I notice lately that I like on-line polls. I learn so much from the answers to my polls--books I haven't read (or,as to books I have read, a sort of connection with a reader who liked it, too), movies I haven't seen, and insights I haven't gotten (often because I haven't asked or read carefully enough in more subtle ways). I am one of those self-denigratory people, inclined to call my polls silly. But this morning it seems to me that we can all learn something from the actress Rose McGowan. Ms. McGowan had established herself as a sort of indie icon, a capable actress with a taste for kinda artsy Grade Z roles, Marilyn Manson, and a curious dress which was less apparel than kitestring. When Ms. McGowan appeared in interviews, she seemed to "play" an indie actress--a bit abrasive, a bit of a walk on the wild side, somebody who would never, ever choose to "fit in".
But then Shannen Doherty had her falling out with the folks on the WB TV show "Charmed". Apparently Ms. Doherty imagined that a light fantasy drama featuring three witches in a kind of a minor league Buffyverse should have a "high seriousness" which neither the scriptwriters nor her co-stars exhibited. Ms. Doherty departed the show, with unkind words for all.
In steps---Rose McGowan. I saw an interview with her once about how it was important to her NOT to be the kind of person who would say "no" to TV just because it was TV. The result? She's charming on "Charmed", she doesn't seem like a sell-out because she didn't take her "indie-ness" so self-righteously, and she probably has a paycheck. I think there's much to be said for this sort of "play the cards you have" approach to life.
Thus, I am no longer abashed about polls. When I sat today and thought of all the questions I have about my on-line experience, it seemed to me that my LJ readers are a treasure trove of smarts and good taste. I therefore decided to submit a poll about all the silly things that any idiot should know, but I don't know. Lately, too, I think about the problem of LJ comments. I'm unabashed--I love comments, I sometimes write to get them, and yet I sometimes write things that I know will not draw comments, because my journal has a diary function for me, and it also has an "experiment with your creative writing and poetry" function for me. But I dislike a few things about myself in the LJ interaction vein. I used to worry that I "over-comment", and say something to a journal post I like, even when I had nothing clever and witty to say. For New Year's, though, I made it a resolution to comment to posts that interest me, even if my comment is nothing more than "nice post". I used to make it a point to try to comment at least 2 times the number of comments I receive, but I notice that I am down to a ratio closer to 1.4 times, which I consider non-ideal. But I still worry an awful lot about "being liked", which is odd to me. I like to think of myself as beyond that in so many ways, but LJ brings it out in me.
I frequently say that LJ is first and foremost a kind of musical comedy writing exercise, and there is no question in my mind that my writing has benefitted from LJ. As anyone who reads this journal may know, I am something of a believer in the notion of the democratization of expression, that is, the notion that everyone should play in the marketplace of ideas. Weblogs are wonderful for this. I must admit that the interactive aspect of LJ enchants me. Also, though, there is a darker side--I notice how much I crave approval in the LJ world, which intrigues me and yet disquiets me all at once. I love to be "added" as a friend, and I love to have positive interactions. I try to actually befriend people I like, within the limits of the medium--but then I worry that my gestures of friendship sometimes are little more than insipid advice, clumsy shows of flawed social skills and the like.
Someone made an excellent point to me lately, which illustrated to me that I tend to use "we" in a universal sense a fair bit in my journal. I really do think of a large "we", and have a starry-eyed view of the sense of community here, and, for that matter everywhere. I prefer bridges to walls. This LJ is a curious thing.
But now for a practical/silly poll, concerned with pragmatic things and silly things in equal measure. Thanks for all of you for reading--and playing!
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If you have a "really cheap", lo fi digital camera (for an IBM clone) that you can recommend, then enter it here, along with a guesstimate of pricing.
If you know of any arts websites as cool as teenytheaters.com or kenmora.com, then please enter them here.
If you know of a specially worthy 'zine, ezine, or literary mag worth reading, please enter its name and URL or other contact info here
If you know somebody who is not on your friends or "friends of" list, but who runs a really cool LJ weblog, please enter that LJ user here
If you like a non-LJ weblog which all might enjoy, please enter it here
If you have one question for Gurdonark you'd like answered, what would it be? (no promises--I don't pretend to be fearless about such things)
Is there one internet radio station that most suits your fancy?
What was the topic of the most recent spam e mail you've received?
When you want to get information about health matters, ,which, if any, of the on-line health websites do you consult?
Do you know of a service which sells or rents documentary DVDs or videos by mail? What's its contact info?
How do you feel about comments in your journal?
What percent of your on-line friends would you like to meet in person?
Which of the various LJ "standby" informational devices should Gurdonark use in his journal?