Yesterday I was surprised when a friend said the following in a comment for my Lindsay Lohan Proves Her Illiteracy article:

Nice to see you on the WordPress Top Posts list !


My response was, “Huh?” and my friend was kind enough to follow up with this:

When I load up my WP dashboard – I have a *Whats Hot column* on the right hand side.
In the right hand column I have WP.com News, Top WP.com blogs today and then Top Posts from around WP.com

I logged into my WordPress.com Dashboard — Urban Semiotic
has been hosted by WordPress.com for a month now after being a
“standalone” WordPress blog for the past two years — and found my Lindsay Lohan Proves Her Illiteracy
article was the third “Top WordPress.com blogs today” and the second
“Top Posts from around WordPress.com” directly under “Britney Spears
upskirt pictures” and this entire blog was ringing in at number seven
as one of the “Fastest Growing WordPress.com blogs.” Pretty heady stuff
as you can see:

Lindsay Lohan Makes This Blog Hot!

Then my new friend J told me I could also find this Urban Semiotic blog listed on the WordPress.com front page:

David – Don’t know where she saw it but you can follow the links on this page to check out hotter blogs on WordPress.com.

J was right! There’s my Lindsay Lohan Proves Her Illiteracy article in second place again beneath Britney’s upskirt.

Lindsay Lohan Makes This Blog Hot!

There we were sitting pretty as the second “Hot Blog” on WordPress.com as well!

Lindsay Lohan Makes This Blog Hot!

It is a great thrill to see your work being read, but you begin to wonder who is reading you and why and then memories of Titties in the Top Spot, Titties All the Time
come flooding back and you begin to realize just how shallow and narrow
“being popular” can make you despite your best efforts to be relevant
and moral.

I suppose that is the danger of the fame and popularity of Lindsay
Lohan and Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and their ilk: You start to
think your popularity alone makes you smart or a good writer or a
person of moral fiber when all it does is give you an opportunity for
salaciousness and serving your temptations and for scraping the lowest
common denominator in order to reach the most eyes that want to click
on a provocative headline or view an obnoxious image.

It all makes you a little sad and a little morally depressed because we
try here every single day to be thoughtful and to make a difference and
to not play down to our basest instincts. We try to lift up instead of
bring down.
I am infinitely pleased with the reception for my Lindsay Lohan Proves Her Illiteracy
article and I am especially delighted with the flood of conversation
that immediately followed that publication in the comments.

One of the most interesting comments was, for some reason, posted by
Colleen on our Comments Policy page instead of in the comments stream for the Lohan article:

The phrase: “Made a searching and fearless inventory…” in
Ms. Lohan’s letter is the 4th step as outline in the 12 steps of
Alcoholics Anonymous. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous in the
chapter, “How it Works,” beginning on page 58 it outlines how to get
sober and how the AA program works. On page 59 the 12 steps are listed.
Thanks ~C

You can really get a sense of the high intellectual readership of this
blog just by reading the flow of the comments — on all our articles —
and for that fact alone, I am forever grateful.
I am, however, disappointed that an article about an illiterate
celebrity swallowed up such a great deal of attention.

Celebrity
idolatry is the newest, craven, infectious disease of the week.
If I were cunning I would start a “Lindsay Lohan is Stupid” blog and
fill it with her brazen images and everything she ever wrote and cut
her up by bits; but that would bee too easy and too low road and I’m
sure a 100 other bloggers have already beaten me to the publication
punch.

There are more important issues and other, better, articles published
right here that others could read and make popular enough for being
published on other front pages and other hot lists like: A Badge, a Blood and Orange Bloodshed or Chlamydia and the White Van or Nigger Tax or even Deaf and Bloodless in Canada
— but wishing isn’t the beauty and the peril of publication.

The beauty of publication is trying to get something online every day
and the peril is hoping the effort touches someone else just enough
that they will step forward out of darkness and place a comment down on
the bright permanent record as a reaction to an idea sowed into the
ether with held thumbs and a smile and a shoeshine.

You can’t predict what will grow — or who will read you — or what
will wilt and so you just keep on pressing the “Publish” button while
trying to stay both innovative and dangerous.

Then, on the day you least expect it, an explosion of thought and
meaning will crystallize in one place in a single moment on your blog
and new records will be set, screenshots will be taken, comments will
degrade into the silly and — if you’re lucky enough to evolve — you might just be in the right position to end up looking up Britney Spears’ skirt.

70 Comments

  1. You always wanted to look up Britney’s skirt didn’t you ?
    A friend of mine, a grammy award winner ( for one of his more obscure pieces of work) would say
    Enjoy the moment, take the praise and enjoy the limelight – for all the other works you should have got recognition for and you didnt.
    And out of curiosity – which post in your blog do you consider to be your best post and why ?
    Which is the one you most want us to read?
    And congratualtions BTW ………..

  2. Hi Nicola!
    Well, with Britney showing “everything” to anyone who happens to look her way the past few days, there’s no reason to even wonder about going up her skirt.
    😀
    Right. Take the traffic from wherever it comes and be thankful for the links and the thought of mind.
    I don’t think I have a single favorite post but “Promise Before Dying” is probably my personal favorite.
    In July 2005 I created a “List of Mosts” that I still find enchanting, and I probably should update it with some new Mosts:
    http://urbansemiotic.com/2005/07/22/list-of-mosts/

  3. Hi David,
    I found that celebrities — especially minor celebrities who don’t get as much attention as the huge stars — attract a lot of attention.
    I wouldn’t take it as a sign of moral decay that the posts that attract the most attention are those that are attractive to the greatest numbers of people.
    Even the most serious people sometimes like to take a break from the hardcore news and issues and enjoy something that distracts them for a while.
    Of course, having the celebrity news can attract new readers who will then become loyal Urban Semiotic readers!

  4. Hey Chris —
    I understand your point that even heavy thinkers need a break — I just wish the break didn’t come in the form of Lohan reading.
    I realize our culture is built to idolize stars — I guess I just feel a bit guilty for contributing to that haze — because the problem of illiteracy and bad writing is a real problem in the United States and it is an indication of the moral decay in our educational system.
    I don’t want to perpetuate the problem or celebrate the cause of stupidity by glorifying Lohan in any sort of respectable light beyond introspection.
    I think our comments salvage the savaging I gave Lohan in the story — but how many people really read all the comments in a thread before moving on?

  5. Hey Chris —
    I understand your point that even heavy thinkers need a break — I just wish the break didn’t come in the form of Lohan reading.
    I realize our culture is built to idolize stars — I guess I just feel a bit guilty for contributing to that haze — because the problem of illiteracy and bad writing is a real problem in the United States and it is an indication of the moral decay in our educational system.
    I don’t want to perpetuate the problem or celebrate the cause of stupidity by glorifying Lohan in any sort of respectable light beyond introspection.
    I think our comments salvage the savaging I gave Lohan in the story — but how many people really read all the comments in a thread before moving on?

  6. “Enjoy the moment, take the praise and enjoy the limelight – for all the other works you should have got recognition for and you didnt.”
    True words. I can empathise that as a writer myself. 🙂
    “the problem of illiteracy and bad writing is a real problem in the United States and it is an indication of the moral decay in our educational system.”
    Actually, not only the US, but also elsewhere (or maybe in most places for all we know) that is either:
    a) lacking in resources (Which I highly doubt developed countries or anywhere with Internet access are suffering from)
    b) congested with MTV/YouTube/pop culture.
    A very good example is Bodoland as well (explained in blog).
    In fact, I just might be writing a comparison between the British + American education systems and ideals pretty soon (inspired from To Kill A Mockingbird).
    “I don’t want to perpetuate the problem or celebrate the cause of stupidity by glorifying Lohan in any sort of respectable light beyond introspection.”
    I doubt you’ll create that sort of problem. I’m sure after judging the comments you recieved for that post, you can pretty much tell the level of intellect of your newfound blog readers, no?
    It won’t be your fault anyway if they can’t read the sacarsm and satire between the lines.
    I took that whole thing as light-hearted jest, by the way. (Partially because I do things like that sometimes :P)
    P.S. Was too tired to disperse any mind-provoking content.
    “how many people really read all the comments in a thread before moving on?”
    Judging from my comment before this quote, it depends on their mental stamina. (And interest of course, but that’s not my point)
    For the record, based on my reader base, so far I think about…17-20.

    I empathise with you about feeling a sense of awe for making it into The List. lol. I made it to “The Fastest Growing Blogs” once. During my hiatus moment. No idea how.
    Nevertheless, great work here. I shall bookmark you. 🙂
    Keep expressing honesty! Kudos.

  7. “Enjoy the moment, take the praise and enjoy the limelight – for all the other works you should have got recognition for and you didnt.”
    True words. I can empathise that as a writer myself. 🙂
    “the problem of illiteracy and bad writing is a real problem in the United States and it is an indication of the moral decay in our educational system.”
    Actually, not only the US, but also elsewhere (or maybe in most places for all we know) that is either:
    a) lacking in resources (Which I highly doubt developed countries or anywhere with Internet access are suffering from)
    b) congested with MTV/YouTube/pop culture.
    A very good example is Bodoland as well (explained in blog).
    In fact, I just might be writing a comparison between the British + American education systems and ideals pretty soon (inspired from To Kill A Mockingbird).
    “I don’t want to perpetuate the problem or celebrate the cause of stupidity by glorifying Lohan in any sort of respectable light beyond introspection.”
    I doubt you’ll create that sort of problem. I’m sure after judging the comments you recieved for that post, you can pretty much tell the level of intellect of your newfound blog readers, no?
    It won’t be your fault anyway if they can’t read the sacarsm and satire between the lines.
    I took that whole thing as light-hearted jest, by the way. (Partially because I do things like that sometimes :P)
    P.S. Was too tired to disperse any mind-provoking content.
    “how many people really read all the comments in a thread before moving on?”
    Judging from my comment before this quote, it depends on their mental stamina. (And interest of course, but that’s not my point)
    For the record, based on my reader base, so far I think about…17-20.

    I empathise with you about feeling a sense of awe for making it into The List. lol. I made it to “The Fastest Growing Blogs” once. During my hiatus moment. No idea how.
    Nevertheless, great work here. I shall bookmark you. 🙂
    Keep expressing honesty! Kudos.

  8. Hi bodicea —
    Thanks for the illustrious and illuminating and illustrative comment!
    I realize the ability to clearly read and write across the world is on the decline and we are all the worse for it.
    Blogging, IMs and Chat can help provide practice venues for excellence in writing and reading but too often those means of communication become unspoken memes and pits of ridiculous abbreviation.
    I not sure if Strunk can save us or not!
    😀

  9. Hi bodicea —
    Thanks for the illustrious and illuminating and illustrative comment!
    I realize the ability to clearly read and write across the world is on the decline and we are all the worse for it.
    Blogging, IMs and Chat can help provide practice venues for excellence in writing and reading but too often those means of communication become unspoken memes and pits of ridiculous abbreviation.
    I not sure if Strunk can save us or not!
    😀

  10. I can’t believe I missed all the fun. I go out of town and all this popularity happens. I agree with Nicola and Chris. Enjoy the increased readership and they’ll definitely stick around to read more, I bet.

  11. I can’t believe I missed all the fun. I go out of town and all this popularity happens. I agree with Nicola and Chris. Enjoy the increased readership and they’ll definitely stick around to read more, I bet.

  12. Hi Anne!
    Yeah, where are you when I need you?
    😀
    Good to have you here today and I understand to take the traffic however it gets here, but I’m sure if I had a “Celebrity Site” we’d be even more popular, and that’s the depressing part…

  13. Hi Anne!
    Yeah, where are you when I need you?
    😀
    Good to have you here today and I understand to take the traffic however it gets here, but I’m sure if I had a “Celebrity Site” we’d be even more popular, and that’s the depressing part…

  14. Okay, so you can write about celebs if they fit into what you want. Don’t sweat success. You can always write about the urban core and education and murder tomorrow.

  15. Okay, so you can write about celebs if they fit into what you want. Don’t sweat success. You can always write about the urban core and education and murder tomorrow.

  16. I went back and read “Promise Before Dying”
    That is the most personal post I have seen you write – and it is very powerful.
    I also asked myself the same question – and I think my personal stuff , as opposed to my observational stuff is better .
    The most popular stuff ( most read/commented on) is a three way tie – my post about my son and the Horseguards, Velvet D’amour and Blogmad woes !
    I have a feeling you could write a killer celeb blog ……….

  17. I went back and read “Promise Before Dying”
    That is the most personal post I have seen you write – and it is very powerful.
    I also asked myself the same question – and I think my personal stuff , as opposed to my observational stuff is better .
    The most popular stuff ( most read/commented on) is a three way tie – my post about my son and the Horseguards, Velvet D’amour and Blogmad woes !
    I have a feeling you could write a killer celeb blog ……….

  18. NICOLA!
    Thanks for your sweet and warm thoughts. I really appreciate them. Have you read “Eleven Heart Shaped Balloons?” That’s another personal favorite.
    Personal stuff always sings better than berating public figures, but not everything personal needs or wants to be publicly shared.
    A blog should not serve as one’s emotional spittoon.
    I have read your popular articles and they are certainly heartfelt and evergreen.
    Hmm… you’ve given me an idea about a celebrity blog…

  19. NICOLA!
    Thanks for your sweet and warm thoughts. I really appreciate them. Have you read “Eleven Heart Shaped Balloons?” That’s another personal favorite.
    Personal stuff always sings better than berating public figures, but not everything personal needs or wants to be publicly shared.
    A blog should not serve as one’s emotional spittoon.
    I have read your popular articles and they are certainly heartfelt and evergreen.
    Hmm… you’ve given me an idea about a celebrity blog…

  20. I am continuously following the conversation from the morning, couldn’t jump in because I am stuck with a huge project…
    David, do whatever you want…I understand and appreciate the effort you put in here and the impact of it but just don’t decide to stop writing here regularly!

  21. Hi Katha!
    Urban Semiotic will always come first and get the most effort. I like what we do here. We are unique.
    A second blog is a possibility and while it will be good and fun if it happens the main intellectual and spiritual effort will need to remain here.
    Thanks for your valued and valuable feedback!

  22. UPDATE:
    I now own “Celebrity Semiotic” at http://CelebritySemiotic.com to use for the Celebrity blog.
    😉
    I also own “City Semiotic” at http://CitySemiotic.com because I thought I should.
    :mrgreen:
    I also grabbed a few others just because I was there.
    😀
    Those two URLs are now on the sidebar and, for now, they point to this blog — but we have reserved the future if we decide to start up the Celebrity blog!
    Thanks for all this feedback and keep the delicious ideas flowing!

  23. UPDATE:
    I now own “Celebrity Semiotic” at http://CelebritySemiotic.com to use for the Celebrity blog.
    😉
    I also own “City Semiotic” at http://CitySemiotic.com because I thought I should.
    :mrgreen:
    I also grabbed a few others just because I was there.
    😀
    Those two URLs are now on the sidebar and, for now, they point to this blog — but we have reserved the future if we decide to start up the Celebrity blog!
    Thanks for all this feedback and keep the delicious ideas flowing!

  24. Hi Nicola!
    Mwa-ha-harr! I love registering domain names that are killer ideas!
    Ah! Celebs by Listing. Now that’s fun! Good idea!
    Thanks for the heads up on the celeb feeds — that’s important for staying up-to-the-minute!

  25. Hi Nicola!
    Mwa-ha-harr! I love registering domain names that are killer ideas!
    Ah! Celebs by Listing. Now that’s fun! Good idea!
    Thanks for the heads up on the celeb feeds — that’s important for staying up-to-the-minute!

  26. In the UK there are already listings …… a 3 year old article from the BBC –
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/2864691.stm
    This is much more up to date
    http://www.forbes.com/2006/06/12/06celebrities_money-power-celebrities-list_land.html
    You might also find this amusing – it is a stock market related to celebrity – all to do with exposure and column inches !
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/celebdaq/
    ( Bet Akismet eats this !)

  27. In the UK there are already listings …… a 3 year old article from the BBC –
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/2864691.stm
    This is much more up to date
    http://www.forbes.com/2006/06/12/06celebrities_money-power-celebrities-list_land.html
    You might also find this amusing – it is a stock market related to celebrity – all to do with exposure and column inches !
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/celebdaq/
    ( Bet Akismet eats this !)

  28. Hi David,
    CelebritySemiotic is a great idea!
    I’m thinking about diversifying into another celebrity angle also. I’m keeping the idea secret for right now. 🙂 Plus, I need to figure out the exact niche since going too mainstream means getting lost in the crowd.
    There’s also a draft in the queue for your review.

  29. Hi David,
    CelebritySemiotic is a great idea!
    I’m thinking about diversifying into another celebrity angle also. I’m keeping the idea secret for right now. 🙂 Plus, I need to figure out the exact niche since going too mainstream means getting lost in the crowd.
    There’s also a draft in the queue for your review.

  30. Chris!
    Thanks for the feedback on CelebritySemiotic! It could be fun if done right.
    You have the niche idea down! You know how to focus your blog efforts to get the most bang for the effort and that is incredibly smart instead of just being another generic fan blog. I can’t wait to see your new site. Your Ebony Honeys site is fun, too!
    😀
    I see your draft! I will read it in the morning when my eyes are not so bleary and have it up for you in the early afternoon. I love the story! I’m so glad you wrote it because I have the perfect title for it!

  31. Chris!
    Thanks for the feedback on CelebritySemiotic! It could be fun if done right.
    You have the niche idea down! You know how to focus your blog efforts to get the most bang for the effort and that is incredibly smart instead of just being another generic fan blog. I can’t wait to see your new site. Your Ebony Honeys site is fun, too!
    😀
    I see your draft! I will read it in the morning when my eyes are not so bleary and have it up for you in the early afternoon. I love the story! I’m so glad you wrote it because I have the perfect title for it!

  32. Hi David,
    I’ll give part of the secret away since execution is the key to any successful idea.
    I’m thinking about going in a Pinoy direction for something different and to diversify my efforts. The programming is on at the house most of the day, so I’m immersed in it. Maybe I should get my wife involved in a team effort. 🙂
    Maybe I’ll become a problogger in the tradition of the “six figure blogger” one of these days.
    Thanks for the compliment regarding the post.
    I’m glad you have a title in mind — I always have a tough time thinking of something that sums up a post in a minimum of words.

  33. Hi David,
    I’ll give part of the secret away since execution is the key to any successful idea.
    I’m thinking about going in a Pinoy direction for something different and to diversify my efforts. The programming is on at the house most of the day, so I’m immersed in it. Maybe I should get my wife involved in a team effort. 🙂
    Maybe I’ll become a problogger in the tradition of the “six figure blogger” one of these days.
    Thanks for the compliment regarding the post.
    I’m glad you have a title in mind — I always have a tough time thinking of something that sums up a post in a minimum of words.

  34. Yeah, it seems like there are a few good blogs out there that are just honestly writing about what strikes them. Then there are people who just try and mimic the high hitting posts just to get traffic. That really sucks. But congrats on your Top Post. Well done 🙂

  35. Yeah, it seems like there are a few good blogs out there that are just honestly writing about what strikes them. Then there are people who just try and mimic the high hitting posts just to get traffic. That really sucks. But congrats on your Top Post. Well done 🙂

  36. Hi shelbycockrell!
    It’s great to see you back here again!
    You’re right about the mimicry. If you want a BIG BLOG — just write about Britney Spears’ crotch all day long and you’ll get hits and become super popular — but I don’t think your comments will be very deep and your readership isn’t loyal because tomorrow in the blog up the road they’re going to show Katie Couric’s newest colonoscopy video with Smell-O-Vision and all your flighty readers will hop over there when they’re tired of smelling Britney.
    I’d rather have a smaller blog and better people who contribute on a regular basis.
    You’re also right we have a great deal of freedom here where we can write about whatever strikes us and we won’t disappoint anyone because tomorrow will always bring something new.
    Thanks for your kind wishes! I read your Lohan flaying and it was quite effective! Congrats!

  37. Hi shelbycockrell!
    It’s great to see you back here again!
    You’re right about the mimicry. If you want a BIG BLOG — just write about Britney Spears’ crotch all day long and you’ll get hits and become super popular — but I don’t think your comments will be very deep and your readership isn’t loyal because tomorrow in the blog up the road they’re going to show Katie Couric’s newest colonoscopy video with Smell-O-Vision and all your flighty readers will hop over there when they’re tired of smelling Britney.
    I’d rather have a smaller blog and better people who contribute on a regular basis.
    You’re also right we have a great deal of freedom here where we can write about whatever strikes us and we won’t disappoint anyone because tomorrow will always bring something new.
    Thanks for your kind wishes! I read your Lohan flaying and it was quite effective! Congrats!