Friday, May 17, 2013

State of the Apocalypse, Five-Seventeen-Thirteen Edition

I should know better, but every now and then I find myself cruising these websites where it’s the same complaint every day, “our personal interest group’s Sworn Enemies have really done it this time! check out this news item!” and they have over a thousand views a day, with at least 30 or so comments. The really good ones will get a troll from the Other Side to stir things up from time to time.

Same existential principle.

I’ve been that troll on occasion. To mix metaphors, I like to think of the Web as a Wild West caricature in which every establishment along the dusty digital avenue is a saloon, and in every saloon there is a fight. You pick one, push through the swinging double doors, and fight. The world goes on outside but while you’re inside that one saloon you’re fighting like it’s the Final Battle for All Civilization. You swing fists until you’re tired, and then you swing some more, because the winner is not the rhetorical mastermind with the Most Cogent and Unarguable Point, but the last troll standing. It’s quite a buzz.

Then again, I’ve seen blogs—you’ve seen ‘em, too—where the posters talk about how the bagel and coffee they got at so-and-so’s today seemed somewhat lackluster, it’s a little chillier than normal this time of year, etc. Even these people have their little community thing going on: “Oh, good to see you’re back posting. I hope you get over your cold! The weather has been freakish, lol, keep your chin up.” Not that I would want to be responsible for such a thing. But I can’t help wondering, how do they do it?

I’m especially vexed today because I’ve noticed that my recent post on “Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part I” and how its musical construction goes so well with my novel, is...trending? Not on the Web, but in my all-time posts. It’s already tied for number 7 in my top-ten most-viewed posts. Even the Bleeding Kansas chapters didn’t get so many hits so fast. How did this happen?

It’s not the first time I’ve tweeted a link with the #zombieapocalypse tag. I didn’t even leave a comment on someone else’s blog with a link back to mine. And here’s what really gets me: how many of these posters do you think have actually played the embedded YouTube recording? “Larks Tongues in Aspic, Part I” is 13 minutes, 38 seconds. No video. It’s not even a hooky prog-piece, let alone pop. “Larks Tongues, Part I” more closely resembles a film soundtrack, with quiet sections that would irritate people used to constant stimulation from their entertainment.

You’d think I’d have people crawling all over this blog for the delightfully violent and better-written-than-most zombie fiction. Nope. King Crimson and one of their most difficult, least accessible works, and how I relate that to my zombie novel, in a rough Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz fashion, just not so synced—that’s bringing in the page hits.

But how? Of all these referring sites, only two are what I’d call legitimate websites that normal people visit and browse. The rest are porn portals, false fronts of one form or another. The search terms used are no help either. 

It’s a mystery. Meanwhile, all I can do is keep banging the side of my skull with heel of my hand to force the blogposts out while orchestrating the end of Bleeding Kansas. While the rest of the Internet wars over that Dastardly Other and their latest (a lot of real-life pain, true, but what are you really going to do?) my challenge is to resist the urge to join the brawling, and finish writing this book.