Riverboat Sam: To “Blog” is to Vomit

By Riverboat Sam, The Pacific’s “technical specialist”


I am not against the newfangled on principle; typewriting seemed to me a great improvement over my wayward handwriting and having the means I got one of those machines right away. Still got it, in fact. Still use it, too. When I told the editor of this electrical rag that I’d be submitting my columns on paper, he complained that he would then have to find someone to type it into a computer. Back in my prime we had something called “secretaries” who actually got paid to type things, but that sort of thing is apparently out of fashion. And all the printers? Where did they go? Best thing about electricity used to be it made it easier to read and write at night. But now there is this electrical writing machine that sooner or later won’t need any actual human writer at all. People are stupid enough without having to read literature written by a machine. I told the editor that I am a writer, and if he wants to put my writing on a computer screen he should find a secretary or do it himself.

Royal Model 10 typewriter. Photo by John Kaufman.

When the editor told me I could become a “blogger” of posts, I was gobsmacked. It sounded too much like manual labor to me, but he explained that blogging on a computer was actually a lot easier and faster than using a typewriter. Well, dear editor, the typing and correcting is easier, but the writing is always as it was– a craft and art. And after a bit of perusing this Internet thing and reading a number of “blogs” I have come to this conclusion: to “blog” is to vomit. There is all sort of real fast typing going on “online” but of true writing I found very little, partly because reading these TV screens makes a guy as jumpy as a frog. It’s like reading while riding on a kangaroo.

The editor offered to let me use something called a “laptop” for he knows I like to write and do pretty much everything else these days in bed, despite the dangers. (As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, more people die in bed than anywhere else. ) It was quite comfortable typing away in my bed, but I soon found I was typing even in my sleep, and it didn’t improve my writing any. I was writing so much so fast I couldn’t bear to stop to see if it was any good. And when I got to the end at last and actually read it, I had to erase the whole thing and start again.  So while there was a whole lot of “blogging” going on, I wasn’t doing much writing. And like I say, I’m a writer.

So I gave the lapdog-machine back to the editor and got my pen and paper. Now I’m just as slow and arduous as I used to be, but I’m writing again, and the best thing is I don’t even have to bother getting up to sit at the typewriter any more. I just give the handwritten sheets to the editor and somehow my writing appears on the screen, usually with all the words I wrote. Who needs a computer or a typewriter when you got a pleasant person, theoretically speaking, to do the typing for you? One thing I refuse to do– be a slave to a machine. That’s what editors are for. I’m way too old to put up with that.

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