Traffic Report No. 04

Posted: February 25, 2010 in Blogosphere

My blogging pace has dropped off dramatically over the past few months, though my commenting at other blogs has picked up. Those comments often direct a few readers back here, but visitors don’t appear to stay and certainly don’t comment. My hope that four years’ worth of blogging might lead a curious few to investigate my archive has proven vain. But oh, well. I don’t want too much attention anyway. Skyscrapers and The Boneyard continue to drive the most traffic, the last spiking unexpectedly in the past few days. I updated the appearance a bit to add voting/rating to the interface, which is a nice WordPress feature. As expected, no one votes. (Nor do I at other sites.) I tried one of those pointless polls at one point and also got no input.

The principal reason my posts are appearing with greater infrequency is that I’m always processing, processing, processing, which is to say, considering and developing ideas but only rarely putting them satisfactorily to bed in a blog post. Some new idea or bit of information always comes up that I want to incorporate, which takes time, which delays my pushing the publish button long enough for the original impetus to blog to have withered on the vine. I’ve also been struggling with too much first-person blogging and a creeping sense of fatalism. Other bloggers have characterized their blogging activity as speaking/writing to a silent audience or into a vacuum, which while better than an echo chamber still threatens to undermine the whole endeavor. But considering how this blog is for my own working out of ideas, feedback is welcome but not truly necessary.

If a central concern can be found among my diverse blog topics, it might be social justice. With all the whining I do, there is no secret that I believe social justice is fundamentally missing in modern life, not that I mistake it ever having been the norm in the past. I tend to view the problem of social justice through the microcosm of the school playground. Everyone is familiar with the usual players: the bully, the picked on, the watcher, and the righteous defender. The bullies attract most of the attention and are typically the psychopaths who become the cool clique and the criminals later in life. The picked on are the losers and disenfranchised who are tormented by the bullies and who later become either the technonerds or the oppressed underclass. The watchers are most of the rest of us who stand idly by and don’t participate much, happy to avoid the bullies’ attention. And the defenders are the few who belief idealistically in a better way and are willing to work and/or fight for it, sometimes at personal sacrifice. No doubt there are those who cross or sit astride categories. I drift between being a defender and a watcher. The real heartbreak for me is when the defender achieves some success and notoriety and transitions to being a bully. That personal story is commonplace in politics.

  1. It might be inevitable that the righteous defender becomes a bully unless he or she sometimes stands back and watches. And yet, some injustices are so egregious that I think they warrant bullying.

  2. Hey Brutus: As you probably can tell from my blog, I think the joy of blogging is that you can lay down a thought, however half-baked, then elaborate on it like a theme in a piece of music.

    As for social justice: I have trouble even with the phrase. Justice, strictly defined, is meant to be a legal relation. Broadly defined, it’s an ideal, like brotherly love: something we aspire to but will never attain.

    The problem for me isn’t the bully in the schoolyard, but when bullies take over the powerful structure of a modern state. Courage becomes a virtue because it prevents the latter (and, incidentally, the former). But there are places in the world where bullyism still rules – whole populations which are at the mercy of one nasty character.

    Anyway, that’s my concern.

  3. Brutus says:

    Thanks for your comments, Kathleen and VM. I hesitated (briefly) throwing out my notion of schoolyard social justice. The advantage of simplifying things to the level of grammar school is that the right or wrong of something is immediately apparent to everyone except the bullies, who get away with whatever they can out of sheer malevolence. Adult notions of justice are typically far more subtle, which ironically means that justice gets lost in the details. So VM, applying an overmodulated philosophical definition risks ruining the plainness and wholeness of the concept, sort of like the barstool wisdom of the previous post.

  4. Like vulgarmorality, I too have a problem with the concept of justice. Legal justice is worse than a travesty because so many people believe it’s possible. In a world where some people have privileges others never will, justice cannot exist, no matter how an institutionalized system splits its own hairs.

  5. Sam says:

    People are reading and digesting your posts. Don’t stop writing. I’m using your blog as the topic of a style study for AP Language and Composition. Thank you for this body of stylish work.

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