I have failed to replace my LiveJournal with this WordPress. (Not sure about the capitalisation there). But since the comments here are supposed to be timeless rather than topical, and more universally relevant than fleetingly amusing, I don’t feel the pressure to make comments all of the time — only when I think of them.

I’m often forced to listening to the call waiting music on the telephones at work. The best phrase I can use to describe it is ‘ambient tinkling’, and it’s so utterly innocuous that it drives me up the wall. Jack Johnson has the same effect — his music is so mellow and harmless that no one could possible take offense to it, and yet, when it’s played at work, people are falling over each other to turn the music off.

It’s a strange paradox that the most utterly bland and innocuous things become the most incredibly offensive. I think most of the literature industry works on the principle of ‘bland and innocuous’, which is one of the reasons I can hardly ever read past the first page of a book randomly picked off the shelves. They seem like they’re trying to appeal to everyone, rather than risking alienating some people in order to appeal more strongly to others. The books that do take that risk end up being the most popular, but all that people can then see is a book that’s universally appealing. Even though some people hate the apparently universally popular Harry Potter, they’re disregarded as aberrations rather than acknowledged as collateral the people that the books risked annoying.

People try to emulate the success of other writers, but they try to emulate the effect rather than the cause — the effect is popularity, the cause is an infinitely subtle quality that’s impossible to identify or document, and is obscured by the effect of popularity.