Traffic Report No. 08

Posted: October 25, 2012 in Blogosphere

I feel a series of rants coming on. So be warned, you select few readers, that your ears and eyes may well be scorched. Maybe it’s election season coming to full swell, or maybe it’s seasonal affective disorder settling in. Maybe it’s the Mayan apocalypse soon to unfold! Dunno, don’t care. At a time when things seem to be going pretty smoothly for me, it’s odd for my mood to be getting cranky. (OK, even crankier, since I’m always cranky.)

I’m at the midpoint of my sixth year blogging, and my avowed purpose for this blog has always been to work things in my head and share results with the faint hope of sparking some discussion. Everyone learns plenty of things in the course of a lifetime, though as I argued in a comment elsewhere just yesterday, most of those things are not really worth knowing, being the sugary, predigested infobits circulated constantly throughout the dominant culture. In comparison, the connections and insights I offer here at The Spiral Staircase range pretty far to the edge of the map.

There are lots of outliers doing something similar, but they must have more time to crank out daily or weekly installments to meet the demands of their readership. My readership is so tiny that I feel no pressure to publish on a schedule. While each new post picks up a couple new likes from readers unfamiliar to me, and new subscribers often sign up at the same time, discussion and commentary is nearly nonexistent. Daily views hover between 20 and 40 with periodic spikes when a particular keyword search hits (such as vertical drinking), many of which I’m convinced are bots. I even stopped getting spamluv. Considering how some blogs generate hundreds of comments (often attracting trolls) within days of posting, it’s probably a good thing no one is engaging me. My ample comments elsewhere don’t draw much attention, either, since I typically don’t offer effusive praise to bloggers or chime in with the usual recycled commentary so familiar to anyone with any wherewithal.

My blogging focus shifted a few years ago from cultural criticism to The End of the World as We Know It (TEOTWAWKT). That focus isn’t exactly played out yet, but I’ve never been able to keep my attention riveted there, much like one can’t stare at the sun. It’s just too much. So I’m slowly swinging back toward cultural criticism with heavy reliance on inquiries into the nature of cognition and consciousness. I’m also growing more interested in what one might call the cultural mind or the Zeitgeist. Like culture or demographics, it doesn’t exist except as an abstract concept around which to form an understanding of human history. My interest is growing because, as I’m discovering, so many aspects of postmodernism are intuitive expressions of the Zeitgeist, though it takes unusual clarity of mind to recognize them. I will continue to nibble away at it.

  1. javacat says:

    So…where’s the rant? ;-)

    If you’ve kept this up for 6 years, you’ve done far better than most in this endeavor. Hundreds of comments, while good for the ego, don’t confer high quality exchange; indeed, often those abundant replies are worth no more than fist-pounding at the local bar. As for your comments elsewhere: I find that yours are sometimes the only ones I can read because they’re more considered and original, and never contain a YouTube video.

    Zeitgeist…individual and collective. Our culture certainly shapes our perceptions, our interpretations of world, local and personal events–though I would say more those reactions are more conditioned than intuitive. You’re moving into some interesting areas, and I look forward to what comes next.

    • Brutus says:

      Thanks for your comment. The first rant is still percolating. But now I feel pressure to deliver!

      The Zeitgeist is by definition collective, but the question of conditioned or intuitive is odd to me (as with nature vs. nurture). My sense is that expressions of the Zeitgeist are both, at least those that interest me. Making them manifest in our thinking doesn’t change that. For instance, the role of sports as ritualized and acceptable competition and violence is familiar to most — stronger perhaps than its role as mere play and entertainment. Knowing that doesn’t change the underlying blood thirst.

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