Sunday, November 11, 2007


More random pointless thoughts on pointlessness following up my post on Thursday about the quest for the Most Pointless Blog in the World ...

I'm beginning to wonder if there really is any field of human activity that is so tiny, so irrelevant, so abstruse, so meaningless that it isn't of fascination to some not insignificant number of people. Can there be such a thing as a totally pointless blog if at least one person other than the reader finds it interesting?

Clearly the two blogs that I picked as examples don't qualify as pointless at all. Some of my own readers, who by self-selection are the smartest and most discerning blog readers on the planet, found why a tittle? and Change is Good to be of some merit. "Amazing", "incredible", "wow" were some of the accolades.

And something else I had failed to notice. The writers of these two blogs are not lone voices in the wilderness. If you look at the links on these two blogs you will see that they are both members of whole communities of bloggers devoted to writing about observed examples of specific mistakes in punctuation or typography, and coins found on the ground respectively. Clearly these folks don't find these subjects pointless at all.

So is there a blog out there that is so pointless that nobody ever reads it, nobody finds it interesting? The question reminds me a bit of the zen-like question as to whether there is such a thing as an uninteresting number. Many numbers are interesting... 2 is the first even prime, 3 is the number of spatial dimensions in which we live, 4 is the smallest number of colors sufficient to color all planar maps.... and so on.

Even much larger numbers can be interesting. For example, 1729 is known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number after a famous anecdote of the British mathematician G. H. Hardy regarding a hospital visit to the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. In Hardy's words: "I remember once going to see him when he was ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxi cab number 1729 and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "No," he replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."

Hello, anybody still there? Does this seem extremely pointless? Where was I? Oh yes. So lots of numbers are interesting in this sense. But surely not all of them? There must be way too many numbers for them all to be interesting. Aren't some of them dull?

Well, let's suppose that every number up to 37, say, is interesting. Then 38 would be the first dull number. But that is an interesting thing about 38. It would be the one and only first dull number. That's really interesting (if you like that kind of thing). OK then 39 must be the first dull number. But wait. If 39 is the first dull number then that's really interesting. And so on. And so on. So there's no such thing as an uninteresting number.

So if there is such a thing as the Most Pointless Blog in the World, wouldn't that be an amazingly popular, not to say interesting, blog? People would write about it and link to it. The author would be a celebrity. He or she would almost certainly get a book deal to publish the posts written in the Most Pointless Blog in the World. The book would become a best-seller. After all, Jerry Seinfeld created one of the most popular, most successful TV series of all time by writing scripts that were... about nothing. Totally pointless.

But then Jerry deliberately wrote about nothing. Can we allow the winner of the title of Most Pointless Blog in the World to be written by someone who is trying to be deliberately pointless? For example, how about Blogs are Pointless? This is dedicated to the proposition that blogs are pointless so you shouldn't read them...
Stop reading right now. Go away. You don't have the attention span, the intelligence, the sheer will to read the below information regarding the pointlessness of blogs, so cease and desist reading immediately. This isn’t a joke. Go away. The counter at the bottom of the page is about 10x the amount of people who even know about this page. This is for me and me alone; my public declaration to the deaf and dumb, the ignorant masses who don’t even deserve the chance to know they’re wrong; and you are one of them. The message is simple: STOP READING BLOGS.

Or perhaps our winner should be someone who achieves meta-pointlessness by becoming a portal for all other pointless blogs. A bit like which describes itself as the Premier Portal of Pointlessness.

Also in the category of taking things to extremes we have Louie who declares that Everything is Pointless. Louie is an atheist, nihilist, anarchist, pessimist, misanthrope. The blog discusses the origins of the universe and life, evolution, religion, the purpose of life, death and so on. You don't have to agree with any of his views to find his blog interesting and provocative. So paradoxically it's not a pointless blog at all. (Unless of course Louie is right and everything really is pointless.)

I haven't been sailing for almost three weeks, not since this day. I do hope my back injury heals soon. I'm not sure my readers can stand many more pointless posts like this one.


Tillerman said...

FWIW visitor 112,000 to this blog comes from New Jersey and arrived here from the Intensity Sails website. He or she stayed for 4 mins and 22 seconds and looked at Papa's Got A Brand New Bag and one other page.

I know the above is totally pointless. That's the point.

Mal Kiely [Lancelots Pram] said...

I love your pointless post here, Captain Tillerman! heh heh

The internet, let alone the world of blogging, is full of what at first may seem trivial useless information.

But for someone, someones' junk is another's treasure, I guess.

The fact that you haven;t been out for three weeks onto the water is not pointless - it's devestating! Look after yourself, and I hope your back heals up nicely, quickly.

Mal :)

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