There are plenty of reasons to read the comment sections of various blogs: to get different points of view on a topic, to spot other bloggers who might be worth reading, and so on. In some cases, the comments on posts are even better than the posts themselves, as bloggers such as Fred Wilson and Mike Arrington (and even me) have noted in the past. And then there are the times when comments take a left turn into the totally bizarre — like, say, the comments on a recent blog post at the website of The Stranger, the alternative weekly newspaper in Seattle.
The first few comments are typical, talking about video games (the topic of the post), and then it appears: a comment that says “The world premiere of Blog Theatre. Please give a warm applause for this evenings production of George Washington.” What follows is the text of what appears to be an absurd play, with different commenters playing roles in the investigation of the death of someone named George Washington, a 12-year-old billionaire drug addict. The comments come one or two a minute until comment number 314, which says the play has reached its halfway point.
According to another post at the site, the exercise is an art project created by a group of “merry art pranksters” called PDL. There are some other examples of their work described here (involving a Starbucks exhibit at a local art park) and here (including a description of The Hideout — a five-year art installation that is also a functioning bar) and also here. Could this be the start of a trend towards hijacking blog comments for artistic purposes? Who knows. On a related note, someone seems to be creating a work of something or other using the comments over at Mike Masnick’s Techdirt blog, but we’re not quite sure whether it’s fiction or not.