Artists and Whores  

rm_connor696 60M
944 posts
7/19/2006 10:08 am

Last Read:
7/25/2006 9:59 pm

Artists and Whores

In the last few days I've seen a couple of items using the phrase "comment whore," a term clearly meant to be pejorative. In one case, the context was a tirade against comment whores, and in another, a woman expressed mild contrition for being one.

Well, huh.

I wish I could produce a nifty etymology for the word "whore" that would somehow valorize the term, but it seems to have carried pretty much the same meaning from the get-go. (Okay, there's supposed to be some connection to the Latin "carus," meaning "dear"--as in "Cara mia"--but the connection is obscure, at least to me.) Still, you might think that people here would be less judgmental about whorish behavior, whether professional or amateur. I've known wonderful, charming, and yes, caring women in both categories. What they did with their bodies was their own affair.

But leave all that aside. A comment whore is, I take it, someone who wants comments and posts text designed to elicit them. And again I say, well, huh. Then I guess I'm a comment whore. In fact, given that definition, I guess most bloggers here are comment whores.

But wanting attention can't be objectionable in itself. If it were, we would have to reject most art as pathological simply because it is publicly performed or displayed.

Of course, there is one sense in which virtually all art and most writing and composing are "performed"--that is, someone has to act, to do something to realize the work, in order to make it a thing in the intersubjective space we call the world. But a musician need not ever go on stage to create music; an artist need not ever display a work to have created it. A writer may leave his or her work in a drawer, a different kind of samizdat. But the drive toward display and (usually) appreciation remains strong--and the rest of the world becomes better for it. The artist wants the world to notice at least the art and usually the artist, too.

True, these days many artists take popular appeal to signify a lack of value (even while they still go public). If the masses like something, it must be crap. This was not always so. In an engaging book called The Agony of Modern Music, Henry Pleasants documents how, until the Romantic era, composers felt and expressed great respect and concern for the wider public. The Romantic movement, however, gave birth to the "cult of genius," an ideal explicitly avowed by the time of Wagner. In this view, the genuis is creature apart, not to be bothered by the hoi polloi's tastes and views. Indeed, a few moments with modern music will prove that contemporary composers don't give a fuck about mass appeal.

And the same could be said for the visual and plastic arts. It's a long, sad road from Michelangelo's Pieta to Merda dell'artista (cans of shit marketed as art).

So why criticize bloggers but not, say, Mozart? Yet the matter runs deeper. Earlier artists and writers could communicate with their audiences only slowly and imperfectly. The interactivity of the communications revolution has changed all that. A big part of the Internet's charm lies in the fact that we can respond and receive responses. Our messages need not be stuffed into bottles and cast into the sea; they have become part of a conversation. No geniuses here, just people talking to one another. Far from being self-absorbed, the "comment whore" may well show a healthy and human concern with others. At any rate, I freely admit that I enjoy reading the comments others make to my posts. Hell, I profit from a good many. I reach out and touch others, and sometimes they touch back. Woohoo, I'm glad to be a whore.

Is there a pathological version of this? Probably; virtually anything can become the substance of pathology. On my return here, an acquaintance listed several recent AdultFriendFinder-blog-related hoaxes designed, presumably, to garner attention and sympathy: deaths, injuries, and crises galore. I suppose the problem concerns manipulation. But even that's hard to parse. I mean, suppose I write an overtly fictional story designed to tug at your heartstrings. Haven't I manipulated you into an emotional response? Would that sort of notion make, say, Heinrich Boll into a pathological manipulator of emotion? I guess the bottom line has to be the dishonest dishonesty. That is, anyone who writes narrative tells lies, but some go on to tell lies about the lies they write.

What's the bottom line? I dunno. I certainly like it when people respond to me, especially positively but above all seriously. And I guess that covers a lot of territory. Yeah, I'm a whore in a lot of ways: a slut, and an artist, and a performer.

Which is to say, a human being.

rm_saintlianna 45F
15466 posts
7/19/2006 11:09 am

I think mainly its that people lately have been comparing writing credibility, why I dont know.

Everyone has their opinion on who should be on list, and if you disagree, watch out. Personally, I am too hot to give a shit and am quite enjoying the sideshow

I think I am gonna go whore it up a little now

rm_connor696 replies on 7/20/2006 7:00 am:
Heh. I knew you wouldn't let me down! But just a little? I never pegged you for abstemious.

BTW, that new (to me) photo makes you look like Agent Scully from the X-Files. And you know, I want to believe.

LilSquirt_4mfm 67M/67F
3394 posts
7/19/2006 11:26 am

hi connor

great sideshow for sure

it is my understanding that a "comment whore" is one who leaves little (often meaningless) comments on every blog hoping to get comments back and thus rise on the list. I guess short posts sauing little would also fit the category ... for all it really matters.

My ♥ยงΩuirT♥er & MFM Blog

Do you think it's fair?? that Jessica & I are called "Comment Whores"just cause we offered a Blow Job for each Comment to our blog??

rm_connor696 replies on 7/20/2006 7:42 am:
Oh. Of course. The list. (Or should I say the lists?) Sometimes I miss the obvious, so to borrow from that Gilda Radner character, "Never mind."

Now about those blow jobs, that's just being neighborly. It's not as if you had included popup ads in your posts . . .

florallei 99F

7/19/2006 10:21 pm

Hi Connor,

One thing I have learned thru the decades and I had to really put in practice is not to impute wrong motives on people...I remember quiet well this phrase being sent to a lot of the bloggers...when I read it, my reaction was to chuckle and then I looked at the source who sent it...I really laughed then...he is strangely funny.
I suppose what I am saying is...I try to take everything that is said especially harsh comments towards me or now thru the blogs with a grain of salt...people have so many things happening in their lives behind closed doors or behind the monitors...they express it in different ways.
I noticed the different reaction to this phrase from reading other posts and it surprised me at how others felt offended and insulted...again they are also entitled to their feelings...all of us are in different stages of growth and have not quiet learned how to assess or have insight as to peoples attitude and comments. Am I making any sense?
I definitely have my own favourites here and on my top includes YOU, simply because you have somehow intertwined intellectual with cynical with truth with humour and the mix is simply delicious to chew on. So thank you for sharing your thoughts. I do feel selfish that I almost need a fix of reading your posts and others...
Okay I shall seal lips now...nite!

rm_connor696 replies on 7/20/2006 7:16 am:
Gosh, florallei, you're making me blush!

You know, I wasn't really offended by the comment whore line. I doubt that I would ever be called that anyway. Mostly I was just puzzled, in that "And this is bad how?" kind of way (although LilSquirt's explanantion helped).

I know what you mean about the blogs. They have been a real comfort to me. It's not intimacy--I'm well aware of that--but this corner of blogland does offer a space for openness that unfortunately would be terrifically risky and thus scary in the "real world." It's good that we have have one another, yes?

rm_FreeLove999 46F
16127 posts
7/19/2006 11:17 pm

this thing about comment whores has been going on since about may/june last year, and goes thru periodic natterings about the same thing. basically anyone who gets a lot of attention for a post is called a comment whore. it's all just childish jealousy. the very early "comment whore" posts were really original -- the first games we played together, the first "shows" we acted in together etc. in my opinion, while some call it whoring, it is often creativity being expressed.

unfortunately, the level of policing in blogland seems to have gone up, with all sorts of people claiming the rights to say what people should be entitled to say on their blogs and a high degree of suspicion. even more unfortunately, while we have had waves of it before, it now seems set to stay. some people here even called themselves the police, targetted people who were said not to have produced enough sanctimonious, heart rending tears regarding particular persons trials and tribulations... the implication is that we are not even allowed to decide where our own sympathies should go!

my reaction -- avoid, avoid, avoid and stay right out of it.

[blog freelove999]

rm_connor696 replies on 7/20/2006 7:22 am:
The blog space here does have its cirlces of friends, doesn't it? (I was going to say cliques, but that's needlessly pejorative.) And the funny thing is that so many of the interactions take place in a semi-public space, so that groups can listen in on one another. And that, I suppose, is a recipe for jealousy, especially since AdultFriendFinder provides a kind of social coolness index by listing blogs and bloggers in terms of "popularity."

Man, oh, man, high school can really suck sometimes!

BTW, thanks for the stuff on Zimbabwe. Here in the U.S. that part of the world has fallen off the radar. The media here won't pick it up again until people start killing each other.

florallei 99F

7/20/2006 9:44 am

Hi Connor,

I knew you were on the same page as I about recieving that comment...I enjoyed how you dissected it and looked at it from another perspective...that is why I love your blog...Have a delicious day...

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