Saturday, January 14, 2006

Are Bloggers & their Readers indulging in Graffiti?

Many bloggers and participants who post their comments on the blog may not be aware that a large number of them have been actually indulging in graffiti-like activities. Now, most of us are aware that graffiti, as we understand the term, are symptoms of rebellious protestations or uninhibited expressions of energetic individuals, who might have acted alone or as a pack, in deep cover or in semi-open defiance.

Energetic people, mostly youngsters, vent their pent-up emotions, frustrations, or even artistic aspiration spiced with a touch of rebellion or defiance, on such painted expressions. Some authorities have wisely recognized the graffitists search for 'canvases' to express their creativity. Those authorities have cleverly chosen to 'go to the mountain' by installing special graffiti walls and areas in towns and cities. These are subtle channeling, rather than control, of youth's powerful energy into harmless exhibits.

Thus, if carefully streamed and tolerated, graffiti activities can be a useful means of moderating and calming the sometimes overpoweringly exuberance of our more energetic citizens.

Unfettered protestations of idealism, freedom of expressions, unrestricted space to be creative, unique, individualistic, independent from control and even a need for anonymous recognition - these are the raison d'êtres of graffiti. Therefore, any attempt by authorities to heavy-handedly control or restrict these activities would result in the graffitists going underground and behaving in more extreme and undesirable fashion.

Blogging - other than those by politicians or newspapers - provides the 'canvas' by which mentally active people express themselves in an uninhibited manner. Note some bloggers and their interacting participants develop their own jargon, acronyms and style, all pointing to the subconscious effort to 'break free' from tradition, established structures or convention.

The rules and established conventions of language, grammar, spelling, punctuations, syntax, you-name-it are being deliberately ignored and even massacred. Socially taboo-ed words are brandished around like 'hello' and 'thank you'. Much to the chagrin of some bloggers who want to maintain the 'thread' of discussion, some participants would wander all over, as should be expected of the electronic 'graffitists'. Some of us take sensitive subjects to the very edge.

These are expressions of freedom from conventional structures, social constraints, individualism, rebellion against control and mere venting of frustration or energy. Bloggers and their gang are heading 'westward' for new horizons.

Sometimes I wonder why would authorities want to remove these avenues or release valves from the more mentally active of its citizens, who seek 'their space' or just to let off steam? Sure, bloggers can be a pain in publishing information that the authorities may not wish to be released to the public, but unless a government has something to hide, the advantages of blogging to the government is far greater than its disadvantages.

If government wants to control blogging, this may mean that people like KTemoc ;-) sitting at their PC’s would be forced to congregate in the streets to express their anger, sometimes destructively? Remember, one of the raison d'êtres of graffitists is the need for recognition, whether anonymous or otherwise. 'Taking to the streets' is another and more undesirable form of gaining recognition.

Also, it may also be easier for authorities to acquire early inkling of public dissatisfaction and remedy those conditions that have led to the dissatisfaction through reading criticisms on blogs than to discern such from vociferous, angry shouting in ugly scenes. That has been why politicians like DAP Lim Kit Siang, Teresa Kok, and UMNO Shahrir have their own blogs. The disadvantage for politicians blogging is that they have to answer some embarrassing questions from visitors.

Like all things, one has to take the good with the bad. The secret is acting on each in an appropriate, timely and constructive manner. Does the government want to install 'canvases' for the graffitists or have them paint 'KTemoc was here' on its ministers' Mercedes? ;-)

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