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.