scatterplot checks into the chelsea hotel

This post needs to make a reference to oral sex and you’ll just have to get over it. There’s this song, “The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song,” by Jeffrey Lewis. (There. That was it.)

In the song, Lewis starts up a conversation on the street with a woman he finds appealing. They have a fun conversation, but then he lets her leave without asking for her number. He walks down the same street many times later hoping to run into her again, but it’s New York and so of course he doesn’t. He writes a song about it in which he acknowledges that one might think it’s pathetic that he doesn’t ask a woman out but then writes a whole song about her. He says, “But, wait, actually that’s a wonderful thing.” Because:

Next time you’re feeling kind of lonesome or blue.
Just think that someone out there, might be singing about you.

Which brings us to a post I wrote while back about another blog that seemed to have an unusual preoccupation with Scatterplot—links in 3 of its first 5 posts. (To honor its proprietor’s clear preference for discretion, I won’t link to it here.) The proprietor took the blog down after my post—he didn’t know that WordPress lists incoming links and blog authors commonly read posts that link to them—and started in a new location. But the author said in his re-inaugural post that taking down the first blog was overdrastic, and he linked to Scatterplot with an acknowledgment that, by providing the link, I could see that I hadn’t doused his esprit d’blog. I subscribed to read it on Bloglines.

The blog is still quite preoccupied with Scatterplot—links/references in 5 out of its last 6 posts.* If you take out the post by Olderwoman that was picked up by CT and Metafilter, a third of the incoming links since we’ve started have come from this one blog.

I’ve commented on several posts. Nothing boorish, I’d thought, or even unbemused. I think I still might be regarded as a bit of a troll, though—can you be a troll on a blog that is significantly about you?—as the proprietor is now talking about making his blog private or otherwise hiding it so that those who are linked won’t be able to read it. I could offer to just quit reading—although you try seeing an incoming link that’s likely about you and not clicking on it—but some others from Scatterplot and Orgtheory have followed the incoming links as well.

Moreover: I have to confess that first I was unsettled by the existence of another blog that was preoccupied with Scatterplot, but then, well, the whole sociology celebrity thing is a little corrupting. When I see in Bloglines that this blog has updated and the post is not at all about Scatterplot, I’m disappointed. Not flattering to admit, but there it is.

Then I realized that if the blog goes private, I can imagine that whenever I post it might be talking about me. Then—even better—I realized that because the only reason I know about this blog in the first place is that its proprietor didn’t know about incoming links, there could already be other(s!) out there posting regularly about Scatterplot. Next time you’re feeling kind of lonesome or blue, just think: someone out there, might be blogging about you.

* Just to be clear: if anything, I’ve come to like and respect the proprietor over the course of reading various posts, and I don’t harbor any illusions that he or other participants on his blog are actually obsessed with us.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

12 thoughts on “scatterplot checks into the chelsea hotel”

  1. Message to OtherBlog: I am also a regular reader, though I don’t much comment. Furthermore, I hereby extend a warm, personal invitation to join us for the annual bloggerly drink at next year’s ASA. Don’t forget! If you happen to be a grad student, chances are someone will pick up the tab on your beverage.


  2. I was also a regular reader of Otherblog. I was really sad to discover today that they’ve deleted all of their posts, many of which were genuinely funny. It’s too bad…


  3. Huh, I see the owner has deleted almost everything, again. Like I said before, that site seems pretty conflicted. “I want a blog that can link to other blogs and say moderately snarky things about them so my friends can read and comment on them, but I don’t really want other people talking to me about it, or reading my posts. Or maybe I want others to read it sometimes, too.” Maybe what they are looking for is a LiveJournal account with friends-only posts or something.


  4. Phew, for a second there until I saw the “he” pronoun and the bit about 3 out of 5 inaugural posts, I thought you were referring to my unusual preoccupation with Scatterplot and Jeremy Freese, sociology celebrity.

    Would that I could go to ASA, but I’m not really one of you. Do any of you ever go to Law and Society meetings?


  5. Kieran: Exactly. It’s easy to set WordPress to private, but if the person wants a fully-customizable set-up with some posts private and some posts public set-up, then LiveJournal would seem the obvious option. Then again, that other guy who wrote that post about how we at Scatterplot were “pretentious ass-hatted wankers” started his rant with a thing about “the LJ sociology community,” which prior to that I hadn’t even realized existed.

    Belle: I don’t. None of the current contributors are obvious suspects either, although we have at least one other active commenter who does L&S.


  6. I’m rather sorry I did not find this guy before he pulled his stuff down. There’s a whole world of snark out there I’ve just been oblivious about. Just as well, I guess.


  7. You were more than a peer in the big cybersphere
    You were famous, your blog was a legend.
    You liked folks who wrote books, not grad student schnooks,
    But for me you would make an exception. . . .

    (with apologies to L. Cohen)


  8. Belle: I go to Law & Society like it’s a religion! in fact it may be my religion. We can have a sattelite meeting.

    And, i really have no idea what this whole thread is about — I guess I am not in the know enough —

    OW: The best snarks are here (on celebs)

    though they have stopped posting new content

    and here on grammar (this one makes me laugh like crazy) – it is the “blog” of “unnecessary” quotation marks

    good snark.


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