Who reads me anyway? - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Who reads me anyway?

It’s Monday morning again, and while America sleeps (apart from the nightshift workers, insomniacs and 24 hour party people that is) I do my usual thing of getting some drivel free from the low voltage electrical charges in my brain that create it, down through my arms and, via the keyboard, turn it into another form of low voltage to be beamed directly into your homes for your enjoyment and edification.

I didn’t complete anything last week. I started something on procrastination, but didn’t finish it. Maybe another day. You see, I was thrown off my stride by my editor asking me to write something specific on the whole Milwaukee water fluoridation “debate” in the hope of winding up people, and by extension, increasing readership of my blog, and the BPE.

I didn’t mind doing so as I had a few thoughts of my own on the subject (see I’m always right… passim) and even though my editor has often made requests for themed pieces, for the most part I have managed to escape those that don’t appeal by pleading genuine lack of interest. But the bastard has almost worked out how to play me. Like an old jukebox it would seem.

So, most Monday mornings are like this one. I bring my wife a cup of tea in bed, we have porridge for breakfast, I take her to work and then begin my weekly duties to the literate (although not necessarily the emotionally so) of America. Hi there! How is YOUR Monday going?

So the Olympics are on here just now, and for the most part my major interest lies in seeing whatever half remembered former medallists they can dredge up to pass inane comment on their former sports present-day competitors. That and the weightlifting, where super slow motion high definition camera work shows in glorious detail each bulging vein and muscle of these gloriously bizarre people.

In truth, I am simply waiting for the time which will surely come, when some competitor attempts too large a weight and something necessary to their survival simply bursts with the strain. I imagine it will be akin to the wonderful scene from “Scanners” – the early David Cronenberg film – where the guy’s head explodes. Only this time it could be some vital organ seeking egress from the lifters abdomen to evade the stress. Which could make it more like the initial shock scene from “Alien” I guess. Anyway, I live in hope.

Todays yesterdays man, was Greg Luganis, or, to give him his full name, Gregory Efthimios Louganis. You remember don’t you? 1988 Olympics, smacked his head against the springboard and cannoned into the water. Gold medal winner in the 1984 and 1988 games, announced in his autobiography in 1995 he was HIV positive? You must remember him now.

Greg Louganis (Wikipedia Commons)

For all I know he has been on TV or some other form of media ever since and has never left the American consciousness for as much as a second in the intervening 24 years since he smacked his head and gave us all a bit of a laugh. Yes we did, because let’s face it, diving and synchronised swimming are two “sports” in which only those who compete and their families have any real interest.

For me at least, there has been a hole in my everyday thinking where Greg was concerned until his head popped up on the TV this morning to burble something about British medal hope Tom Daley’s chances in the synchronised event.

Greg said something about his book, which I suddenly realised I had never heard of. I know I mentioned it earlier but that was only because I Googled him. It set me to wondering, in a hopefully abstract rather than malicious way, as to who the hell exactly bought the book in the first place?

I mean, his family will already know the details of his life and presumably, his opponents – whom he regularly beat – were so sick of him they couldn’t care less. That leaves the fans of diving, and we’re hardly talking Superbowl numbers here I feel, and then, perhaps, given his HIV status, a certain percentage of the pink dollar will doubtless have been invested in his tome.

Which raises another couple of questions and possibly a few more stereotypes. I cannot imagine that the average American armchair quarterback will see a gay, HIV positive diver as an “All-American” inspirational role model for the youth of the nation. Albeit a double gold medal winning gay HIV positive diver. Correct me if I’m wrong, and I do not believe there is such a thing as a “Gay Book if the Month Club”.

Judy Garland before a concert at the Greek Theater in 1957. (Wikipedia Commons)

You know, like there is no obligation to have all Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli albums, or to love show tunes or conform to any of the other heterosexually promulgated slightly-sneery if not sniggery stereotypical forms of gay behaviour we believe to exist. But I do know you all have well decorated and tastefully adorned apartments.

No, it’s that, not knowing how many copies of his autobiography Greg sold, I have no idea who his audience was. If 200,000 million were sold in the United States alone I could be fairly sure every literate person there had read it. If it were six billion I’d know that everyone in the world (apart from me, hmn….) had read it.

I am going to have to go with my intuition on this one and stick with my initial feeling that a few hundred thousand fans of diving worldwide and a few million members of the gay community bought his book. Plus a few sports journalists.

Which then leads me on to who MY readership might be.

Politically, I would class myself as a Zen-Nazi. I go along with Plato and British politician Tony Benn in favouring a form of benign despotism as a favoured form of government. So, hardly the most popular of views, so I don’t see a multi-million strong audience out there for my blogs.

In terms of religion, I belong to a small Japanese group called Oomoto who promote Multi faith beliefs and internationalism as well as harmony and peace. Neither of which I tend to incorporate into my writing, seeing myself as something of a fly in the ointment of life. The spot of Yin in a Yang situation and vice versa depending on what context I find myself in.

So not a great multitude of readers there I feel.

I have yet to be informed of any international collective of affectionless psychopaths that might form a substantive demographic of readership either. So where does that leave us? I guess that the core readership of the BPE would be a start, those who lounge around in Starbucks worldwide using the free wi-fi connectivity whilst slurping their ersatz generic non fair trade brews would be how I imagine them, and I hate those kind of people.

Then, like Greg, there are a certain number of friends and family that get media blasted into knowing what I write and when, and that is only a hundred or so at most. Plus in that grouping, there would be so many varied tastes and preferences as to make it impossible to compose any coherent all-encompassing views.

No, in short it would seem that I have no idea who my readership is,  which makes me think it almost impossible to write for anyone other than myself, plus anyone else out there who might take kindly to thoughts on a world viewed through a jaundiced and somewhat acerbic eye.

By my reckoning that ought to make about a dozen or so. Good. Provided you all enjoy drinking to excess that means we can have our first convention in any decent sized bar. My suggestion is the Gordon Park Pub in Milwaukee, a week on Saturday. See you there.



(Feature photo: Olympic Park, London Wikipedia Commons)

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One Comment

  1. RalphNumbers says:

    If you’re looking for something to write about, why don’t you help me fight the Stupid? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomophobia)
    Whoever coined this term seems ignorant of the fact that nomophobia is the fear of laws, i.e. “nomos” (Greek: law) + “phovos” (Greek: fear). In addition, NoMophobia is not universal, as a mobile phone may be known by other names, such as cellphone or “handy”. I have suggested the use of the alternate name “chirotelephonosterisiphobia”, which roughly translates as “hand-telephone deprivation fear”.

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