From City Lights:

Hal learns to peep and be peeped as research for his forthcoming book

Hey, I’m Hal Niedzviecki. I’m a 37 year-old writer/thinker. I live in Toronto with my wife and two-and-a-half year-old daughter. Up till now I’ve always considered myself a private person. But at the same time I’m fascinated by people who effortlessly open themselves up to the whole world. So I’m going to try it too. I’m starting a blog to tell the world about my private, everyday life. Over the next year or so, the blog is going to chronicle my attempts to become more and more a part of what I’ve started to call “peep culture”.

I’m also going to write a book about it, which City Lights is going to publish in Spring of 2009, called Peep Diaries: How We Learned to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbors. And to help me really understand what it is to have your life turned into someone else’s voyeuristic entertainment, I’ve teamed up with a production company. They’re going to make a documentary about all my various attempts to experience “peep culture”. I’ll be blogging about them too.

You too can peep: visit my blog and check it out for yourself.

Wow, Hal! So, you’re basically going to do what bloggers have been doing for years. Except, oh, you got a book deal out of it. Sweet. I admit, I’m totally jealous. Or, maybe not. I’ve always thought what made the blog interesting is that it’s pretty much a redefinition of the very idea of The Book. Eh?

The other thing: did we not love to watch ourselves and our neighbors before the whole Web 2.0 thing? Haven’t you seen Rear Window? How many New Yorkers have telescopes in their apartments pointed directly across the avenue? And, aren’t small-town/neighborhood “newspapers” all about watching ourselves and our neighbors?

Where I grew up, the local publication was called The Doings. It was generally referred to as “The Droppings” as there wasn’t all that much going on except for hospital luncheon fundraisers and DUI arrests. Here in San Francisco, even The Examiner isn’t a small enough publication for this so-called “peeping”. We have the Nob Hill Gazette and some other Marina-based monthly come in stacks to my apartment building.

Anyway, I’m quite interested to see how historical Hal gets, what makes his blog so special, and of course what new slant he brings to the table. Voyeurism and exhibitionism just don’t seem all that new to me.



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