Russia: Views on Blogging

Global Voices Online
Monday, August 13, 2007

In a recent newspaper interview, writer Dmitry Bykov said this (RUS) about bloggers:

Anyone who has a LiveJournal or any other blog is a person with an obvious psychological pathology.

Gallery owner Marat Guelman (LJ user galerist) responded (RUS) to Bykov's harsh judgment on his blog:


Haven't there been diaries in the pre-Internet age? Diaries whose authors knew that they'd be published? I, for example, have always been interested in reading diaries more than in reading fiction. Diaries and letters. In the late 1970s, I read plenty of diaries. Volumes. I got reconciled with the "classics" - that they tortured us with at school - only through reading diaries. Tolstoy's diaries (and not his "War and Peace") have changed me completely. At all times, reading someone else's diary was a special pleasure. And leaving one's own on the table, for others to read it.

And the feel of authenticity? A diary ([LJ friends' feed]) is more brutal than some literature. It's not [Stanislavsky System] or some realism [faking life smoothly] - but life itself. Without hidden seams. Without literary and linguistic embellishments.

The revival of correspondence because of email and of a diary because of blogs is the most important factor in the development of literature - because it's not some "innovation" like sms-poetry [...]. It's the civilization's key genre since antiquity.


Below are some of the comments to this post - and more views on what blogging is and isn't:


I agree and think that LJ is even broader in all senses, and diaries and memoirs have always been more interesting, too, exactly because of their authenticity, and the chance they gave to look at the author and his life by myself [...]


A chance to put down events and thoughts of the present moment that others can read about is perhaps one of the most archaic human needs, which has its roots in childhood: words and texts written on the fences and walls are of the same nature... "diaries" are an already cultured, perfected form of narration, and that they are "hidden" means there are some "secrets" and "mysteries" - which appeals to the reader more than other literary experiments.


The thing is, a diary is what's kept in our notebook or on our hard drive. LJ is a mass medium.


How about "album diaries" of the [Aleksandr Pushkin] times? A tradition to leave traces in other people's albums in the form of poems and drawings? Just scan it - and you've got an LJ...


I've been thinking recently about what LJ is. And I realized that it is, in a way, one of the new forms of communication. And the natural reaction of many people to all new is denial. I think it's a great thing to look for new friends through LJ. Because it's so important to find people who think alike, but how to do this in everyday life? You wouldn't scream at work - PEOPLE, I'M INTERESTED IN THIS AND I'M CONCERNED ABOUT THAT - HELLO!?

There is, of course, the problem of pathological addiction to the internet. And in this way, all of us who read these posts aren't completely normal. But I think there's nothing to stop this collective madness anymore.


In a regular diary, a person communicates with the future readers and doesn't countr on an answer, and this turns some of these diaries into literature. LJ is nothing but an internet chat, in which the interaction is saved as a "diary." These two things have nothing in common.


I think Illarionov has made a nice observation that LJ today is what kitchen conversations were then. ["In Soviet years, the kitchen came to represent the one space where privacy could be counted upon, and ‘kitchen conversations’ became a form of passive protest against a repressive totalitarian regime."]

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