Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Unlikelihood of Peter Wiggin

It has been one year exactly since I started blogging.[1] Including this one, I've made 433 posts. Some of them have been silly, some have been banal, and some may even have a hint of intelligence to them. As of this posting, my most popular post is my review of LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1–4, with 1,670 views (as of writing), all from people searching for a map of Hogwarts. And while the stats compiler tells me I've had visitors from Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Malaysia, México, Russia, and the UK, my dedicated readership hasn't really increased that much.[2] So while it's true that your voice can be heard on the internet regardless of who you are, that doesn't guarantee that very many people will hear it.[3]

In 1985 Orson Scott Card published his novel Ender's Game. It details the military training given to children specifically bred to have high intelligence. They are preparing for a third war with an insectoid race of aliens, called the Formics, which has already attacked the Earth twice before and been repulsed both times. The protagonist is Andrew 'Ender' Wiggin. Because of the threat posed by the Formics, the nations of the Earth have entered into an uneasy alliance, called the Second Warsaw Pact. Back on Earth, Ender's cruel and devious brother, Peter, and his compassionate and conciliatory sister, Valentine, begin manipulating the politics of earth by posting political commentaries to the nets, using pseudonyms.[4] By picking up a solid following, Peter is able to leverage himself into a position of power.

That probably sounded pretty awesome and credible back in 1985. But it's not so believable now.[5] Peter Wiggin was just a blogger. It just doesn't seem likely that Peter could really make enough of a name for himself just by hosting a couple blogs with his sister. It doesn't matter how intelligent your posts are. The things that have a lot of readership are things like Fail Blog and food blogs—hardly a recipe for punditry and political ascension.


[1] See the first post, Incipit.

[2] Granted, I haven't been advertising myself that much. And I removed the buttons for others to use to recommend me on Facebook, Digg, Twitter, Stumbled Upon, etc.

[3] Besides, if he were really a mover and shaker, his true identity and life history would've shown up on WikiLeaks pretty quickly.

[4] Peter calls himself 'Locke' and compels Valentine to post as 'Demosthenes'.

[5] And it was even less believable (not to mention tacky) when Peter pulls the same stunt in Shadow of the Giant (published in 2005), and it works for him again—only this time he's writing both blogs himself.

Image attribution:

Playing Risk is by Jon Ross, available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/jon a ross/2389512435/.

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