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Rift Magazine Interview

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Starting a blog or website is a process and usually a tedious task of getting to know how web blog programs and the internet works. After you get that all figured out, then you have keep adding content and then get people to read that content.

Chris DeLine has went through that process and his website/blog Culture Bully has garnered some attention and high internet traffic. As you read below, success in the blog world is sort of a fleeting moneyless endeavor, but like Rift, me and DeLine have found the personal relationships and occasional pat on the back seem to get us through the night.

Rift: Why and when did you start CultureBully.com?

Chris DeLine: The first blog I had was back in 2004, and I lost interest with it almost immediately. I can’t remember what it as called, but I think it was more of a personal blog… dealing with “life.” Around that time, probably in SPIN or something, I had read a list the best music blogs – Stereogum being tops of the pops.

Somewhere along the way, one of my friends had taken an interest in the “finer things in life,” movies and music that were slightly beyond the comprehension and taste of the average consumer. Or so he thought. The idea that you have a better understanding of what life is about because you “get” Sports Night was and is ridiculous to me… in some drunken conversation with friends one night I called him a culture bully jokingly… the name kind of stuck. Shortly thereafter I started the blog, trying to steal some of that sweet thunder Stereogum had… problem was, there were about forty thousand other sites just like mine, and the vast majority were better.

Rift: What has been the best part about doing Culture Bully?

Chris DeLine: I just finished a small project on the site where I worked with some friends from a half dozen countries around the world. A good portion of my real-life friendships stem from relationships that were first built via connecting with people online. The rare occasion that I get to go on trips, I know that I’ll have at least one person I can connect with because of the blog. Recently I met some guys in person who I had talked to sporadically online for a couple years.

I’m now but one of a handful of contributors on the site, and they’re all great guys who I’m honored to have met. Ridiculously, one of the first people I ever interviewed was Gary Numan. I can be honest in saying that I’ve played phone-tag with Todd Evans, formerly Beefcake the Mighty of GWAR. So, I’d have to say that the people I continue to meet is the best part about doing Culture Bully. Though the babes are pretty sweet, too.

Rift: What is your background and why are you qualified to run your site?

Chris DeLine: I’m severely under-qualified to do most things in my life, let alone anything having to do with writing.

I’m a poor writer (let alone editor, I won’t even get started with that), and occasionally commentors will call me out on it (pretty much any time I actually try to write something, actually). I’d like to try to explain to them that while growing up, my parents thought I was mildly retarded because one of my worst classes in school was language arts, but it’s easier just to correct my mistakes, try to learn something from them, and move on.

As a freshman in college, I dug A.F.I, when I was in high school I was a fan of nu-metal, and through most of my formative years 311 was my favorite band.

Combine a lack of journalistic know-how with a fairly bland, generic taste in music and you get me. How that evolved into anything… probably just dumb luck.

Rift: Is Culture Bully a full time thing, or is it a full time thing with another full time thing that actually pays?

Chris DeLine: I’m kind of starting over with life right now, trying to figure out what I want to do with it – and I figured that at the age of 25, why not? (Read: I’m homeless, unemployed, and confused.) Working on turning this into “something,” but who knows what’ll happen. In the past ten years I’ve been a chef’s apprentice, a receptionist, a teacher’s aid, a retail manager, a warehouse worker, a delivery assistant and a customer service rep… but I’m having more fun now that I’m struggling to make anything work in life than I can ever remember having before.

Rift: How come Culture Bully has a better web rating and more web traffic the this site? (I need some advice on how to get more people to my site)

Chris DeLine: I know a guy who knows a guy.

Rift: Do you have a favorite of all the local sites and blogs? Why is it your favorite?

Chris DeLine: You mean besides Rift, Culture Bully and City Pages’ Gimme Noise blog, which has a daily Gimme News feature that details the local goings-on in local music and forecasts the best of the day’s local concerts?

I dig Taylor Carik’s stuff at Mediation, the things that man does with verbs… delicious.

Rift: Any rants, opinions or good things to say about anything else?

CD: I watched The Wrestler last night, the new Mickey Rourke movie… man, that thing ate me up inside. I used to watch some of that extreme wrestling stuff, and was pretty aware of the ultra-violence involved, but there are a few scenes there that made me cringe. I’m a crier, but I don’t cringe – so the movie apparently triggered something inside of me there. The main point that touched me was the loneliness that Rourke’s character battled. There are moments where he’s happy, downright giddy sometimes, but overall he was a sad person. Then relating that role to Rourke’s personal life, his troubled bouts… I sat up last night until almost four in the morning, just thinking about the movie, and life, and the year. It’s been a long year.

[This article was originally published by Rift Magazine.]