Blogging and the Doogie Howser Connection
Remember how cool you thought it would be if YOU were a 16 year old doctor? Yeah, I felt the same way. I was prodded as a ten year old by the yet latent calling of my budding genius luring me to greatness at every turn by the little nerd that could -- Doogie Howser, M.D.
I was kinda new to computers as a ten year old, and I had really just used them to play games like "Crickety Manor" and "Math Munchers" on an Apple IIe. I also thought it was neat that you could "draw" on the screen by arranging ascii characters and learning the "secrets" of pushing the control keys to make really wacky looking icons.
But Doogie, he didn't play games. He was a 16 year old doctor thinking about sex and life and death. He used his computer for adult things, like writing in a journal, and organizing his thoughts.
I wondered at the time exactly what program he might have been using to scrawl that nice white text on a blue background like that... I mean, at the time, there was no such program to do that... it was all Hollywood. (You know with their fancy Blue monitors, and White text! How glamorous! Surely only a 16 year old doctor could afford that kind of gear.)
I thought of starting a journal of the hand written variety, but the idea was cheesy to me after a week or so, and I felt guilty doing it. If only I had a computer with that blue screen and white text, I'd be able to do it, and not feel guilty about it. I was certain that I would write religiously if I could only acquire that setup. I wouldn't feel ashamed of my Computer Journal. Not like my silly pencil scrawled musings that I was even embarassed to re-read.
Writing your thoughts daily on an electronic medium seemed so incredibly romantic to me at the time, I think the impression it left on me is still felt today.
So, all of this affinity I have for pixelated self expression simply can't be unique. I mean, I wasn't the only ten year old who watched Doogie and wanted to be just like him (without all of the gross blood and such of course!) One can't help but make the jump from wanting to be like Doogie to wanting their own electronic blue screen with white text to record only a precious few of their most mature and introspective lessons of the day.
But alas, there were not blue screens and white text to be had by the masses at that time. We all had to wait.
Then along comes the world wide web. People instantly feel the desire to express their innermost personal thoughts for all of the world to see. And thus, the personal homepage is born. Yes, it's great, just like Doogie right?
Well, ok, you have to add a few <tags> here and there, but it's real life, not a tv show? Hmm?
Around 1996 (97?) I had learned to program with some proficiency, and I somehow stumbled on my old emotions about the Blue Screen and White Text, with absolutely nothing else on the screen, and I thought... "I'm going to be the man to unleash the thing on the whole world! And finally give people what they want!" So I wrote a simple program that accepted input in the form of White Text on a Blue Screen (with of course, nothing else on it) that was able to save the output into HTML format. GREAT! I actually wrote a few "entries" this way, and posted them online only to be flamed into humiliation by "pros" who had already been using the internet for "3 years now." I don't think I realized at the time that all I really wanted was to be like Doogie. Damnit!
Well I know that since I am not the only one who had this deep rooted emotion about being exposed via electronic writing to the entire world as the genius I really am, there must have been millions of others who balked at homepages in the same way that I did.
Sure enough, personal home pages were classified as "gushy spam" most of the time and we all used the net for stuff like AIM and IRC until something better came along.
And then... one day... with the help of Al Gore (?)... BLOGS appeared on the scene. They caught on like wild fire, because now finally! all of the Doogie fans could do what he did! Freedom from all of the nagging mature and wise comments that were just WELLING UP INSIDE OF US ALL OF THESE YEARS, we blog. Or so goes the theory.
Bet you didn't know the real reason that Blogs are such a buzzword these days, did you? (And you thought it was about that news anchor guy, who said that silly stuff!)