Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

This won’t be the type of return that all of you, who have so enjoyed my political commentary, might expect. I am not here to save the day and speak out with more bombastic rhetoric and be the sole voice of reason in this mess. I am not going to continue with political commentary as it once existed on this blog: this time, it will be more theoretical and will not stick with the shallow dealings of the now, the now being the day’s events. It will be broader in scope, but it will come across here less frequently than before – my writing will consist of other subjects. Before, my commentary followed a formula of “find news story, give angry opinion on it, find news story…” ad nauseum. That’s over.

But, perhaps, I shall tell you, readers, how this exile came about. Following the week of Thanksgiving, I decided to stop reading the news for a week, and, as such, stop blogging.

The results of that week? I felt absolutely liberated and my mood felt fantastic. My mind wasn’t channeling any of its usual negative energy – energy, it turns out, it picked up from paying too much attention to the media. By unplugging myself from the Matrix, I felt substantially better, simply because my mind was focused on things other than the dealings of the corrupt. I was no longer filled with anger, and I was starting to be more positive in all parts of my life. I just felt, if I haven’t made it clearly enough already, better.

Of course, after a couple weeks, I had a desire to know what the hell was going on in the world, so I started to slowly plug myself back into the Matrix. But here’s the catch: I didn’t have any reaction to the news – I read it and that was that. Well, maybe that’s a lie: I did have a reaction, but it was subdued and what I expected based on my ideology. Now, in reading the news, I have a “default” reaction to the article based on my political opinion: liberty = good, tight restrictions = bad. It’s ironic, since I started this out as a bit of a lefty. Now I’m more in the vein of a libertarian. And I’m sure the latter is my “true” view – as it was only obtained by my own thought and investigation, not via the view espoused and endorsed by the Matrix. But I digress.

At this point, my confidence was rising, and I was reading the news without any repercussions to my mental health, and life was good.

And then the ice storm came. Yes, the one you’ve been hearing about in the news (link here). I live in the worst affected part of Massachusetts, and lost all power for 9 days, losing it for brief periods 3 times afterwards. The temperature in my house dropped to below 40 degrees (that’s Fahrenheit). I was cold, didn’t have school, and read just about all day. More importantly, I learned to value the modern conveniences we take for granted – light and heat, namely. And, I was forced to totally unplug myself from the Matrix (if you’re wondering why I keep making annoying Matrix references, you’ll see in my material later. Promise).

Yeah, I suffered quite a bit during that period, but it finalized the burning of the bridge between me and the rest of the crazed world. How about that. In the aftermath of the storm, I read more, worked out more, was better at everything I committed myself to doing, was fitter, happier, and more productive (anyone who catches that reference is awesome, by the way). I wasn’t negative, but I didn’t transform into the grating optimist I hate so much. I was the same person, yet was… better. Again: fitter, happier, and more productive. Life was good. And yet, I’m here, plugging myself back in. “Why?” you ask, “Why bother coming back here after becoming a happier individual because of your absence from this place?”

And now, men and women of the jury, we get to the heart of the matter. During this period of feeling good, I still felt like there was something missing, and, with increased availability of technology, I was slowly lapsing into my previous, boring life, complete with hours spent looking up trivial information (though, not quite news) on the internet (no, not pr0n you idiots!). Allow me to digress, though I will be getting to the middle of this all.

Before, I found that I was reading articles by anarchists, libertarians, authoritarians, Trotskyites, classic liberals (what I consider myself to be), socialists, Communists, and everything in-between and I managed to agree with all of them, because all they were doing was criticizing the system. I didn’t agree with, however, their remedy to the situation; I only agreed with their diagnosis of the problem. I managed to, for a brief period of time, share in their disdain of the system. Turns out I was well on the path to the Dark Side… Remember, Yoda said:

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

And I didn’t want to suffer. My posts were so filled with negative energy that it dragged me down, and, ultimately, made me an unsuccessful blogger, because I did nothing but offer negativity. To my credit, there’s nothing I could’ve really done to improve the situation, since I called for real change (and no, not the kind that Obama’s offering), and there’s no way that my kind of change would be implemented just by me blogging about injustice in the world.

On that same note, insanity is defined as (by me, at least) “doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. I kept posting about politics and it didn’t do anything for me or for my readers. I wasn’t offering them anything valuable; my posts were like a sledgehammer of negativity, which crushed all the value that might have been contained in my post. I wasn’t helping anyone do anything – I, again, was just hitting them over the head over and over with the message “THE SYSTEM SUCKS”. And, really, it did nothing. It made me feel worse.

During this whole exile, I came to the conclusion that although the System sucked (not to be confused with the Matrix), there was nothing I could do at all to change it. That’s a scary thought (says my past self), but, I woke up and smelled the sweet smell of coffee in the morning and realized, again, that I truly could not change anything (at least, with the means I was using before). And then, I did what I thought I couldn’t do before: I let go. I let go of all feelings of the System because I knew there was not going to be a single representative to be elected in this country that would be someone I would have no qualms about supporting. And, astonishingly, it was okay with me. I am still an impassioned arguer on the behalf of my political ideology, but only if the argument comes up during a conversation; I will not create a political argument for the sake of doing so. I was just so exhausted from arguing for it before that I chilled out and stopped bringing politics into the mix unless someone else did because it was destroying me from the inside out.

And, back to why I’m here: I need to write. I need to do something fulfilling, something to be proud of, something to keep me sane while I’m not reading or working out. I need to return to the blogosphere and just network with you guys again. Except, this time, I’ll enjoy it, instead of just focusing on getting my blaring, hopeless message out to the world. And you guys will benefit from that the most.

I’ll write commentary from time to time, but only to talk theory. No current events stuff, and I’ll certainly be writing more about what I’ve been reading as well as shifting the concentration things like self-improvement and personal philosophy, with (HOPEFULLY) fiction making regular appearances.

So, dear readers, I’m back and better than ever.

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Looking ’round the blogosphere, I’ve observed that just about everyone and their brother is talking about the election, since it’s election day in this country. Don’t follow suit.

Why, you ask?

1. Everyone Else is Doing It

This one is self-explanatory – the more people are doing something, the less interesting it becomes. And you don’t want to be like everyone else, do you? I mean, look at what mass movements have done before: Nazism. The Bolshevik Revolution. The Spanish Inquisition. The Crusades. Al-Qaeda. The list goes on and on. When you see the masses move in one direction, you should immediately swing in the other, and this case is no different.

2. Other People Get Paid To Do It

There are tons of people working for various mainstream news networks that are actually being paid to cover the election. This means that they’re professionals. And, if they’re professionals, they’re definitely going to put their heart and souls into their work (that is, if journalism’s even alive). These professionals are going to blow anything an amateur like yourself is going to write out of the water. They possess superior writing skills and far better resources, while you have nothing to do but quote their reports for their data and their opinion. Plus, they’re much, much better looking than you. And you know how the masses flock to those who look good – just look at Sarah Palin! Or Britney (Spears)! Or anyone else!

3. You Have Better Things To Do

Go outside (no, don’t vote) and have fun. Read a book. Play cards with your friends (though, if you’re a blogger, you don’t have friends) and family. Talk with your kids. Eat some ice cream. Have sex. Do SOMETHING other than waste your time covering the election on your blog. Just have fun doing anything at all will be a nice change of pace while your stupid coworkers are holding election parties. Yes, it may seem super-important to you that you cover this (apparently) historic election and get your voice heard on the internet, but, really…

4. No One Cares

You’re one of those people whose heart leaps every time he gets 10 views on his blog, thinking that all those articles you read over at Copyblogger helped you reap 50% gains in traffic. You use Google Analytics to track all of your 4 unique viewers in a day, desperately trying to find ways to attract more people to your site. You think those 4 visitors (who barely found you using a Google search) really give two shits what you think about the election? Do you think that they’ll actually pay attention to your pitiful, whiny attempts at liveblogging? No! Of course not!

4.5. The Election’s Over Anyways

Bow down to the DRE-700!

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One story, or two rather, get the honors in today’s GBI:

Good, Bad, and Insightful

Nicholas Sarkozy better watch out: he’s got voodoo dolls of him in France. FP Passport reports:

Nicholas Sarkozy has no trouble laying the smack down on Somali pirates, but it seems his coat of armor is a wee bit thin when he’s the brunt of a joke. A voodoo doll, bright blue and crafted in his image, has the French president throwing a tantrum.

The doll, put out by K&B publishing company earlier this month, comes complete with a set of pins and a voodoo manual that instructs users how to cast a spell. The doll’s body is decorated with quotes of Sarkozy’s most unpopular quips. Across the doll’s pelvic area is the word “scum”, the term which sparked much controversy when he used it to describe suburban youth shortly before riots broke out in 2005.

Sarkozy’s lawyer, Thierry Herzog, has threatened to sue K&B and insisted the 20,000 dolls be removed from the shelves. “Nicolas Sarkozy has charged me with reminding you that he commands an exclusive and absolute right over his image,” Thierry said. “Regardless of his status and fame.”

And the Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi has a post that links the exposure of Sarah Palin’s $150,000 wardrobe, and yes, that’s the correct figure. $150,000.

Today was excellent.

The Good

The New York Times’ The Caucus points out that Joe the Plumber isn’t even a licensed plumber.

The Edge of the American West has the election picture to end all election pictures. Check it out.

The Independent’s blog Open House has a nice post on the 10th anniversary of Augusto Pinochet’s arrest.

The New York Times’ blog Campaign Stops has an excellent discourse about the disconcerting lack of issue coverage during the election.

The Economist’s blog Democracy in America has found that McCain has a tell.

The Bad

After finding out that Joe the plumber isn’t licensed, Matt Yglesias says, “Who cares?”

It seems that Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber,” may not be a licensed plumber. Which to me once again raises the issue of whether or not it really serves the public interest to have so many occupational licensing rules. Like most people, if I needed to hire a plumber, I’d probably look for a recommendation. I don’t have any real confidence that these licensing schemes are tracking quality in any meaningful way, just preventing a certain number of people from earning a living and raising the general cost of plumbing services for everyone else.

The Insightful

Stanley Crouch writes succinctly how Obama won the debate. The whole damn thing’s a money quote:

Had Barack Obama had MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow as trainers, he would have put up a more entertaining fight last night. Neither pretends to be objective; their criticism and satire of John McCain are so effective because they are backed by the cold steel of hard facts, so many of which perforate McCain’s claims and his campaign’s advertisements. Devastation born of actuality.

Initially, I thought Obama needed more snap in his jabs but he, perhaps in a slow and naturally easy way, left McCain the bloodier. Unlike his opponent, he didn’t go for a knockout or a knock down. There seemed confidence in letting the points build up.

So however dull Obama initially seemed, he slowly slowly wove an invisible web of authority and pulled into it some of McCain’s accusations as though they were equal in irritation to flies but no more important. By the end something truly unexpected happened: of the two men, Obama came to seem older.

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Today’s good, bad, and insightful:

The Good

The New Yorker’s Hendrik Hertzberg has a great post up about the voter-fraud fraud surrounding ACORN.

The Economist’s blog Democracy in America has a thought provoking post on whether Ayers is the “right” kind of terrorist; maybe we want all of the radical Islamists to become washed up like him.

Though the story isn’t exactly positive, McClatchy reports that trouble is brewing in Pakistan.

The Bad

Donklephant linked Dick Morris’s atrocious electoral predictions.

The Insightful

Sidney Blumenthal had an excellent post on the Daily Beast today. Money quote:

Hardly anybody within the Republican Party trusts him—not the White House, not Bush’s close allies, not business, not evangelicals, not conservatives generally. As a presidential candidate, whenever McCain’s alienation from his party is threatened, he desperately runs to embrace the conservative wing by doing something, almost anything to satisfy it. Many of McCain’s shifts have been necessary to allay the right’s long-held and well-founded suspicions of his betrayals. Every time McCain moves to his right, it is because he’s not trusted within his own party. Every time he swivels away from the right, the mistrust between McCain and Republicans signals a larger collapse of ideology.

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