Monday, October 15, 2012

Serious and frivolous

It's a little ironic that the hashtag for Blog Action Day 2012 (or any other year, if it comes to that) is #BAD12.  Some bloggers avoid the problem by focusing on @blogactionday12, which is certainly a little better - except that it takes up a lot of room on a tweet.  And others use the hashtag  as an alternative, though if you can read that on first attempt, you'll be doing well. 

Anyway, all that aside, it's Blog Action Day 2012 in this part of the world (we still have others telling us it's Blog Action Day 2012 tomorrow) and however we focus on it, it's an interesting exercise in Internet/Blogging unity.  

The Power of We strikes me as not the most inspiring slogan, not just because of its curious grammatical structure (shouldn't it be the Power of Us?), but because it's somehow not as strong as it might have seemed to those who proposed it.  

It's a bit difficult in English that both 'We' and 'Us' are such little words.  They don't have much strength in themselves, being easily overwhelmed by much tougher, longer words like adamantine, or, unstoppable.  But I guess both of these would clutter up the average tweet even more than .  #PowerofAdamantine, or #PowerofUnstoppable are both hashtags that eat up most of your allotted 140 characters.  18 and 19 characters, respectively, if my quick count serves me right, compared to 10 in the other hashtag.

I know that Power of We gives you perhaps more scope - 'we' can mean anything pretty much, when you get down to it; it doesn't hold you in any one corner, and you can be as serious or as frivolous as you like.  (You can check out my level of seriousness or frivolity here, by looking at my blogs from previous BAD days.)  I note that a lot of people are being serious, or even SERIOUS.  That's what BAD tend to bring out in you, of course; you feel that you have to write something that will inspire, or at the very least, show that you aren't a frivolous person who could write a blog post like this one I'm writing on a BAD day.  (I can write frivolous posts even on ordinary bad days, let alone those with capital letters.)

So this year, how can I be more serious about BAD?  A friend of mine has just died of cancer, and that's pretty serious, except that he was a clown by trade, and a magician, and had his own peculiar sense of humour, and has declared that there should be a considerable element of celebration at his funeral.  Serious, but frivolous (in some people's eyes).

I'm reading a great book by Francis Spufford at the moment in which he takes sin very seriously (and is right to do so) while pointing out that a lot of his readers take it very frivolously.

Human nature has a propensity to undercut serious things in life with frivolity, with humour.  Sometimes it's all you can do.  We all know what happens when someone anguishes about something that is indeed deadly serious, but they do it 24/7, never letting any lightness in on the subject.   It can seem almost blasphemous to make a joke with such a person, yet you have to.  As a species, we don't seem to be able to live on the edge of seriousness all the time.

I watched the deeply serious movie, Northfork, last night; it was almost overloaded with seriousness, to the extent that when something that seemed intended to be amusing turned up in it, you failed to laugh, because your frivolous side had been given a lot of warning to stay out of the room.

Maybe the truth is I don't seem to be able to live with seriousness all the time.  Maybe I'm too frivolous a person to be writing a blog post on the Power of We, and perhaps I should have skipped this year's BAD.  Too bad, I didn't skip it, and this is the best I can do while the aroma of a newly-baked chocolate cake fills the room, and it's warmer inside than out (somewhat), and my daft dog (a daft dog needing a bath) plumped down on me when I went and had an afternoon nap (as grandparents are entitled to do) before writing this.
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