10.22.2006

Blogging Has Jumped the Shark

Sudan expels U.N. envoy for blog

9 comments:

LK said...

Warning: This blog entry may contain gratuitous use of "jumping the shark."

Do you really see Pronk's blog as a tipping point for all blogging?

Doc Mara said...

So, you are saying "jumping the shark" has "jumped the shark"?

Pronk's blog is pretty much the tipping point for all things Western Civilization. Or maybe just the "tipsy point."

b said...

Hmm, lets see. My understanding is that the expression “jumping the shark” is used to reference a TV show that, in their struggle to maintain a reasonable audience to continue being in the air has attempted to present it self in a way (with content, themes or, yes jumping over sharks—hence the expression) that will convince TV program directors and owners to continue broadcasting said show. In other words, this particular program has reached the downward slope and will soon cease to exist.

Now if we apply this same expression to, for sake of argument, “Blogging has jumped the shark,” then I read that it means that the medium in which bloggers express their opinions (and dissent, as in the case of UN envoy) is now on its downward slope, ready for extinction.

In sixteenth century Spain someone wrote a book called La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes. The oldest editions we have date from 1554 and it was printed that same year in three different locations of the Spanish empire (Antwerp, Alcalá and Burgos). This in it self is quite unusual for the period and also indicates the popularity of the book (and suggests the possibility of a previous edition, a princeps. But that is besides the point). However, as quickly as readers trotted down to book sellers to purchase their copy, the Inquisition placed it in their index of prohibited books. Why? because it was critical of Catholic ministers and exposed many issues that showed the corruption within the Catholic church. In sixteenth century Spain that was no small crime.

Did Lazarillo “jump the shark”? Not really. It again resurfaced but, more importantly, this text established the basis for the picaresque novel (Guzmán de Alfarache 1559 by Mateo Alemán, El Buscón 1604 by Quevedo, Gil Blas 1715 by Le Sage, Moll Flanders 1722 by Daniel Defoe, and even The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain are molded after Lazarillo). Did books in general “jump the shark” since it was the medium used by someone to criticize the dominant religion in Spain? I think the answer is obvious...

Doc Mara said...

"Jumping the Shark" refers to the Happy Days episode where the cliffhanger was Fonzie jumping over a shark tank. The audience had long since lost interest, and this was the signal that, indeed, the writers and producers were trying to maintain to their small audience by holding the most popular character's life hostage. "Watch our show or we might KILL the Fonz!"

Lazarillo did not jump the shark because what threatened it was the censors, and not a bored audience. On the contrary, what you describe sounds like it needed no such shark.

Blogging, on the other hand, has become so commonplace that EVEN THE UN is blogging. By definition, whenever the UN gets involved, it is a bad situation (extinction is often the only thing that attracts the UN).

How do you explain LKs declaration that jumping the shark has "jumped the shark"?

b said...

Ok, but the UN envoy was also, in a way, censored when his own country (not the UN) removed him from his position of power and authority. (Oh, and it was not a UN blog, but his personal one...)

Also, the UN has written books and books have not ceased to exist.

LK said...

(I so did not say jumping the shark has jumped the shark, said LK.)

I think it's absolutely a valid description of certain phenomena. I simply don't see this concept being applied here and I quibble (yes, QUIBBLE) with your application of it here. Is it possible that this term derived from the entertainment industry might not be universally useful, Mr. Popular Culture? Say...perhaps not to international policy issues?

Besides, Pronk's blog is his personal webpage. It's not a UN organism (although he is/was).
Pronk's blog
could even conceivably jump the shark. But I don't think it did. I still don't buy it. Maybe Sudan jumped the shark.

But I simply cannot see how Blogging (in the universal sense, hence the capital B) is even of issue in Pronk's ousting.

And I don't know who this B guy is, but I think I might agree with him. But there were so many words...

Doc Mara said...

In all seriousness, the act of CNN joining the term "blog" (a foreshortened version of the term "web log"--and a sassy version at that) with "U.N. envoy" signals a sort of extinction. Blogs will continue to exist, of course (just as television situation comedies continued to exist long after "Happy Days," unfortunately), but they will never be as innocently "bloggy." "The Fonz" continued to exist, to be sure, but Henry Winkler's signature "Heyyyyyy" was never quite as cool.

Books, meanwhile jumped the shart at Tristram Shandy. You could make the case that it was Moby Dick (or even Samuel Beckett's The Unnameable), but I think books were pretty much done by the time Laurence Sterne gave us the blank page.

Doc Mara said...

No, Sudan IS the shark. The blog jumped them and then Pronk got jumped as well.

lk and b, you should know that letters jumped the shark a long time ago. When you started sponsoring Sesame Street it was all over...

LK said...

Hee hee!!