Monday, February 11, 2008

BoingBoing Without Cory Doctorow: Sucks More, or Sucks Less?

Cory Doctorow is a polarizing figure. He's obviously popular and well-known, but lots of people really, really dislike him. (Though he seems to have outlasted many of his detractors.)

Part of the reason why is that he's so prolific. (He's also Canadian and a science fiction writer, though you can't really hold that, or any social maladjustment stemming from that, against him.)

What's more, he stands upon a very big soapbox and he knows it. Though he doesn't appear to play to his audience: Even if he didn't have any readers, he would probably still write about the same idiosyncratic, self-indulgent crap he does now. So I would call him uncompromising in that respect.

Similarly, he's a foaming, humorless zealot on many issues, and he's an inveterate self-promoter. So he's definitely in that "love him, hate him, or love to hate him" category.

In fact, he's kind of like Howard Stern.

I also think most of the Cory Doctorow hatred comes from unalloyed jealousy -- given the chance, who wouldn't love to have a loyal following of millions of eyeballs on which to inflict whatever inane blog musings they could come up with?

(Attention is kind of like the One Ring: "Sure, those other guys were corrupted by all that power... but if I had it, I could do some really cool things.")

Personally, I find his schtick annoying -- in his BoingBoing role, you could gin up a Random Cory Doctorow Post Generator, and I'm pretty sure it would pass the Turing Test (in that it would be indistinguishable from the human).

Notable in His Absence

Anyway, Cory Doctorow is on paternity leave right now, which means BoingBoing is free of his usual flood of posts about knee-jerk anti-DRM/copyright absolutism, steampunk, Canadia, his latest book translation or XKCD mention of him, Disney-fanboyism, etc.

Oddly, to those of us who thought BoingBoing might suck less in his absence, the exact opposite has occurred: BoingBoing seems to suck more now.

Partly, it's due to the sheer decline in output. I haven't bothered to crunch the numbers, but the daily post count looks to be about 5-8 posts lower than before he went on his paternity hiatus.

However, volume alone doesn't explain it. My theory: In his absence, it's clear that the role of Cory Doctorow and his inane posts at BoingBoing is to make everyone else's posts look better by comparison.

I'm not sure what conclusion to draw from this.


Anonymous said...

thanks for this, yes Cory sucks, Xeni sux, Theresa NH sux and mostly BB sux

Jason said...

Why surmise that the hatred is borne of jealousy? Cory is a horrible writer, and it's a shame to see his drivel get committed to print when there are more worthy things to be published.

atanguay said...

Wow, thank you for writing this. Amen.

For years I've allowed this guy a lot of cred because I really like Boing Boing. But, sort of the way that a radio station you might like will play something new, but sucky, it takes you a little time to finally realize that hey, this might actually suck.

My opinion really turned around for me when the guy's rants invaded two places I feel that they had no business.

I opened up a recent issue of Make: magazine...a compendium of generally positive projects for the tinkerer and hands on person. Shock of shocks, a full page screed about Apple's 'walled garden' and DRM. Things only tangentially related to the 'maker movement'.

Then, this guy was the keynote speaker at the 2011 Siggraph convention, which is a gathering of computer graphics professionals and researchers. Take a wild guess how long it took him to start complaining about Apple's policies.

So besides the sin of constantly recycling this lecture over and over, it's REALLY stretching the lines of relevance, and in the end, annoys the crap out of me.

So thanks.

Joelogon said...

Andy -- in the intervening years since I wrote this, I've concluded that I don't care as much any more.

And either his output has dropped or that of the others has picked up (I especially like Maggie Koerth-Baker's stuff), because I just don't notice it as much.