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Friday, February 27, 2009

The Quest for Uniqueness

"We are all individuals here!
"I'm not!
"OK, except for him"
--Monty Python paraphrase

You know, you think you're pretty special, and then you find out that you're not.

One of the nifty features of Blogger.com is the profile page.  The nifty aspect is that, when you list your interests or favorite movies or favorite music or favorite books, the list gets turned into hyperlinks.  Then, when you look at your profile, you can click the individual links, and you will be taken to a page listing other people who share that interest.  The humbling part, though, comes in the numbers.

See, the Solipsist has always considered himself a fairly interesting person, with undeniable if eclectic good taste.  But while he was not surprised that the great unwashed masses--some 45,000 individuals if Blogger is to be trusted--share his liking for "Raiders of the Lost Ark," he was more than a little taken aback by the revelation that about 6,900 other bloggers also list "Miller's Crossing" among their favorites.  And is it really possible that 30,799 other people also list "LA Confidential"?!?

And then there's music.  OK, not surprisingly over 80,000 people crush on Elvis Costello, but how is it possible that 6,400 others go in for The Magnetic Fields?  And 8,000 people are listening to Badly Drawn Boy!

In literature, YNSHC can claim a little bit more distinction.  Sure, nearly 100,000 people list Catch-22 among their favorites--and well they should.  But only 154 have claimed The Yiddish Policeman's Union (although 2,700 claim its author, Michael Chabon).

It's not easy being individual.  And while this is disappointing for those of us, like YNSHC, who wish to leave their mark on the world, we should probably take comfort.  No matter how strange you are, there's a good chance that cyberspace holds dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other people just like you.  And thanks to the internet, these shambling, dysfunctional outcasts can reach out to each other and console themselves in their shared peculiarities.

And one can still carve out small niches for oneself.  The Solipsist is one of only two members of the Blogger.com community to claim an interest in "Random Lists." (Let's give a big Slopist Shout-out to James Tate!!!!)

(Digression: Yes, since the only suggestion I got for Solipsistic followers was "Slopists," that's what you all are now.  See, if you don't vote, the badguys win!  End of digression.)

And YNSHC is the ONLY member so far of the community of enthusiasts for "Things that look like other things"!

Good cult potential, there.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't even know about these features. I'll have to check them out and see how many zillions of people like me enjoy "Lost," ska music and the rabid rants of Laurie Notaro.

    Thus will end my delusion.