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Wednesday, January 27, 2010 

Crap.

These last few days I haven't really known what to write about - nothing that unusual, some days I don't, and only settle on something after browsing the blogs to the right or punishing myself by reading the tabloids. More out of character though is that after that I've still had to push myself to get something down, and the post on Monday I re-wrote a number of times and I'm still not even approaching semi-satisfied with it. Running out of things to say, when news hasn't exactly been slow, is probably a blogger's nightmare, although it hasn't stopped me before, ho ho ho.

I'm going through one of those faux-existential or crisis of confidence (confidence, hah, that's a joke on its own) moments that fog my mind every so often - not just is there any point to this, but whether there's any real point to anything at all. I've managed to convince myself in the past that there is, otherwise surely, as pointed out, I wouldn't have been spouting this constant stream of bilge for approaching 5 years. Increasingly though, I wonder whether I'm right. And the more I think about it, the more I'm certain I'm not.

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There's nothing wrong with wondering whether what you think's right. Seems like a lot of similar bloggers are having similar thoughts (about them, not you!) at the moment, too...

Seconded. Nuts to being right - personally I find it much more important to process inchoate thoughts by writing them down, than being proved correct. Don't be afraid of having a hiatus, but your stuff is solid man, have confidence in in.

Thirded. It really depends how you look at it.

In some ways we should feel cheated that we've had centuries of human endeavour, and yet still nobody has done for the study of politics or society what (say) Newton or Einstein did for science. In fact, I'd like to bet that there are more statues of Dickie Bird (one) than there are of any social scientist who's lived in the same period.

This is because many of our beliefs are untestable, so truths are difficult - sometimes impossible - to set in stone. Really, all the best of us ever manage to achieve on our best days is helping push a boulder just a little bit further up a steep hill.

But that doesn't mean that the act of writing about this is a pointless endeavour, providing you feel like you're getting something out of it. I keep writing because I enjoy it and want to be good at it, but also because I know that the process of writing will make me think new things, consider new ideas and unheard arguments, learn about new topics or developments, and interact with people who think differently from me. I find all of that genuinely rewarding, and it's the reason why my blog's been going for longer than I ever expected.

I know for a fact that I'm not the only blogger/reader who's been astonished by the quantity and quality of the posts churned out in this part of the internet. At your most prolific you can churn out as many of 10 posts a week, but more impressively, these posts vary in content & tone: you're neither a one-trick rage monkey nor a dispassionate wonk. You manage to combine a rather lawyerly way of arguing with a compassion for others and a dry/dark humour. That ain't easy to pull off.

But this blog's also a philanthropic exercise; the only pay you receive is kind words and hyperlinks, and that’s only a currency you can cash in on the internet. You shouldn’t feel an obligation to post every day, or even every other day, and certainly shouldn’t have to apologise for it. If there’s something you require more time to think or write about, then do take that time; we’ll still be around to read it. If you feel like you’re writing because you have to rather than because you want to, the gratification you get out of it will be diminished and sometimes even non-existent.

And I’ll stop there, before my transformation into a bloody self-help guru is complete!

Ha! At least you've managed five years! I started a blog and ran out of puff after the first post :)

I have quite a turnover when it comes to subscribing and unsubscribing to blogs. There's very few blogs I stick with for very long. Yours is one of the few I've stayed with so I hope you keep it up.

No pressure, no problem.

I blogged until my 50th post. About that time I ran out of anger, and shortly after it dawned on me that I Didn't Have To Do It.

Also Amen to Neil's 4th paragraph.

Call me a young cynic, but I'm fairly sure blogging is an excersise is telling people what they already want to hear. People read stories so they can have their interior monologue hijacked for a while. I'm pretty sure people read blogs for the same reason. It's a golden age of writing, but when it comes to politics, readers gravitate to opinion pieces they already agree with.

Because of the nature of reading, having your own interior monologue spout off about something you plainly don't agree with can be an intensely discomforting experience. Opinionated people who read opinion blogs take the substance of their favourite writers (Who they consistently agree with) and echo it in face-to-face conversations/debates, where the person honking on with the opposing viewpoint remains The Other, Someone Else, and the words they speak are recieved information, along with body language and their clothes, etc etc etc.

Because of this, writing a blog to change anybodies mind is pretty much an excersise in futility. It's more a way of being a textual radio station for people to tune in and out of for as long as their opinions chime with yours. This may make writing one seem pretty pointless, but on the flipside they also tune in for the insight and wisdom their blogroll provides them with. Regular blogreaders, I'm sure, become more refined and enlightened politically - Because so much of their own thoughts are from a blend of political commentators using their interior monologues for a hour or so everyday.

This comment was produced using insights gained from:

Generation A
Douglas Coupland
Random House Canada.

Pavlov's Cat, over and out

When I don't find anything stimulating in the MSM, I go further afield in search for something.

I feel embarrassed writing crap like this and then churning out the latest post. Is there any point to anything at all? Well, it seems so, as long it involves the left. Sigh.

I do feel an obligation to post every day, at least something, however crappy. Strangely, it's some days where I've had the most time when I actually fail to put anything substantial together, whereas when I'm in late when it comes together. Maybe it's down to giving something back which I don't feel that I do otherwise, even if it is in strained, turgid prose. Have I ever got anything out of blogging, I mean really? Originally, I hoped it might lead somewhere in the jobs market, but that seems further and further away. And besides, do I actually want to claim this as my own? Does ranting at the tabloids impress anyone other than people who also howl at the moon and complain when it's raining? Do I just keep doing it in the belief that someone, somewhere might be reading?

I don't believe for a second that I'm going to convince anyone to change their minds when it comes to voting or on a major issue of policy; I do though keep going in the belief that someone might read something and say hey, that smells like bullshit, does a search and hey, I say it's bullshit too, and I know some people have done that, which is comforting. Is that worth all the effort though? I'm not so sure any more.

I'm going to keep on keepin' on for the moment, so don't worry. And again, thanks for all the beyond kind comments. If I've kept it up for almost 5 years I may as well push for the round figure anyway...

Put it this way - when I first found your blog, can't remember which post it was now, but my first thought was "Fuck me - a British Driftglass!". Not in the sense of covering the same spectrum, but the same level of incisiveness and razor-sharp focused angst, with a wit to match.

At the end of the day all this shit isn't about the amount of change you can effect with your writing, but giving people like us the sense that we're not alone - that the ubiquitous media-driven right-wing nastiness that undermines everything that's good about dear old Blighty. Even when the inspiration doesn't come it's good to know that there are others out there that feel the same way, that are continuing to fight the internal despair and articulate the things that would have us screaming at the top of our lungs if we weren't all mostly living lives of quiet desperation trying to get the rent paid, let alone make something of ourselves.

I'm still in the "casting out feelers" stage of blogging - which has been curtailed by a cancer diagnosis in November which has sapped all of my energy for the last three months (All indications are that it's beaten and I'm on the mend - so dinnae fret).

We need you - we need each other. And as dark as it will get (and I fear it's going to get very dark at times), we have to belive it can be fixed.

Sorry - should be "that the ubiquitous media-driven right-wing nastiness that undermines everything that's good about dear old Blighty is not just blindly accepted."

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