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A weblog is a kind of half-breed, the 21st Century electronic offspring of a newspaper column and an intimate personal diary. Before weblogs existed, we had Herb Caen (the late San Francisco treat), Anaïs Nin, Samuel Pepys, and Drew Pearson. Now we got their 21st Century counterparts and many, many more, all rolled up in a nice package of CSS, RSS, and HTML. Who were those people? I picked them because each represents a kind of paradigm which has re-emerged in the blogosphere.
Let's start with Herb Caen. He wrote a a column for the San Francisco Chronicle, mostly about San Francisco in the good old days. He was a big schmoozer, he dropped names like a rabbit drops what rabbits drop, and you might say that he represented the soul of San Francisco. What, you ask, is the soul of San Francisco in 2006, a century after the Great Earthquake? I'm not sure that San Francisco has a soul any more. I was thinking about that the other night while falling asleep. 'Twould make a good topic for another Coffeeblog item, but not now: on to Samuel Pepys. (As for Drew Pearson and Anaïs Nin, I'll deal with them also at another time.)
My freshman English professor told us that Pepys' name was pronounced "peeps" like baby Easter chicks. Pepys' diary, which I had avoided reading until now, was considered a milestone of English literature and is now available as an etext in the public domain, with bracketed comments by editor Henry Wheatley. Now: check out Pepys' entry for January 4, 1660:
Early came Mr. Vanly--[Pepys' landlord]--to me for his half-year's rent, which I had not in the house, but took his man to the office and there paid him. Then I went down into the Hall and to Will's, where Hawly brought a piece of his Cheshire cheese, and we were merry with it. Then into the Hall again, where I met with the Clerk and Quarter Master of my Lord's troop, and took them to the Swan and gave them their morning's draft, [It was not usual at this time to sit down to breakfast, but instead a morning draught was taken at a tavern.] they being just come to town.The big question for me: Did Pepys and Hawly make merry with the Cheshire cheese by putting it between two slices of bread? If so, he anticipated the first "cheese sandwich blog" by 330 years.
Art and Images of cheese sandwiches.Permanent Link to This Entry | | | Technorati Tags: Diary Cheese Sandwich
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