House Underwater with Coral Reef


Ed Taylor

Odd coinage, “blog.” Because of the consonants, maybe, connotatively echoing blah, blob, bog, fog—all blah and meh and open, lax slack sound, texturally yielding and passive, amorphously maybe moist (a word frequently topping lists of most-disliked words), slogging through a bog.  Then there’s trog as in -lodyte. Old media “cavemen” were often named Og—which means “and” in Old Norse. But in Old Irish it means “egg” or “testicle”: and in Kunjen, a Paman language spoken on the Cape York Peninsula of Queensland, Australia by the Uw Oykangand people, it is “water”—another kettle of fish, like wog, which may derive from “golliwogg,” a blackface doll character from an 1895 children's book that British art historian Sir Kenneth Clark provocatively called an "example[s] of chivalry, far more persuasive than the unconvincing Knights of the Arthurian legend."

And there’s Gog and Magog, loose designations of tribes that appeared in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran and in the modern era are associated with end-time predictions.

Maybe it’s that “ah” sound—as in apocalypse. Something’s wrong, doctor. Say ah. Expecting the other shoe to drop? Whistle in the dark, la la la: according to the Delfonics, “La La Means I Love You,” and love is the drug, according to Roxy Music, but groggy results from too much grog—and “Grawp,” a violent giant in the Harry Potter books, continues the caveperson thing.  Something about “og” embodies inarticulate, unevolved crudity, lesser creatures such as frog, popeyed in the bog, and reminiscent of nasty Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter. Blog needs a PR firm.

So rehab, rename. Become a cog, get togged out and jog, no longer a slob—get clean and crisp, no more globs of hair gel, land a shiny new job.

A rebranding team might suggest—try some fluid sounds, some mellifluity, after some focus grouping, the running of a few things up the flagpole to see who salutes. We’re thinking something French, the team might advise in a progress report, in the way assayer became essay.

What about: e-say?

Maybe a little too 1984 newspeak, and doesn’t convey the new content, new voice, new tactics, new expectations of blogging. Maybe too reductive and too hard to say.

Be true to your school or its roots, in a “blessay”? Maybe not: sounds crypto-religious.

The Hebrew philosopher Philo of Alexandria, writing in the 1st century BCE, said “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

So arguably every day is a slog, fighting Gog and Magog in a bog, and ahead is only fog.  So we witness, we record, we log.

And that is a blog.

Ed Taylor

Ed Taylor is the author of the novel Theo, the poetry collection Idiogest, and the chapbook The Rubaiyat of Hazmat. His essay "Painting My Age" appeared in North American Review in 2010.


Illustration by Christian Blaza. Christian Blaza is an illustrator based in New Jersey. Christian graduated Montclair State University in May 2015 with a 3.618 GPA. Along with receiving a BFA in Animation/Illustration, he was awarded Excellence in Illustration by the Department of Art & Design for the class of 2015. Blaza is interested in editorial, sequential, and fantasy illustrations.