Saturday, March 14, 2009

PSP Existential Crisis

Something has to change!

When Condi was heading off into the sunset, I was a bit irritated to get tons of comments saying OMG, what are you going to do? In denial, I poo-pooed these concerns, stating that I wrote a lot more than just Condiproduct, and besides, it's not like Condi was going to just disappear from public view.

Surprisingly, though, that's exactly what she's done. Worse, I underestimated just how much I relied upon her for material. Then another favorite subject, Ursula Plassnik, dropped out of the scene. Worst of all (for my purposes), the Bush administration ended! Basically, within a very short period of time, I lost about 90% of the material I counted on for this site's content.

I tried to find substitutes, but most of them didn't take up enough room. Yulia Tymoshenko, for instance, simply isn't very interesting once you've laughed at her hairdo for about two minutes. And Michael Steele? Heck, obviously he isn't going to last much longer.

Michael Steele brings up another point regarding this problem. See, when I obsessively chronicled Condi's endless photo-ops and weird... existence... I was doing something nobody else was doing! Elsewhere on the web you'd see occasional sarcastic things about her, sure, but mostly you'd find a bunch of puff-pieces and straightforward analysis of her latest goings-on. Even my Sarah Palin coverage was unlike that going on elsewhere, because I was mining the wires' news photos in an extensive/intensive way not found anywhere else. So lately, I've done a similar avalanche of posts about Michael Steele's gaffes and hilarity... but so has everybody else. In other words, there's nothing original or unique about my Steele posts.

This is a problem. I'm not interested in having a blog which just parrots what's going on elsewhere in the blogosphere.

So with this in mind, I've got to make some changes around here. I've got to find new things to write about. I'm working on some new ideas, at least one of which will be debuting over the next few days. One thing that occurred to me is that my most overlooked and untapped resource is... well, myself. Did you know that I'm actually neither a pink plastic pony nor a screaming Barbie head? It's true!

This idea makes me a little nervous because I've always more-or-less kept my "real" self out of this blog, but all the ideas I'm getting are pointing in that direction. Some of my favorite blogs are highly personal: Joemygod and Earl Cootie and SF Mike come quickly to mind. Don't expect what I do to be anything like what they do, though, because I don't go to Black Parties, rarely venture out into nature, and haven't been an extra in an opera since high school.

I want to emphasize that this is NOT driven by a wish to become a "popular" blog or to attract masses of new readers; it is driven by a wish to not become bored with my own site. I'm not a professional blogger, and this site carries no advertising, so there's nothing to be gained by an increase in traffic.

So anyway, blah blah blah. I'll still be writing about the topics I've covered over the past few years, but there will be new things as well, non-political things, personal things. Heck, maybe I'll even write about books I've read, movies I've seen, etc. Who knows? I'd love to hear what Pony Pals think about this. Any ideas or opinions are welcome!


Akheloios said...

I've enjoyed your post-deconstructional aesthetic meanderings so far, please continue.

Lorem Ipsum said...

Go for it. Let your green suede shoes be your guide.

Anonymous said...

I'll still be here, whatever you want to write about. Your unique view of things is what has been interesting, much more than Condi herself.

Unknown said...

Can you blog about your work at the National Gallery? Whenever you give us peeks in there I am fascinated and want to know more.

Does anyone else at the National Gallery blog about the Gallery? If not, take a meeting with your superiors and see if you can become the official blogger, but bring the blogging style you developed here to the job.

Peteykins said...

z7, I really can't do that. Behind the scenes at the NGA is just that: behind the scenes. I would be seriously putting my job at risk. We have a public information office, and they have strict rules.

You can't imagine how many times I've wanted to write about this or that at my work, but I just can't do it.

Peteykins said...

Oh, and I've asked why the NGA doesn't have a blog, and was given a litany of reasons I can't go into here. Basically, the concept is strangled by our editorial process.

And even if they did start a blog, it wouldn't be written by me, as I'm not in our editorial division.

Jennifer Rouan said...

Peter, some of my favorite posts are the ones of your own photos. I loved the Greenpeace garbage (or loved to hate it). I've used your cherry blossoms and your bus stop roof as my desktop backgrounds on different occasions. I love getting to see behind the scenes at the museums, or any of the parts of the city those of us who don't live there never get to see. As much as I'll miss the condiproduct, I welcome the opportunity to get more of you.

Wow, what a suckup.

Peteykins said...

Haw! To be clear, I fully intend to still write about all the things I used to write about, including Michael Steele, Condi (when available), etc. I'm not shutting off the political writing, just augmenting it with new features.

Anonymous said...

I think you should wind this blog up, take a holiday, come back with a new blog with a USP as U as this one has been. Call it something else, but have a similar focus and treatment of that focus that excites you (and us) as much as this has. NB past tense. Adding "new elements" to this blog is the equivalent of a Spinal Tap solo album. You're floundering, and you know it.
I'm not going to be a suck-ass and say that anything you do will be rapturously received, either by your old demographic or a new. The Condibot thing was genius, and it may be your best blog shot. I'd avoid chronicling your own life and the facial hair that decorates it, because you don't have the satiric distance to make a point or a joke about it. You need a target, basically, like a laser sight, and "adding new elements" to this one is just scattershot.
Lots of luck.

Peteykins said...

That's an interesting take, but I have no intention of abandoning this blog, because I put a lot of work into it. And, sheesh, give it more than two hours before judging the results of the shift.

Peteykins said...

Oh, also, I'm probably overstating how dramatic a shift this will be.

Diane Griffin said...

You have done great by me with the comedy/polical stuff. I agree that everyone's covering the same stuff now, and it's probably because there's less mystery because there's less obvious "skullduggery" going on. I've always found your views on art & pop culture in all forms really compelling. I loved it when you wrote about Pan's Labyrinth (was that last year?), and you've turned me on to so many great movies & so much great music over the years.

I'm looking forward to whatever you write.

Anonymous said...

I think it's just that with newspapers and magazines circling the drain, newsphotography and preening for news photography have taken some serious body blows. Republicans were always great at photo ops and with them decapitated, there's another problem.

There were 2 photo obsessed blogs I used to visit: PSP and Bag News Notes. i gave up on the bag because it was just too boring and pretentious. My advice, for what it's worth is don't try to force things. To quote the great Karl Rove 'Stick to principles.'

Muscato said...

Keep having fun with it; your take is interesting on many more things than Dr. F.'s hairdos of yesteryear.

But I can't tell you how odd it feels to see that Barbie not screaming. I'd always sort of hoped that Mattel would come up with a PSP Edition, complete with that priceless expression. Somehow, it sums up the zeitgeist of 2001-2009.

Lulu Maude said...

It's your wit and inventiveness that makes you a big part of my blog life, Pony. Everything else is secondary.

I just plain old dig you.

Ralph White said...

My two-part recommendation: 1. Get a book deal on all the Condi posts; and 2. Retire

Matthew Hubbard said...

I love your work, which I suppose is obvious. I only started blogging because of my friend Padre Mickey and your blog, though mine isn't much like either of yours.

You're an excellent PhotoShop artist, but that is a lot more time consuming than mining the wire services for pictures. Also, if you decided to be catty about Michelle Obama's clothes sense, you would be getting in a very long line.

Damn Bill Richardson and his ethical lapses! Your life could have been so much easier!

Best wishes on whatever you decide.

Anonymous said...

You got it all wrong, Condi needs you much more than you need her. I mean, look what happened: you stopped writing about her and pouf! she disappeared. Btw, thank you for that!

Anonymous said...

Highly esteemed PSP,

Why don't your propose to Condi(she will surely accept your offer of marriage given your admiration for her), and then document your wedded bliss on your blog? You would have lovely children and we could all look at them, grow up with them, look at their hair! What joy...

PS: Perhaps a name-change for the blog: PSP Photoblog I Keep Track of Condi Children's Hair So You Don't Have To

Anonymous said...

Ooooh noooo, PSP, please don't change. We love you just the way you are. Sure, other blogs may have been writing about the same topics you're writing about, but nobody has done it quite with your voice, which is priceless. How many times have I quoted you to my friends in e-mails because your take on things is unique? (Add a dash of "Yay!" and "Neat!" and we all happily consume.) Also, do you think that just because these horrible Republican people are out of office that they're going away? Nay, alas. I just had to turn off CNN because Dick Cheney was on. We need your vigilant eye more than ever! And if you start writing about books and movies, you'll become just like everybody else. This is Change We Don't Need.

Salty Miss Jill said...

Yeah, what LuLu Maude said. In spades!

Peteykins said...

Also, do you think that just because these horrible Republican people are out of office that they're going away?

But they have gone away. I can't do a roundup of the latest wire photographs of Condi if there aren't any. And there aren't any. So what am I supposed to do, make one post every other month?

Anonymous said...

Okay, Condi's wire photos may be a tad scarce, but she's not the only fish in the sea. Her partners in crime are still around, I promise (although I wish I were wrong). Not only did I find Cheney on CNN this morning, but last night I ran across Douglas Feith and Ann Coulter on C-SPAN! And right now, under our unsuspecting noses, very awful people like Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty, John Huntsman (okay, he's less awful than most of them), David Petraeus, Haley Barbour, et. al. are plotting and scheming for 2012. Which will be here before we know it! And unless someone outs him (my personal pet theory), it looks like Michael Steele is going to hang onto his job after all, despite all the "too male" furniture at the RNC. There's lots to keep your eye (and your trenchant commentary) focused on. Please, PSP, stay as sweet as you are!

Unknown said...

strangled by our editorial process

I figured it was something like that, but I wanted to ask anyway. But still, when possible, keep giving us the peeks please. The piece with the plastic-wrapped items was memorable.

Michelle is redecorating the White House, so that might be worth covering.

I didn't see enough deconstruction of the logo in the news. The Obamas are logo-happy, so commentary on their logo designs would be welcome, I expect we'll have more of them.

Do you want to interview Shepard Fairey? I have an in.

The cherry blossoms will be blooming soon. Perhaps when they start falling there will be a chance rain shower, and you can get some ugly tour bus shots where the bus is bespattered with decaying cherry blossom petals.

Can't think of anything else at the moment.

But yeah, don't close this one down and start another one. That's like saying the WaPo should have changed their name after Watergate. You're now an established news organization. You may have started with covering Condi's coiffeur, but you can change that subtitle to anything. It will ALWAYS be PSP's Photo Blog.

Unknown said...

Also, had to do it. :)

Unknown said...

Actually, use this one instead, I punched up the pinks and made it meta. Better I think.

Peteykins said...

Z7, Shep was actually a friend of mine in San Diego.

And Anonymous, you offered a string of names everybody else is covering. Why would I want to write about what everybody else is writing about? Ann Coulter? Are you serious? Do you honestly think there's a shortage of people writing about her on the web? Also, how many different ways do I have to say that I'm not going to stop writing about what I used to write about?

Jeez, reading comprehension, people!

Unknown said...

Shep was actually a friend of mine in San Diego

Why am I not surprised in the least? :)

Cindy G said...

I've been a regular follower for ever so long, and I think I'll keep reading no matter what you write about. At least, that's what I think right now.

Anonymous said...

As Cousin Ambrose used to say, there is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I have no doubt you'll find many ways to entertain us in this post Condi era.
Ennui is the cross creative people have to carry once in a while.
We have faith in you while you sort things out. Honest, we do.

Anonymous said...

I have never been in any way artistic. I lost my hearing about 7 years ago. Since then I have been increasingly moved by the visual.

I love your blog. I love your sense of humor. Write what ever you feel. Show us whatever you want. It will be fun to get to know you.

Thanks for the visuals and the laughs.


Anonymous said...


I'm a big fan from London, your posts on the Princess Diplomat and the affable giantess have had me giggling regularly from the time a few years ago when I stumbled across your site, so thank you very much for all the laughter. I understand you exploring about writing more about yourself, but I think what you have done to date has a formula and I think it can be applied outside the Condi-arena - here's what I think you should do, if you're not sure that you want to leave the formula:

- look for replacements: I think these have to be female because the range of clothing and hairstyles is much greater than those for men, and therefore the potential for gaffes much greater

- test drive some other well-known faces to see if there is someone out there capable of taking over the Condi- / Ursula mantle. I would say that there are hundreds of candidates, amongst them:

some heads of state (Cristina Kirchner, president of Argentina who must get a bit sick of other Heads of State mistaking her for one of the waitresses at important functions),

most first ladies (don't look to the UK for inspiration at the moment, but Cherie Blair would have been a mine of material. Anyway, there is a sorry and continuous tale of inappropriate dresses and sorrowful hair-don'ts documented daily in the press of most countries),

several monarchs (Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is currently wearing some pretty dodgy dresses)

- all of the above do armchair photo ops, hurrah

- you could even hedge your bets and follow a shortlisted stable of individuals before electing one for a year's worth of PSP insightful blogging as a "prize"

Take care and I'm loving the facial hair


Anonymous said...

A quick trawl of wikipedia reveals:

- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (known throughout Europe for her "trailblazing" approach to royal fashion, ahem)

- Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, current president of the Philippines, whose official presidential portrait has her sprouting some downright spooky sleeves

- Tarja Halonen, current president of Finland (although she looks a bit too sensible to be much use)

- Svetlana Medvedeva, Dmitry Medvedev's wife ("she has already caused something of a media frenzy")

HRH King Friday XIII, Ret. said...

Oh Princess, you'll always be a screaming Barbie head to me. No matter what you do, we'll all keep reading!

Anonymous said...

Nobody uses cute puppy photos when writing about Steele, so you are not doing what everyone else is doing. It's an example of how your brand of commentary is unique. Please continue with Steele and anything else, I laugh every day when I read your blog.

Anonymous said...

Dear P.S. Pony, Could you use your magic skills to create a gallery of 50-year old Barbies? It occurred to me that the different avatars of Barbie would age differently. That is, Golfer Barbie would be white-blonde, leathery, and have stringy arm muscles; while Astronaut Barbie would have gone back into engineering and be following the engineers' dress code, so hair back to mousy brown, shapeless sweaters, no makeup, baggy skirts. I would love this. Perhaps no one else would.

rptrcub said...

I like it when you get personal. I also think that you might want to start aiming some lasers at certain cabinet members in the Unicorn administration.

Anonymous said...

Hi PSP. blogging is certainly cheaper than therapy! Enjoyed and enjoy the site.

dguzman said...

It's eerie, but nonetheless welcome, how the entire Chimpy administration seems to have simply disappeared. Still, it does present one with a quandary: what to blog about?

So far, however, what with your muttonchops and Tushie, you seem to be hitting the ground running, as they say. Well done, Princess!

I would love to see you do some movie reviews too.

Anonymous said...

Two of my favorite PSP things that I don't often see:

1) Art history lessons - I'm sure there are other blogs that cover that sort of thing, but I don't read them and I'm a complete Philistine when it comes to that.

2) Your bizarre and/or rare music collection - I know it's a pain for you to upload the music and it's also hard for me to listen since I'm usually at work when I read your blog, but what I did get to hear, I loved.

lorrwill said...

Screaming Barbie Heads - isn't that one of those indy bar bands from SF?

Peteykins said...

Carmen and z7, I've been working on an NGA-themed megapost, so you can look forward to that.

z7, I should clarify my policy about work blogging: if it's in the public sphere, I feel I can write about it. That covers artworks in the collection, the public areas of the buildings, etc. Those plastic-draped sculptures, for instance, were in the atrium of the East Building.

Civic Center said...

I've been going through my own version of your existential crisis with my blog, but after being called one of your favorites in public, the crisis is now officially over.

Part of what makes this site so fabulous, and why it attracts such a seriously devoted cult, is that you're not stuck on any formula and watching you tentatively play with different subjects and styles is always fascinating. They don't all work out, but you're probably your own best critic so you don't need to worry about that. This place is your artwork, and it's an extraordinary collection.

Also, you're very clear that you show and tell only what interests you, not what interests everybody else, which leads to the final compliment. You're as informative as any site on the internet. Please keep educating us. It's your dharma, as those beatniks and Buddhists say.

Anonymous said...

I've always loved your blog. I could imagine running out of Condi Crap, that's understandable. But, perhaps you can replace the topic to a wider scope!

Including fashion-disasters of other Republican hacks, and mocking them on a wider-scale all the while with that same tack you've made historic with Condi!

You're a laugh-a-riot and I love ya! Keep on going, Girlfriend!


Fruit F. Fly

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy your blog, so I don't think I'm going anywhere. Same goes with your regular readers I'm sure.