Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Volume 2, Number 7: The Grandfather of Blogging

(Note: This is a re-posting of an entry I made in February 2007 on a Yahoo! GeoCities blog.)

It just occurred to me. Here I am, not having blogged for more than 8 months, when I realize that neither my blog nor (to the best of my knowledge) any other blog has made any kind of reference to the man I call the Grandfather of Blogging, Daniel Drennan.

So, just who in the world is Drennan, and why do I call him the Grandfather of Blogging?

He is, first and foremost, a writer. He's even written a book about the experiences he's had living in New York City (it's called The New York Diaries; it was published in 1998). He is an editor for Inquisitor, a magazine that, according to its web site, "reflects the 'soupification' of the media, art, culture, and technology."

I should explain how across Drennan's writings as well. While searching the Internet for other people who absolutely could not stand Tori Spelling, I came across his 90210 Weekly Wrapups. He started doing detailed reviews of every episode, starting sometime in the fifth season (so it was around 1995) and continuing through the ninth (by 1999, he got so sick and tired of the show that for the tenth season, the only episode he "wrapped up" was the series finale).

Three things stand out about his writing style.

First, he doesn't pull any punches when he writes. I mean, he really lets the crap fly. Every bit of it. Here's an example I copied and pasted from a 90210 Weekly Wrapup he wrote in 1999:

Memo to Blockbuster/Viacom/Spellingopolis, Inc.: Thanks so much for closing down your Blockbuster store on Amsterdam Avenue six months ago without so much as a word to your customers as to why you were closing or what we were supposed to do with the videos we had rented just the night before. Let me mention as well that the boarded-up closed-down storefront really gives the neighborhood a nice, blighted appearance that fits in so well with the community's wishes for itself. Thanks, also, for that brand spanking new Blockbuster store that opened up six months later on Broadway and 93rd Street with no warning where the mom-and-pop stationery store used to be. We especially love the 1 1/2-story tall blue-and-gold Blockbuster sign that announces your existence as far south as Columbus Circle. It's not enough that all of the new mall stores that have opened up of late--the Gaps, and the Coach store, and the Godiva store, etc.--have seen fit to plaster huge ads about themselves on the whitewashed plywood boarding up the storefronts undergoing transformation into overpriced Glory-of-Consumption megamall storelets, we now have to have stores encroach on surrounding building surface with huge monstrous signs like yours, making the neighborhood a distant cousin to the visual cacophony of Times Square. We really appreciate it! Especially knowing that you and yours live in some unspoilt vista-ridden part of the country untrammeled by your offensive corporate advertising! Thanks so FREAKING MUCH!

(You know who I'd like to have read selected rantings of Drennan's? Actor/sometime social commentator Eric Bogosian, who appears on Law & Order: Criminal Intent but is best known for his performance in the 1988 Oliver Stone film, Talk Radio, which Bogosian co-wrote.)

Second, as you may yourself have noted from the above paragraph, he uses long sentences, which themselves tend to form long paragraphs. He will fit every detail into a sentence to make sure that his readers get the whole picture, not just a sketch. The very first sentence in The New York Diaries is 53 words. You'd never catch him writing "It was a dark and stormy night," no, sir.

Third, he will write about anything and everything he experiences, from the Strand Book Store to the lady living two floors down from him to Corporate America to television shows that insult our intelligence to the Republican idiots presently running the country. It doesn't matter how or even if it "flows," and if it rambles from one topic to another so that he covers a dozen different topics in a single entry, so frigging what? His writing style has been described as "a stream of consciousness." And what is a blog, really, but a stream of consciousness?

Blogs didn't become popular until just a few years ago, and Drennan starting blogging around 1995. So if rock musician Neil Young can be called "The Grandfather of Grunge," as he has been, I hope one day Drennan will be regarded as The Grandfather of Blogging. Furthermore, it would rock if I get credit for being the first to call him that.

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