Saturday, July 14, 2012

Let the Blogging Begin! I am. I'm starting a blog! I'm becoming a member of the "blogosphere." Of the "world of blogs." Perhaps typically of most people, I read a lot of other people's blogs, but never blogged myself. I read "Five-Thirty-Eight", now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the NY Times, almost everyday during the 2008 presidential election. I read Talking Points Memo almost every day on the hour to get the latest updates. I read blogs on gay issues, food, wine, music, magazines, etc. (links for the ones I like the most you will find to the side). Even my brother has had a blog for years.

But I never blogged myself. So, why have I moved from the passive consumer of information to being an active producer? Well, it's mainly due to the fact that I once was a producer of information for a long time in a different environment--in the ivory tower. I spent most of my waking hours--ok, not all of them..I did have to make time to watch Community and due other wasteful things with my time--trying to produce knowledge. As an academic, my job was to produce knowledge that was meant to be serious and peer-reviewed. The knowledge/information I produced was intended for a limited audience, but still hopefully made a significant contribution, whether an article or a book. After trying to refine one more sentence in a 4000-word essay that would be published in a low-ranking journal to have one more line on my CV, I was too exhausted to share my thoughts elsewhere. And too afraid, for whatever reason.

And, somewhat painfully, reluctantly, and a little too late in my life than I would have liked, I learned and eventually acknowledged that I wasn't very good at it. I didn't publish, so I perished. But, as a very good friend of mine pointed out some time ago, failure can be the best thing for us. Yes, I know it's sometimes hard to acknowledge, but it can lead you to reevaluate and point you in a new direction that will be successful. And that new journey has begun.

You see, I still want to produce! You see, I'm now a consultant at a small firm "on the Peninsula," and this new lifestyle, of working 9-5 in an office outside my home, temporarily, has given me the breathing room and eagerness to re-engage the world on my terms. I still love to discuss politics, social change, economics, art, and the latest fashion trend featured in Bill Cunningham's style column. And I've been known as a loud-mouth. I seem to be a gregarious person. Ready to share my opinion about anything, even if it was totally uninformed or absurd, and I even made up facts to support those opinions until I was called on my bullshit. But I quickly realized that the number of people in my social circle who wanted to hear my rants were getting a little tired of hearing my booming voice disturb them as they sipped their pinots. And I wanted a bigger audience. I would still get frustrated by the latest column I read by that insufferable David Brooks, laugh at the latest snarky posting on Wonkette, or discuss the latest fuck-up by the Obama administration. And I needed to share those thoughts with SOMEBODY besides my over-annoyed loved ones.

I want to put in my own ten, fifteen, 50 cents on an issue. I wanted to give you my thoughts and observations based on what I've learned over the years. Perhaps dig up a few political science references as I give you my thoughts on the relationship between unemployment and presidential elections. Why the euro is collapsing. And why New York State cannot produce a good red wine. Full stop.

I don't want to lie and say I don't have a hidden agenda here. I would love to get noticed by Ariana, Rachel or Bill. I would love to appear someday on those political talk shows and shove George Will's bow-tie down his throat. Maybe this blog will lead to an occasional column for the New Republic. Or will get highlighted by DailyKos. Even a little ch-ching for some new bling-bling would help. But, in the meantime, this is a place for me to make casual observations about what I think are either important or trivial items that enter the news or our collective social consciousnesses.

And to get feedback from you. Sure, I don't have to worry about peers reviewing me here. I don't have to worry about ridiculous editors. But it would be nice to get your comments. To start a dialogue structured by ME. Hopefully, there won't be too many crazies putting their comments here. And hopefully they won't all be from academia--grad students cooped up in their sterile offices or hunched over their coffee-stained keyboards just waiting to escape the drudgery of writing another dissertation chapter so they can start earning something like a real living.

DISCLAIMER: What follows in future posts are just my own brief thoughts and comments on recent events. It won't be limited to politics, but you'll see that it has a political focus. It will occasionally drift towards economics (which I don't pretend to be an expert about), society, music and even what makes a good pinot (see a theme?). So everything is up for grabs. What this blog won't be is a long rant about the ivory tower, the academic profession, the tenure track system, and its acolytes. Why? Because, as my therapist said too many times (and actually had to pay a lot of money to hear), the past is the past. No sense having regrets. Don't worry. I will be posting items regarding my contempt and sense of betrayal by the profession in future posts. But this blog is about the FUTURE!

So, I'm here, I'm queer, and starting another damn blog I hope you'll read before watching another re-run of Law and Order or to distract yourself again from the fifth version of that article for that obscure journal you know no one reads. Hopefully, I get a few more hits than that one too.

TECHNICAL NOTE: I'm still figuring out this whole linking, tweeting, tumblr, reddit, and other social media fads. I'm WAY behind the times. The relative technical sophistication of my blog will improve over time as I get used to using the inter-webs and learning how to put all of these tubes together.

And, yes, my posting will be far shorter than this lengthy monologue was.

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