! MOI!! The blogger even people what don’t read blogs have heard of! Oh the shame!!!)

Update 9/12: Links updated to make this more comprehensible.