Archive for May 2009

New cover, same old dog-eared book

13 May 2009
Categories: Self-referential

I have decided that this weblog is in need of a name change.

I originally named it Spontaneous Publicity on a whim, from the line in the movie The Jerk where Steve Martin’s character sees that the new phone books have arrived and excitedly exclaims, “This is the kind of spontaneous publicity—your name in print—that makes people.”

This was back in September 2005, when my first entries into a nascent weblog were about other weblogs having taken notice of my Blues Brothers map. To have other people talking about my website was, quite literally, “spontaneous publicity”—which immediately made me think of that movie line, and thus I had a title for my weblog.

Of course, since then my topics have ranged much further from self-referential contemplation of my website and its place in cyberspace (this entry notwithstanding). The title has no relevance to these topics.

In addition, I find that the domain name for the dot-com version of this title is held by some Microsofter and his family, and is used for the usual semi-literate stuff-going-on-in-our-lives rambling of all blogs—I won’t denigrate it any further than that, per the “glass houses” rule. Suffice to say that we both got our titles from the same source, but they bought the domain name when I didn’t bother to do so. By the way, my blog pre-dates theirs by more than two years. But no matter.

Here’s the funny thing, and the one reason I’m reluctant to change my weblog’s name. If you Google “spontaneous publicity weblog” my site, not theirs, comes up first. This is because Google loves me. (Of course, if you use the loogie-word “blog” instead of “weblog,” theirs wins.)

Still, that’s probably not enough reason not to change it. Moreover, a good reason to change the name is this: I’m not all that big a fan of The Jerk.

I have a front-running candidate for the new title. It comes from having clicked on an external link in my entry on Angelo Testa the other day, in order to check that it was still a good link. It came back successful, with this result: 460
Angelo Testa
USA, c. 1978
11.5 h x 28.5 w inches
: A Boolean argument was expected. Provenance: Collection Of The Artist; Daniel Czubak, Chicago

As I read the description, I thought to myself: that’s an interesting title for that work. It took me several seconds to realise it was in fact a database error—“A Boolean argument was expected.”

Here’s a point in favour: current Google results imply it would stand out a little more…

  • “spontaneous publicity” = 2440
  • “A Boolean argument was expected” = 1210

Best of all, the title is in a vague way a better reflection of what this weblog is about. The arguments one finds here are distinctly not Boolean. There are no clear-cut, black-and-white, Manichaean dichotomies here. Just a whole lot of shades of grey. Kind of like the new “inove” theme it’s using.