Monday, September 13, 2010

since some have asked

and since I am still egoist enough to assume that some care-- there are many reasons I could tell you for my stopping, and most of them true, but ultimately it comes down to simply this: I am incapable of writing on the Internet without becoming an asshole. This fact has asserted itself to me again and again. And while I believe the blogosphere is a narrow-minded and vulgar space, there is no excuse for my own vulgarity, my own lack of compassion, my own failure. I have tried reform; I have tried rededication; I have tried genre and tonal shifts. Sooner or later I revert to my hands, this keyboard, and my anger.

This is not to suggest that, somehow, I am not responsible for my own poor behavior. Just the opposite. People can and do speak respectfully on the Internet, although I must tell you that I find a great deal of what passes as the discourse of respect a sham. ("I greatly admire and respect this writer; now here's why he is an imbecile and moral cretin.") Whatever the case, I have proven to myself that I cannot state my political opinions without treating people the way that probity, fairness and the spirit of friendship require. I have to preserve whatever little dignity I can through exile, as I have been unable to preserve it through restraint.

You should also not take this as a repudiation or even skepticism towards my own convictions. In fact, it is precisely because I find the general tenor, content and concerns of Internet political debate so deeply and movingly wrong that it becomes more important that I either embody my feelings in my writing or not write at all. Blogospheric debate, like most mass media, is usually at heart disagreement in the committee meetings of the ruling class. This is no excuse for bitterness. What I have found is that, the more I am animated by opinion that I find truly and deeply wrong, the less and less I am capable of entertaining the wild spaces of my mind. My opinions have become pallbearers to my imagination, and that's poverty.

My one regret is my continued conceit that I am, at least, a competent prose stylist, and that this is precious metal in the context of blogs. I hear from young bloggers, sometimes, and my only advice is to tell them, stridently, that blogging is just an ugly term for a kind of writing, and that you write in words. Not in ideas or arguments or facts or opinions but words. But the message is the medium. There's little hope of writing so well that a cramped sorrow becomes something more transcendent. Foolish to try.

I expected quitting blogging would be hard and quitting blog commenting would be easy. This and the last post notwithstanding, the opposite has proven true. I'm working on it. Until then, my only hope for my opinions is that they will reside in the place reserved for unspoken things, and flourish there until I am man enough to pronounce them. Ever yours. Ever yours.

13 comments:

Ian McCullough said...

Freddie, you're very young. The anger you feel now will seem quaint in a few years and I would encourage you to give blogging another try then. You have a talent for short form writing, if not blogging keep writing elsewhere.

Afshin said...

This might sound a bit selfish, but I have come to enjoy reading your writing, whether it be about current political affairs or about some abstract philosophical dilemma that you're working out in your head. You elucidate the many intricacies within the debate with precision and leave behind no stone uncovered. I still find your article, "Not the Moment You Think It Is," the most salient piece describing American cultural politics over the past twenty years. My admiration of your writing is almost envious. And I hope that perhaps you will find a way to harness whatever emotions you get to continue to publish your writing, if not on this blog, then on a more global scale. Thank you for your generosity in sharing your perspective on things.

Erlend Berry said...

That's very sad to hear. I've been a longtime reader of this blog, and I've been checking here on and off for new posts ever since you 'went off the radar.' Obviously I wish you'd reconsider, though, needless to say, my selfish wish to read more of your bloggery conflicts your own personal feelings. I have loved reading this blog and wish you all the best of luck.

Andrew said...

I enjoy your prose; I hope to someday read some long form writing of yours. Take care.

Mysterious Man from the shadows said...

I encourage you to reconsider. Nobody can discuss controversial issues without losing their cool sometimes. The best anyone can do is try to be absolutely honest about why they feel as they do, so that perhaps some measure of understanding may be achieved.

But it's your choice. I only found out about this blog in February, but I've really enjoyed reading it.

Good luck.

juliec said...

I've not actively read your blog before but can relate with what you're saying since I'm simultaneously experiencing this phenomenon. The internet is a sink and, while we clearly see how it turns people into heartless animals, it's shocking to see how it dehumanizes us, the writers. If you're up to anything in nyc, I'll keep a lookout and hope your freed time is fruitful :)

taximeter said...

A good way to avoid commenting is to write your comments, but on the notepad on your computer, or whatever. Like punching a pillow, like screaming at the sea.

paul h. said...

"What I have found is that, the more I am animated by opinion that I find truly and deeply wrong, the less and less I am capable of entertaining the wild spaces of my mind."

This is why I've gone from reading blogs/politics 2-3 hours a day to maybe 10 minutes a day. I can't remember the last time I've commented on a blog (six months maybe?). You have the right idea.

Roque Nuevo said...

Hey there, Freddie,

Remember me? Since you were abusive to me (among others, I now see) I may be part of your history of "becoming an asshole." Not to say I wasn't abusive back.

But if you do remember me as someone to whom you were disrespectful, then quit it. I had fun—even if you are a stubborn man!

I can't believe that you don't have fun with your writing, because you're good at it. This here is worth quoting:

"…you write in words. Not in ideas or arguments or facts or opinions but words. But the message is the medium. There's little hope of writing so well that a cramped sorrow becomes something more transcendent. Foolish to try."

I don't get all of it (I have never understood "the message is the medium" or vice versa). I don't agree with all of it, for example, "foolish to try"). But they are all very good sentences.

Anyhow, can something foolish be fun? What if it can? What if you're just having fun trying to turn "cramped sorrow" into something it's not? That seems like a good enough reason to me to keep doing it.

Thanks for writing this. I knew you had it in you. I think we exchanged a few friendly-like emails one time.

Magento Themes said...

@Afshin, great!... It made good point. It is not kind of selfish. ...:)

Jhon said...

@Afshin, great!... It made good point. It is not kind of selfish. ...:)

- John Devis
Magento Themes

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