May 9, 2021



I'm getting back onto the saddle.

New format: a summary upfront and a party in back.


It's time to blow the rust off this weblog.

The wretchedness of the past year wasn't the prime cause of the growing torpor of my activity in this blog. Blogs are an artifact of the first decade of this century. By the middle of the second decade, the idea of social media accelerated into tighter, more restricted formats such as Twitter and Instagram. With the rise of "social media influencer", the idea of celebrity became democratized beyond the 20th century concept of the celebrity. It was another kind of gold rush where everyone felt the pressure to network into the masses inhabiting social media. Face to face social relations became refracted into the screens in our hands. Body language, facial expression, the give and take of conversation was traduced into a pixel processed jpeg plus diminishing lines of text.

Because I had initially resisted the reductive abstraction of communication, I had entered the fray late. It didn't help that I was throwing cold water on the enthusiasm of my friends in this arena by disputing the claims of the authority of social media in the role of self promotion. It was clear to me and there was little I could do to convey this persuasively to others that the people who were successful in social media were either teenagers (girls, specifically) or those who had already garnered their own audience prior to their entry into that realm and thus had enough leverage in the form of social capital to multiply their market of attention. In the first case, sexy youth is a prime driver in all markets and in the latter, the fire that is past the tinder phase can only grow stronger as the logs are added.

There too is also the problem of enslavement. The empires of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have us chained to the oars of their triremes. They buy out their competition (and simultaneously, the upstarts sell out) and corner the marketplace of attention. We slaves think that the service is free and that we are assisted in connecting with our friends... and to be fair, we do but albeit in a diminishing manner.

The rich got richer. Funny, how that happened.

And then came the pandemic and we were thrown all the more into the propulsion of the trireme. Online meetings such as Zoom and Ring have displaced corporeal face to face. Office life has been relocated into the home office. Business attire only has to serve the angles of the camera. At the moment of this writing, New York City suffers 7 million empty square feet of office space. It will be interesting to see how much of this will persist after the world opens up again.


I'm re-engaging this weblog.

A friend echoed others when he gently suggested that keeping track of what I do in this medium is challenging due to my tendency to logorrhea. Spontaneously, I remember the occasional discomfort of friends when I tend to use a vocabulary that's occasionally richer than what is typical. My Filipino grandfather used to boast (he had a big personality) that his command of the english language was superior to most Americans. I feel his gene.

The plan going forward is to have my cake and eat it too. Long form in the extended "click to read more" section and an abstract summary up front. You see, it's easier for me to write as I please with a minimum of edits on the fly. I anticipate that the blogging will be more fluid this way. The problem that grew in the past was an expectation of delivering some kind of finished product and editing takes time. Editing is what real writing is. I don't do enough of it to qualify for the title.I don't think that what I'm doing here is writing of any caliber comparable to the writers that I respect.

New format = abstract + aria.

The thing is, I'm not getting younger. I'll be 65 at the end of this summer. As the grave looms, so does the need to leave more of a trace of myself as I can. A trace that is, beyond the physically persistent existence of an art work, an object that will be tasked with arguing for its' own survival.

Posted by Dennis at May 9, 2021 5:10 PM

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