The First Ever ‘Weblog’ Post Was About Chicago Gangs, 15 Years Ago Today

Robot Wisdom, the pioneering site of Chicago polymath Jorn Barger, published its first post 15 years ago today, and the subject is all too familiar.

Gizmodo helpfully reminds us that the word “weblog,” i.e. “web log,” which later became “blog” after someone played around with it and turned it into “we blog,” was coined 15 years ago today. And it was coined here in Chicago, by then-Chicagoan Jorn Barger, aka Robot Wisdom.

The first-ever (of a sort) blog post? Of course: it was about Chicago gangs.

Wed, Dec 17, 1997
A thread about gangs on chi.general led me to this reference source on Chicago gangs: http://www.chitown.com/bigshoulders/gnghome.html which offers a ton of details– names, symbols, alliances– you never see anywhere else. In the newsgroup discussion, “Tommy the Terrorist” wisely suggests that if gangs have corrupt cops watching out for them, then their territorial boundaries ought to match those cops’ precincts’ boundaries as well.

The second? Dilbert.

A couple years ago I wrote about Barger and CBBS, the world’s first computer bulletin board, which was created during the depths of a Chicago winter (who says our climate isn’t good for productivity?). Of course, zing.

“Weblog” is Barger’s most famous neologism, but he argues he’s made many more interesting ones. I particularly like these:

misery pizza, misery burritos, etc (1994?) ersatz entrees using lowest-possible-cost ingredients: white bread, ketchup, american cheese food, pork’n'beans, etc

pork’n'beans vegetarian (1995?) it’s not enough pork to bother paying double for the vegetarian beans

Barger’s gift for words extends beyond his prose. For instance:

is it possible the primary difference
between poetry and prose
is the cost of whitespace?

Or a self-description as a youth:

stanford-binet iq in 1962 was 185
hypersensitive androgynous quiet
compulsive reader lazy eye
annual unrequited crushes

literally unable to express anger
before age 20

Share

Advertisement

Submit your comment

Comments are moderated. We review them in an effort to remove foul language, commercial messages, abuse, and irrelevancies.

Note: To serve its readers better, Chicago has migrated its comments to Disqus, a popular commenting platform. Please feel free to contact us with any feedback.