The Passion of the Chris recently sat down with Christopher Sailor to talk about his new blog/website. Weblog? Redundant. Blogsite. He arrived more or less awake, incredibly engaged yet continuously distracted, and gave the distinct impression of a man who is at all times very much over-aware of himself.
POTC: I'm glad you could be here.
CS: Sorry I was late.
POTC: It's okay, I had some things to catch up on. So, what are you doing here exactly?
CS: Trying to think of a witty response to what you just said.
POTC: No, I mean in a more general sense.
CS: I'm giving this interview.
POTC: No, I mean the blog.
CS: Oh, I'm sorry.
POTC: That's okay, stop apologizing.
CS: Sorry. I guess I just feel like our existence is so fractured right now, that it's hard to find any kind of through line - for me at least - and the idea of creating a blog seemed like a good way to bring together a lot of disparate things that I otherwise may have never found an outlet for. I felt like I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted as long as it was all collected under a banner who's mandate of doing whatever I wanted gave it sort of an inherent structure. But it also keeps me focused and on somewhat of a self-imposed schedule.
POTC: In the past, you've been known to be skeptical of the internet.
CS: I wouldn't say skeptical was the right word - and if I ever was skeptical, there was certainly no one who knew or cared. I think that the internet in a lot of ways has failed to live up to its potential, but I think that rather than use that as an excuse for non-participation, it's up to smart and thoughtful people to be conscientious about the ways in which it can be used for the enrichment or betterment of society - culturally, politically, intellectually, everything-ly.
POTC: Do you really think you have a hope of living up to that?
CS: Maybe not, but I think that even that question represents a needlessly fatalistic way of looking at it. Even if all I accomplish is making someone giggle at their desk, or helping them think of something in a new way, or letting them realize that, "Hey, look how fucked up this guy is - maybe I'm not alone," than I think I've really accomplished something.
I think we're just now getting to the outer edge of what the internet can do. You have artists and entertainers who came up through more traditional media structures - people like Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Louis C.K. - and comedians via the podcast explosion realizing that they can now release content directly to their fans without the intermediary of an oppressive media conglomerate. And not only are they doing it successfully, but they're making a great deal of money doing so, which means that this can be a perfectly feasible business model in the near future.
The biggest hurdle right now is that these are all artists who were already established through traditional means and are now carrying a pre-existing audience over to a new way of doing things. There is yet to be an example of someone who has been able to reach any considerable mainstream success by doing it that way, though maybe that's a qualifier of success that's becoming outdated. In any case, there are exciting, interesting things going on. You can look at the Argentinian lit-blog Orsai, which was founded by a writer who was fed-up with going through the usual channels of publication and started his own site as a means of getting his work out there un-tampered-with. The blog also publishes a quarterly literary magazine which, while it is hosted for free on the site, sells more than enough to make itself economically feasible, which is no small feat these days. (The most well-known English-language counterpart - though it's a bit different - would probably be McSweeney's, which would have been a more accessible - yet considerably less impressive - reference).
POTC: So that's what this is going to be? A high-end literary blog?
CS: No. I don't know. Sometimes, maybe. That's not really the point - that's just a sort of best-case-scenario example of what this kind of thing can be, without the mandate of having to be specifically about one type of thing. It can be about anything and everything, filtered through my own perspective. One guy trying to figure out the world. I have no illusions that this will ever gain the size of audience that those other sites have - though one never knows - or that I will ever be able to monetize it in any way. I'm ultimately just a schmuck who's probably writing this stuff in less clothes than would make you comfortable - but hopefully I'm an entertaining/insightful schmuck.
POTC: That should have been your bio.
CS: Maybe I can figure out how to change it.
POTC: So what kinds of things are you going to post?
CS: Whatever comes to me.
POTC: Maybe some film reviews? Or essays? Short stories? One-act plays? Or more anecdotal stuff? Or maybe videos?
POTC: You're going to talk about everything?
CS: As long as I can find an interesting way to approach it.
POTC: Are you going to talk about sex?
CS: Um, I don't know...
POTC: Does that make you uncomfortable?
POTC: You're turning red.
CS: I'm holding in a cough.
POTC: This is a print interview, you can let it out. No one will ever know.
POTC: Sex is a natural part of life.
CS: I'm aware of that.
POTC: Then why should it make you uncomfortable to talk about it? How long has it been since you've had sex?
CS: Can we change the subject?
POTC: Sure, if you'd like. So what about your--
CS: I'm not afraid to talk about sex. It's not the sex, it's the intimacy. I don't have a lot of experience in talking or writing about things that are intensely personal, is all. But the fact that I'm so afraid of it makes me think that maybe that's the kind of thing I should force myself to write about from time to time. It's a good way to overcome insecurity. Don't you think that's a good idea?
POTC: Sure, it could be. As long as it's funny.
CS: Of course it'll be funny.
POTC: Good. So what kind of things can we look forward to in the near--
CS: Don't you think I'm funny?
CS: What about the other times?
POTC: I think that you're never less than amusing.
CS: Would you mind terribly if I ever tried to be serious?
POTC: As long as the quality remains consistent, and it always feels like you, I suppose that would be just fine.
CS: I don't know to what extent I can promise consistent quality. What if I promise to always try?
POTC: Maybe that's the best that any of us can ask for.
CS: That seems grim, doesn't it?
POTC: I didn't mean for it to. I think you're projecting.
CS: I do that. Sorry.
POTC: Stop apologizing.
CS: You're right, I'm sorry, I did it again.
POTC: I think that's as good a time as any to stop.
CS: Is it my fault? Is it because I keep apologizing?
POTC: No, no, not at all. I think that people will have gotten the gist of it by now. Plus I'm sure we'll be hearing plenty from you soon enough, anyway.
CS: I hope so.
POTC: I think I do, too.