Wednesday, March 24, 2010

One of each

When I was at the University of Scarnton in the mid-to-late eighties, there was a magazine-and-cigarette shop downtown called Markowitz Brothers, although it was more often referred to as the "Te Amo" based on the most prominent cigar ad painted directly on the outside of the building. It carried every type of magazine, newspaper, and tobacco product that you could imagine, and many that you couldn't. More than once I found myself staring at the astonishing collection of magazines there covering every topic of interest from knitting to gardening to woodworking to cars to a staggering spectrum of pornography. I would look at these and wonder: Who the hell buys these? Can they possibly sell enough copies of any of these magazines to justify their presence here?

In the end I decided that for most of these magazines there was probably just one person buying one copy each month. One person for the model train magazine, one for the dollhouse furniture magazine, one for Cat Fancy, one for Plumpers. (Well, maybe more than one for Plumpers.) One of each. That would be enough to keep the magazines coming in each month.

In later years my thinking evolved to conclude that given sufficient time, at least one book would be written on every conceivable topic of interest to any given person.. Want to know the role salt has played in the development of civilization? Mark Kurlansky has you covered. How about the history of the once-common, soon-to-be-extinct fish, Cod? Errr...Mark Kurlansky again. OK...say you want to know how you can use knitting to help you recover from heroin addiction? Kelley Deal of The Breeders has been there, done that.

Apparently Alfred Kinsey came to a similar conclusion regarding sexuality based, in part, on his careful and thorough observations of sexual practices in gall wasps. He later did some work with humans, too. But, come on, what's more interesting, human sexuality or the sexual practices of gall wasps? Sheesh. And while Kinsey's research into human sexuality was highly controversial based on the generally socially unaccepted practices of some of his research subjects, it was possible to recreate in a small way some of his research just by casting your gaze along the top rack of magazines at Markowitz Brothers. (Today, thanks to modern technology, you can do this research from the comfort of your own computer, being careful not to run afoul of applicable laws.)

The original, unrated version of the DVD of John Waters' 2004 movie A Dirty Shame included a documentary covering various sexual fetishes and perversions. It was structured in such a way that each segment ended with a representative fetishist expressing their own perception of what was behaviorally beyond the pale - which was then the next topic covered. (I mean, sploshing? Really?)

I recently reposted an announcement to Facebook regarding an upcoming gathering of local bloggers:

Reminder to folks in the greated (sic) NEPA region: The next blogger meetup will be Friday March 26th at Rooney's Irish Pub 67 S. Main St. Pittston, PA 18704 starting at 5PM. All bloggers, blog readers, blog groupies and the merely blog-curious are invited!
Now, this is the second time I've used this wording on Facebook, which I originally used in a blog post. And nobody, nobody, commented on the term "blog-curious", which implies that either they are not getting the reference, or are politely ignoring it. But one of my friends (and fellow University of Scranton alumni) did question the notion of "blog groupies" - which I would define as people who are sexually attracted to individuals based on their status as bloggers, or specifically based on the quality and/or frequency and/or size/length/girth of their blog posts.

Is this really such a crazy idea? Newsweek reported last year that it is possible for men to pick up extra cash by appearing on websites in which they, fully clothed, sit on and pop balloons. Many balloons. $50 an hour. Why? Don't ask. You might not want to know.

In a world where such a thing exists, is it possible that "blog groupies" also exist? Or to put it another way: In such a world, is it possible that some non-zero number of "blog groupies" do not exist?

I think not. And I shall continue to investigate this topic with the same vigor that Alfred Kinsey displayed in his study of the habits of gall wasps.

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