According to WordsYouDontKnow.com (and my dictionary) a “blatherskite” is a “garrulous talker of nonsense” thus a “blatherscape” is the world inhabited and created by the blatherskite. A longer definition follows herewith —
noun1 the metaphysical home of blatherskites constructed with the purpose of reinforcing a belief system free of conflicting data.
noun2 a conceptual framework concerned with the inescapable confoundedness of modern realities.
[See also BLATHERSKITE. persons who engage in lengthy, nonsensical speech on usually trivial matters. (Related: blarney, bunk, rubbish, claptrap.) Derogatory term used in mid 17th century Scotland adopted into American colloquial speech during the American Revolution. In today’s usage connotations range from the merely whimsical and eccentric to those in need of swift pharmaceutical intervention.]
- Causes. “Blatherscapes” often emerge when a combination of any of the following constructs reach a critical mass: circular logic, ahistorical perspectives, narratives trumping reality, pithy comments about what constitutes reality (particularly on blogs), celebrity-watching, the aggregating and representation of others’ ideas as one’s own, assertions of owning a moral stance, repetitive sloganeering and easy dichotomies. Individuals frequently cited as assisting in the creation of blatherscapes include Sarah Palin and George Will.
- Effects. Anecdotal evidence states that in the moments before a blatherscape comes into being localized ions buzz in a threatening manner after which preliminary studies suggest several of our most critical kinds of intelligences suffer short term damage in the confines of a blatherscape. If exposure continues uninterrupted for more than thirty minutes damage may be permanent. Signs of permanent exposure to the blatherscape include spending any portion of a person’s waking hours thinking of witty comments to post on but not limited to: YouTube, news outlets, blogs and articles on Yahoo sports about rumors surrounding Tim Tebow’s supposed upcoming Super Bowl commercial not that we’re thinking of anyone in particular.
- Epidemiological estimates. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 87% of Americans inhabit some form of blatherscape, 48% of whom occupy a minimum of six different blatherscapes. Some of the most popular blatherscapes are “The Land of No,” “WTF?” and “The Fox & Friends Smile Parade.”
noun2 the inescapable home of modern realities.
I find the idea of blatherscapes helpful as I’m interested in changing definitions of literacy and how they relate to constructions of reality. As has been pointed out ad infinitum, we live in an increasingly convoluted and fractured mediated world with expanding numbers of aggregators and sofa pundits. According the The Blog Herald “Technorati currently states it is tracking over 112.8 million blogs, a number which obviously does not include all the 72.82 million Chinese blogs.” Good to know I’m on the cutting edge.
In attempting to navigate the blatherscape I assign myself an impossible task, but one none of of us have any choice in accepting. Doing so raises a question I’d rather not acknowledge: Is there anything left to say? My worry is there isn’t or, to be more honest, that there is but I’m simply not able to pull it off. Nothing makes one feel more uncertain as to his own specialness than the cacophony of millions doing the same. Repetition of what has already been said and done is safe and rewarded but if we/I can’t add anything new what does that “say?” My hope is by addressing this fear head on I’ll be forced to set the bar a little higher in how — and where — I find and make meaning.