Wednesday, December 08, 2004


This Is Not a Blog (for a minute) the power vested in Me
Originally uploaded by jonnybutter.

A Note to my vast readership:

This blog is going on a de facto sabbatical. It will reemerge in a few weeks with a new look and a new focus. It was always supposed to have been about 'politics AND culture in the days of Bush the Younger', but has actually been mostly about politics - an understandable skew in the throes of an election. Now that our Prom Plebiscite (gee, do I sound cynical?) is past, and my head is no longer in so much danger of blowing up all at once, it's finally clear to me that many other fine blogs (and of course, even some traditional news sources) are, and always were, quite sufficient to the political situation; and that my little venue is now, frankly, about as useful - to me or anyone else - as fur on a teacup, eyes on a violin, etc.

Unlike many of the best bloggers, I am not a lawyer, economist, or formal political scientist. I will contend to my dying day that one needn't necessarily be nominally any of those things to be able to formulate an intelligent, informed opinion or argument about those subjects - in fact, I think the fate of the Republic hangs on the ability of ordinary citizens to synthesize complex facts and ideas outside their vocational purview. I further insist that 'certification' (in the form of degrees) is wildly overestimated in our culture. Indeed, specialization can often be a curse. BUT... the aforementioned best-bloggers can and DO help the rest of us to understand the disciplines they know best, and god bless 'em for it.

My speciality, such as it is, is what could loosely be called 'culture', so I'll approach my criticism in the future mostly from that general direction. I'll probably do a lot of movie and television reviews, and the like - not usually with the presumption of 'advising' you to see or not-see something, but as my preferred way to insinuate myself into the conversation. I've got pages and pages of notes about 'values', which spurted out of me after November 2nd. Rather than splatter that material in its raw form onto this space, I've decided to try to bake those thoughts into something a little more easily digestible, a little more of a cuisine approach.

Ours is a seriously ill culture in many ways. The hordes on the Right are hardly wrong for feeling such tremendous anxiety. However, many of them have also rashly called for a Culture War - what I see as a painfully obvious object-lesson of the old adage about being careful about what you wish for. If it's not yet clear that they've 'lost' it already, it soon will be. A call for 'war' is itself a pretty sure sign of failure, but it will presently be made manifest; as the silly, and strangely politically-androgynous catch-phrase of the just-past political season had it: Bring. It. On. Bush, et. al. will try to moderate the forces they've unleashed, but only sheer luck - partially in the form of exhaustion and complacency on the part of their opponents - will allow them to succeed in any great measure. It's crazy to try to opt out of a war, especially one you will ultimately 'win'. So, here's to engagement, vigor and cultural hygiene. It's long past due, anyway.

I'll be posting again after Christmas. Hope everyone has good holidays and a nice relaxing bit of time off.

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