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“Lesbianism makes everything more popular”, or, the Mysteries of Google Search

April 23, 2012

So, as those who follow me on twitter may or may not know, Google recently directed someone to my blog via the search term “sexy lesbians”. I have been scratching my head, desperately trying to figure out how on earth this was possible, and decided Google is stalking me.

However, confused as I was, I felt bad for the poor sod who had searched for that and ended up on my blog. Because there definitely is no mention of sexy lesbians on my blog, not even a teensy weensy picture of Portia de Rossi (obviously there is one now). I guess I do mention lesbians once, in brackets, in My Feelings about Scandinavian Literature, a blog which also contains the word sexy. Still though, sexy lesbians isn’t enough of a rare search term to warrant such grasping at straws, I would think.

As I related this incident to a friend, he reminded me of a seminar for a course called “Modern British Novels: 1979 to the present day” in which I unequivocally stated that

lesbianism makes everything more popular

Perhaps not the most eloquently phrased point ever made, but still to the point given that the book in question was Sarah Water’s Tipping the Velvet.

A question I recently raised in this post was whether a cracking page-turning plot is enough to warrant a good book. Just after posting that, my housemate made me aware of a very good article by Will Self on sequipedalianism, or, the use of long and obscure words, and why this is good. I very much enjoyed the article (also because I had learnt that word in a Jennifer Aniston film, and because Will Self uses even more commas than I do), but it did get me thinking.

Is it so that in contemporary literature, subject matter must always triumph over style when it comes to popularity? So a badly and/or exceedingly simply written book about, say, lesbians (just to give those poor misguided googlers value for their nonmoney), will always be more interesting than a terribly well written and/or clever book about gardening?

I fear this is probably true.

Will Self

However, thanks to Mr. Self I have decided that whilst I will not be ashamed of my plot-heavy fiction indulgence, nor will I constantly postpone the cleverer books in my to-read list. Because though they take more time, they are so rewarding.

And they make me feel very clever.

I would also like to raise the point of how amazingly many words the English language contains. They should be used. If there is a specific word for “the using of long, obscure words” why on earth should one avoid using it? I come from a language where almost half the words (or feels like it anyway) have to do double duty and serve two purposes, for example dør: “door” and “dying” or lov: “permission” “law” and “promise”.

So if you have lots of words – use them, keep them alive, and in honour of Shakespeare‘s Birthday, invent new ones!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2012 2:19 pm

    And now that you’ve used the term multiple times you’re bound to get an increase in traffic. Search terms that are used to land on her blog are a weekly highlight on ‘Books & Bowel Movements’ one of my favourite reads, I’m amazed at the things people search for and how they end up on a books blog.

    • April 23, 2012 4:54 pm

      Haha I know, it is my favourite part of my stats page. The day of “sexy lesbians” the only other search term was “strong and lonely”.

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