18 Years + Bacon Cat 10 Year Anniversary
Posted on September 13, 2016 Posted by John Scalzi 34 Comments
I’m posting this relatively late because I’m in Hawaii (where in fact it’s not that late at all): Today is the 18th anniversary of the first Whatever entry, back in the now far-gone year of 1998. My blog is now a legal adult in the United States and can vote (and if it could vote, would definitely not be voting for Donald Trump this year). As I often am on this date, I’m amazed that I have kept on doing the blog; eighteen years is a long time to be doing anything, much less writing more or less daily in a public fashion.
It’s an interesting time to be doing a blog, still, because I think it’s safe to declare the Age of Blogging well and truly over, inasmuch as personal blogging as been superseded in nearly every way by social media, including Twitter (my favorite), Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and so on and so forth. I’m not planning on mourning blogs in general — as a phenomenon they had their moment and it was a relatively good one — but it is interesting to watch the blog tide recede, with just a few die-hards left to do them old-school, like I do.
Again, as I note every year, at the moment I have no plan to stop writing here, although this year in particular I have been writing less here as I have been wrestling with a pair of books for Tor, including the upcoming novel The Collapsing Empire. The books have been giving me fits and have been taking much longer than I expected (on the other hand, I’m having a hell of a lot of fun with TCE in particular, so the wrestling is worth it), and the result here has been relatively fewer posts, and a larger ratio of cat pics and sunsets. I think that’s okay. When I have been writing longform here this year, it’s been good; as good as it has ever been.
Which is why I keep at it. As much as I love Twitter (and tolerate Facebook), at the end of the day I want to say what I want to say, at whatever length I want to say it. The blog was, is and is likely to continue to be the best way to do that. I’m happy I’ve kept it up. I’m going to be keeping up for a while longer.
Today also marks another milestone in the history of Whatever: 10 years ago today I posted the infamous Bacon Cat post, in which I taped bacon to my cat and the Internet went entirely nuts for it. Today the Bacon Cat incident seems almost quaint, and would be good for a momentary trending hashtag at best,. But ten years ago apparently no one had thought to combine cats and bacon on the Internet before, and I was the beneficiary of this brave new combination, and my cat Ghlaghghee was, briefly, the most famous cat online.
Not that she cared; she was a cat. But I had fun with it. It was a moment in time, and I’m glad it was there, and glad the now-departed Ghlaghghee still shows up whenever people Google the terms “bacon” and “cat” together. Internet fame: Both temporary and forever.
You are a damn liar: it has not been ten years.
Anyway, how’s Athena enjoying Hawaii? A last hurrah for her before she enters seventh grade?
I came across Whatever about ten years ago when I lived in Indiana.
Whatever has been my daily look into a little bit of humor, a lot of reality and a place to stop by.
I have read many “On-line Journals” over the years, but Whatever has always been like that general store that you could hang out, get the news, weather and a little (or a lot) of opinion from your fellow mankind. Thank you for giving us with your time and being our proprietor.
davewhuss said it very well – Whatever really does feel more like a community than a blog. And even when you’re in Hawaii and I know you’re unlikely to post much (if at all), I still stop by here daily, just in case. You create a very welcoming spot to hang out, sir, and even though I don’t comment nearly as often as your regulars, I read – and appreciate – pretty much everything I find here.
I’ll never do face-book or twitter or any of those other things. But as long as you continue to share your insights, your humor, and your excellent prose on this platform, a visit to Whatever will be part of my daily routine.
Felicitations on 18 good years, and I hope there’ll be many more.
Congratulations on the longevity! And all hail the Bacon Cat, long may he reign!
Question: not sure if this has ever been asked, but did the cat actually get to eat the bacon?
Ergo thine cat, so shall ergo thine bacon; and verily thou shalt prosper and eateth grease and fat, yea, all of one’s days. Illegitimi non carborundum, evermore. Meow not from the grave, thy beloved. Nevermore, nevermore.
Congrats on the anniversaries. 1998 was a pretty early adaptation to the web. I learned the original, very simple HTML tags and started doing things on the modern Internet (beginning with a “home page”) in late 1995 after learning about it directly from Tim Berners-Lee at what— if I recall correctly—was a physics conference. Besides the fact that blogs are becoming relatively passé nowadays and replaced by newer technology, your cat in the famous bacon picture wouldn’t have red pupils were the shot taken with your new Nikon today! My how far we’ve evolved technologically in 20 years! Enjoy the rest of your vacation. I’m going to finish watching FX’s The Strain then I’m then going to bed. Sunday and Monday night football have disrupted my generally limited television viewing schedule. G’night!
I enjoy Twitter as much as the next human, because it is instantaneous, interactive, and conversational. But I find Twitter rarely makes me think deeply about issues: it is mostly an arena of “ha-ha,” +1, quick snark, then on to the next Tweet. Twitter is at its best when it features educated banter between people who can economize their thoughts into less than 140 characters (or when those who can’t are piled upon by those who can).
There is no substitute, however, for long form writing in which one actually has to make and defend a coherent argument. This is what I like most about Whatever. It is made even better by allowing a space for users to have a discussion (well-moderated by the Mallet) where readers can engage as a respectful community. I have learned a lot from simply lurking at this site and reading the comments. So this lurker/user would miss Whatever if it went away entirely (but I would still appreciate the photos of Midwest sunsets that remind me of home).
So cheers to Whatever, and to bacon, and to Twitter. Because it was your tweet about the difficulty of taping cooked bacon that brought me to your latest post. I want to hear that story!
@Sam: He mentioned in the comments of that post that the cat got a treat, but did NOT get to eat the bacon.
This also means that today is the 10 year anniversary of me reading Mr. Scalzi’s blog, as I was one of the innumerable people lured in by the post on Fark. It’s been a daily destination for me ever since.
Congrats! I purchased Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded before I started reading your blog. I’m glad it’s been so successful (and that you produced another anthology!) and that you plan to keep writing here.
Congrats on both anniversaries. Hmmm, maybe there should be a Whatever Con for the 20th Anniversary?
I came very late to the party a few years ago after I had read one of your books and noted the link to the website on the closing page. Visited Whatever for the first time right in the middle of the convention code of conduct discussion/debate/argument and made my first online post ever here — and was immediately swarmed under for posting what was in retrospect an ignorant comment (okay, several comments). I learned my manners (more or less) and have enjoyed checking in with you and your contributors pretty much on a daily basis. Very glad Whatever and you are here.
Enjoy your vacation Sir. I am looking forward to reading the fruits of your labor.
18 years ago I was 5 days away from giving birth to my first kiddo. Hard to believe it was that long ago, and I wish I’d found your blog earlier.
As good as it’s ever been, huh? Where are you medical records! Prove that it’s as good as it’s ever been! Eh! Eh! Eh! How about them apples? WHY NO TRANSPARENCY!?
Man, I have been reading too much “news”. Congrats, Scalzi! Here’s to downloading your mindstate image in another 18 years so for a few moments we can all share that burrito you had for lunch. Or some other very magnificently new-fangled future thingy. Or just still reading Whatever. Whatever. Ahaha.
I still haven’t forgiven you because I decided to get into blogging in early 1999, thought of the perfect title, and discovered that you were already using it. So I went instead with the inscrutable wordplay of “One Swell Foop” and failed to achieve 1/10,000th of your online legendaryness. But years later, I did come up with the briefly viral meme of “Neil (Armstrong) Before Zod”…
…which was almost immediately usurped by people using other Neils: Gaiman, Patrick Harris, deGrasse Tyson, even Diamond.Such is the flighty nature of memery…we can’t all be the genius behind Bacon Cat.
But you should be aware that someone else just yesterday began an attempt to usurp your Whatever: Róisín Murphy.
Nice song. But, whatever…
Age of majority – finally. :-D
That was a nice sofa; do you still have that sofa? Also; congrats on 18 years.
One of my little joys in life is scrolling down to the right bottom and clicking on “click this link” for a Random Whatever. … It’s a cold sense of the passing years when old links no longer work.
I have said on my blog that I believe the high tide of blogging has passed: Now I can quote you to document my belief.
I think that it’s not so much that “Age of Blogging” is over, it’s just that those without anything to say aren’t saying it anymore. They ran out of steam. Those with something to actually say continue on.
I happened upon Whatever, not via the magnificent Ghlagh-ball (may she have a place of honor at Bastet’s side for all of time), but while searching up info about SFF fandom’s culture-wars débâcle. I’d started reading SF in an era when female authors routinely used gender-neutral or frankly male pen names to deflect unfavorable notice. Andre Norton, remember her?
I thought, erroneously as it turns out, that the burgeoning numbers of women writing as women – Doris Lessing, Anne McCaffrey, Tanith Lee, Ursula Le Guin – had put paid to all that. Poor naive me. Some of the participants in the current unpleasantness helpfully identified this site as a hotbed of SJW revisionism, so of course I had to check the place out.
… To find it an oasis of sanity, intelligence, literacy and humor in an Internet that is, for the most part, painfully lacking in all of these things. For this, I thank you and your contributors.
P.S. At first I took the name Ghlaghghee to be a neologism à la Neal Stephenson’s Qwghlm. It was a delight to learn the real story, and yes indeed, when one grants a child the naming rights, there’s no going back on it!
Happy Blog Anniversary!
@Jay – I think that’s exactly right. What’s over is the blog as trendy; the ones with substance remain, and may that be so for a long time to come.
Your current clowder of cats is cute and fun, but Ghlagh and the Lop were truly fabulous, and I miss them. Kodi was pretty cool, too.
Happy anniversary. I have always been happy reading your stuff for many of those years (I think I started reading in the summer of 2001).
I hope to continue reading your blog for many, many, many more.
Hey, wow, congratulations! I love popping by to see whatever’s on your brain at any given time, and you’ve given me a lot to think about over the years. I’m thrilled that you’re still having fun and I wish you many more years of good Whatever-ing!
I hope I wasn’t the only reader today that thought, “Holy crap, that was YOU and your cat?” Wish I had clicked through to follow your blog ten years ago! I “discovered” you at a librarians vs. authors game at a Chicago conference a few years ago – read my free copy of Redshirts and never looked back. Cheers to another 18 years!
I first came here from your TVTropes page and I’ve stayed because it fills the gaps in between your novel releases. Plus, I never get tired of all the ways you can lambast political figures.
I was going to say exactly what vaHawkeye said…twitter is for snark, etc, need to read longer stuff to get good thinky stuffs in brain…its like amazing, like vaHawkeye traveled through time and wrote exactly what I was going to say (but probably said it a lot better.) Anyway, +1 and stuff to all that. Keep blogging. It is so much better than twitter.
Please continue to grade the hate mail.
Eh, that’s all I’ve got. Others have said it all: great blog, funny & thoughtful, much appreciated.
May yours be the last blog continuing on into the future when all the others have withered away. Congrats on the anniversaries.
Congratulations! I do miss Her Radience. I first discovered her while trying to find an old column of the nature of Himalayans. I am now enjoying the Scamperbeasts because, of course, they are cats. Also because we have a pair of our own. (a brother and sister)
Yeah, first found this place because I bought a book called Your Hate Mail Will be Graded. How could I resist something with THAT title? ^^ It’s been a joy to read your blog ever since.
Have you considered doing a comeback tour (so to speak) by taping bacon to the Scamperbeasts?
Happy blogiversary! Bacon taped to a cat is probably the internet’s version of heaven. Lol.