Hilary Putnam took up blogging on 29 May of this year. Well, better late than never. He has entitled his weblog Sardonic Comment. He might also have considered It Ain't Obvious What's Obvious, which is a line he uses somewhere.
In 1976, when I delivered the John Locke Lectures at Oxford, I often spent time with Peter Strawson, and one day at lunch he made a remark I have never been able to forget. He said, "Surely half the pleasure of life is sardonic comment on the passing show". This blog is devoted to comments, not all of them sardonic, on the passing philosophical show.
Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora opened her box and a multitude of evils escaped into the world. The blogger, unable to contain his curiosity as to the comments he might receive, opens his combox and a multitude of evils _________________. (You finish the sentence.)
Typepad bloggers were subjected to yet further outages yesterday, outages Typepad claims were caused by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. Every outage an outrage to the 'blogsessive.' Let's hope we don't see a repeat of April's fiasco.
So I managed to snag only 744 pageviews yesterday. But traffic is overall good. 15 May saw a surge of 2298. And a few days ago I passed the 2.5 million pageviews mark. Presently total page views for this third version of MavPhil, commenced on Halloween 2008, stand at 2,503,919.
That averages to 1,235.28 pageviews per day. Total posts including this one: 5098. Total comments: 7018.
This weblog commenced operations on 4 May 2004. I thank you for reading.
My pledge: You will never see advertising on this site. You will never see anything that jumps around in your visual field. I will not beg for money with a 'tip jar.' This is a labor of love and I prize my independence.
I also pledge to continue the fight, day by day, month by month, year by year, against the hate-America, race-baiting, religion-bashing, liberty-destroying, gun-grabbing, lying fascists of the Left. As long as health and eyesight hold out.
I will not pander to anyone, least of all the politically correct.
Philosopher TB writes, "I’m with you, man! I’ve learned a good deal from your blog, and, what’s better, you inspire me to be a better person. I’ve only been following for about a year, but it was a great year of blogging."
TC writes, "Congratulations on celebrating 10 years in the Blog world. It appears that you are attracting and interacting with some first rate minds and providing a great service to the public. I hope that some of your correspondents who are still in the academic world or in other positions in which they might be able to influence people are recommending your page. Congrats again and keep up the great work!"
Image credit. (HT: Bill Keezer) By the way, I am grateful to all my correspondents. Don't take it amiss if I forget to credit you by name. And of course some of you I do not mention by name for your own protection.
If you send me something, but don't want it posted, just say so and I will honor your request. Otherwise, everything you send me is potential blog fodder.
In these "times that try mens' souls" one has to be very careful. But there is also such a thing as civil courage.
Sorry if you couldn't get through at various times over the last few days. The following from the Typepad geeks:
What happened? Beginning Thursday evening, Typepad was hit with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) off and on through today. A DDoS attack is an attempt to make services unavailable . . . . The attack on Typepad was similar to an attack on Basecamp which you can read about here.
I just now happened to click on one of Keith Burgess-Jackson's many Ten Years Ago in This Blog links, having no idea what was on the other end of it, when I pulled up the following:
In your post of 3/31/04 1:22:05 PM, you classify chess as an intellectual contest rather than as a sport, which is a physical contest. You seem to be saying that chess (and checkers) are intellectual contests with no physical, hence no sport, dimension. If this is what you are saying, then I disagree.
Tournament chess, which, like all serious chess, is played with clocks, is extremely demanding physically as well as mentally. Suppose the primary time control is 40 moves in 2 hours, the secondary control is 20 moves in 1 hour, and the tertiary control is 1 hour sudden death. Such a contest could last 8 hours with no adjournment! But even if a game lasts 3-4 hours, the physical demands become considerable. To play well, one must be physically fit and keep oneself supplied with nutrients during the game. Physical training is an essential part of the training regimen for the top players.
So I would say that chess counts as a sport. The Dutch employ the term, Denksport. Besides the sport aspect, it is easily arguable that chess has aspects of an art and a science.
There can be no doubt about it: Chess is the game of kings, and the king of games!
To promote independent thought about ultimates. Philosophy, commentary on the passing scene, and whatever else fuels my fire or rouses my ire. Pages wherein one man pursues his education and works out his intellectual salvation in public. Since 4 May 2004. By William F. Vallicella, Ph.D., Gold Canyon, Arizona, USA. Motto: "Study everything, join nothing." (Paul Brunton) Latin Motto: Omnia mea mecum porto. Turkish motto: Yol bilen kervana katilmaz. (He who knows the road does not join the caravan.) All material copyrighted.
. . . is 'One Man's Terrorist is Another Man's Freedom Fighter.' And that is probably because Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlanticcited it. So I tell myself that I am having some influence, and doing some good. But even if I had no influence on anyone, the life of the mind would remain for me an end in itself and its own reward.
Why do some journalists use 'lede' instead of 'lead'? I don't know. A lede is "the introductory section of a news story that is intended to entice the reader to read the full story." (Merriam-Webster) The same source claims that the first known use was in 1976. Why the innovation? Just to be cute or 'different'?
Here we read that 'lede' is an invention of linotype romanticists and does not come from the linotype era.
Why do I blog about such a bagatelle? To fix in my memory this word I learned just this morning.
2014 will be a big year for 'tin' website anniversaries, tin being the metal corresponding to tenth anniversaries. Many of us got up and running in 2004. My tenth blogiversary is coming up in May. Today marks Anthony Flood's tenth anniversary. His site, however, is not a weblog.
Flood has been an off-and-on correspondent of mine since the early days of the blogosphere: I believe we first made contact in 2004. I admire him because he "studies everything" as per my masthead motto. As far as I can judge from my eremitic outpost, Tony is a genuine truth seeker, a restless quester who has canvassed many, many positions with an open mind and a willingness to admit errors. (The man was at one time a research assistant for Herbert Aptheker!) Better a perpetual seeker than a premature finder. Here below we are ever on the way: in statu viae. But Flood may be settling down now, in a position wildly divergent from those he occupied hitherto.
Here he marks a decade and comments briefly on the article referenced below.
Because of comments like these, though they are surely not the worst one can find. (I cite them only because my Referral List pointed me to the post to which they are appended.) But they are characteristic. In my experience, to discuss religion with the irreligious and the anti-religious is a sheer waste of time. You may as well discuss logic with the illogical, music with the unmusical, or poetry with the terminally prosaic.
I am regularly surprised by how much garbage Victor Reppert tolerates in his ComBox. He will even allow people to insult him in vile ways. It may be that he is a model of Christian detachment, slow to anger, quick to forgive, tolerant to a fault. It may also be that he doesn't appreciate that to tolerate bad behavior is to invite more of the same. A conservative, I take a harsher line, one more in keeping with the realities of human nature, realities liberals tend to ignore. Conservatism as I espouse and practice it subsumes the classically liberal commitment to toleration. But toleration has limits. In any case, a weblog is private property where no one has free speech rights.
A man's home is his castle, and his blog his cybercastle. Just as I do not tolerate bad behavior in the first, I do not tolerate it in the second. But bloggers are free to run their blogs any way they see fit.
You might think that disallowing comments limits my traffic. Not so. Traffic is better than ever, recently up around 2000 pageviews per diem. Readers I respect tell me that they like my Comments Policy.
To end aphoristically:
The best arguments against an open combox are the contents of one.
A politically motivated, decades-long war on expertise has eroded the popular consensus on a wide variety of scientifically validated topics. Everything, from evolution to the origins of climate change, is mistakenly up for grabs again. Scientific certainty is just another thing for two people to "debate" on television. And because comments sections tend to be a grotesque reflection of the media culture surrounding them, the cynical work of undermining bedrock scientific doctrine is now being done beneath our own stories, within a website devoted to championing science.
Certainly, not everything is up for grabs, i.e., not everything is a topic of reasonable debate. But it is equally certain that some things are up for grabs, and also certain that what is up for grabs and what is not is up for grabs. (Think about it.)
So while I applaud the closing of the Popular Science combox as the closing of a repository for what in the main is the drivel of cyberpunks and know-nothings, I must express skepticism at the incipient dogmatism and incipient scientism that lurks beneath both the author's words and those of the author of the NYT piece to which he links.
To mention just one item, talk of "scientific certainty" with respect to climate change, its origins, and its effects is certainly unscientific. Natural science is not in the business of generating certainty on any topic, let alone something as difficult to study as climate change.
No gain accrues by replacing religious and political dogmatism with scientistic dogmatism.
To say it again: doubt is the engine of inquiry. Inside of science and out.
Unfortunately, too much of present day 'science' is ideologically-infected. Global warming alarmism is yet another ersatz religion for liberals. See here. Of course, I also condemn those conservatives and libertarians whose knee-jerk rejection of global warming is premised on hostility to any empirical finding that might lead to policies that limit the freedom of the market.
This morning the Typepad version of Maverick Philosopher shot past the two million pageview mark. This, the third main version of MavPhil, commenced operations on 31 October 2008. The first main version took off on 4 May 2004.
To be exact, total pageviews at the moment are 2,000,523. That averages to 1161.74 per day with recent averages well above that. Total posts come to 4433, total comments to 6502.
I thank you for reading.
My pledge: You will never see advertising on this site. You will never see anything that jumps around in your visual field. I will not beg for money with a 'tip jar.' This is a labor of love and I prize my independence.
I also pledge to continue the fight, day by day, month by month, year by year, against the hate-America, race-baiting, religion-bashing, liberty-destroying, fascists of the Left. As long as health and eyesight hold out.
I will not pander to anyone, least of all the politically correct.
Technorati ranksMaverick Philosopher at #185 of 8,735 U.S. politics blogs, and at 476 of 21,024 world politics blogs. For purposes of comparsion, Michelle Malkin sits at #7 of U. S. politics blogs.
Not too shabby. Meanwhile readership approaches two million total pageviews for this, the third major incarnation of MavPhil.
Needless to say, I don't see this blog as primarily about politics. But politics matters like waste disposal matters, and one ought not go quietist, even if one is on balance a quietist, when the world is drowning in a crapload of stupidity, ignorance, and political correctness.
Having retired after decades as an academician in various capacities, both administrative and professorial, at a small college in Massachusetts, I am dedicating the next three decades or so of my life to the fullest exploration possible of all that philosophy has to offer.
Bravo! Wise move. A human life should not be wasted on useless administrivia and teaching the unteachable in an age when so-called universities have forgotten their classical mission and have degenerated into leftist seminaries.
I get mail from people who are in a position to retire but hesitate out of fear of not having enough money. My advice to them is that since death can come without warning, "like a thief in the night," they ought to take the plunge. James Gandolfini died young at 51. When he woke up on the last morning of his life did he think it was to be his last?
The question to ask yourself is this: In what state will death find me? Grubbing for more loot? Or living the best life I can live pursuing the highest ends I am able to pursue?
"The trouble is, you think you have time." (attributed to Buddha)
Today I begin my tenth year as a 'blogosopher.' Traffic is good: rare is the day when the page view count drops below 1200, and there are numerous surge days above 2000. I'm in this game 'for the duration,' as they say: as long as health and eyesight hold out.
In Praise of Blogosophy
Philosophy is primarily an activity, not a body of doctrine. If you were to think of it as a body of doctrine, then you would have to say there is no philosophy, but only philosophies. For there is no one universally recognized body of doctrine called philosophy. The truth of course is one not many. And that is what the philosopher aims at: the one ultimate truth about the ultimate matters, including the ultimate truth about how we ought to live. But aiming at a target and hitting it are two different things. The target is one, but our many arrows have fallen short and in different places. And if you think that your favorite philosopher has hit the target of truth, why can't you convince the rest of us of that?
Disagreement does not of course prove the nonexistence of truth, but it does cast reasonable doubt on all claims to its possession. Philosophy aspires to sound, indeed incontrovertible, doctrine. But the quest for it has proven tough indeed. For all we know it may lie beyond our powers. Not that this gives us reason to abandon the quest. But it does give us reason to be modest and undogmatic.
Philosophy, then, is primarily an activity, a search, a quest. Somewhere deep in the bowels of the Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Kant remarks that "Philosophy cannot be taught, we can at most learn to philosophize." I agree. It cannot be taught because it does not exist as teachable doctrine. Philosophy is not something we profess, except perhaps secondarily; it is something we do. The best professors of philosophy are doers of philosophy. A professor, obviously, need not be a paid professor, an academic functionary.
How then should we do philosophy? Conversation face-to-face with the like-minded, intelligent, and sincere is useful but ephemeral and often hard to arrange. Jetting off to conferences can be fun especially if the venue is exotic and the tab is picked up your department. But reading and listening to papers at conferences is pretty much a waste of time when it comes to actually doing productive philosophy. Can you follow a technical paper simply by listening to it? If you can you're smarter than me.
So we ought to consider the idea that philosophy in its purest form, its most productive form, is 'blogosophy,' philosophy pursued by weblog. And there is this in favor of it: blogging takes pressure off the journals. Working out my half-baked ideas here, I am less likely to submit material that is not yet ready for embalming in printer's ink.
Blogging attracts the like-minded, some of whom one meets face-to-face. Sunday's breakfast has long since passed through the mortal coil, but I am still digesting the thoughts and insights of Peter and Steven. I would never have met these wonderful people had it not been for this weblog.
You bait your hook and cast your line into the vasty deep. Occasionally you snag a scum-sucker or bottom-feeder. But they are easily dealt with. Your patience is rewarded when you hook unto yourself a worthy denizen of Neptune's realm.
'Conservative sociologist' smacks of an oxymoron, does it not? So just for fun this morning I typed the phrase into my search engine of choice and was directed to The Conservative Sociologist where I encountered the graphic below. The proprietor of the site is of the female persuasion. We need more distaff bloggers, though not a federal program to encourage them.
'Heisse Lisa' left a self-promoting junk comment that I promptly deleted. If you call yourself 'Hot Lisa' or 'Shithead,' that by itself is grounds for banishment. A little self-deprecation is good, but if you announce by your handle that your skull is feculent, then you demonstrate thereby that you are not MavPhil material.
I don't get it. Ostrich nominalism is not that hot a topic.
By the way, my ComBox is not for your self-promotion. Try it, and you will have wasted your time. Comment moderation is on, and I have an itchy 'delete finger.' Trackbacks are off. What a worthless utility that turned out to be.
I thank long-time blogger buddy Bill Keezer for pointing out something that should have been obvious. To read an online article at a money-grubbing site such as NRO, a site awash with advertising, moving images, noise, and what all else, click on the 'print' icon. The article should appear without the junk. But you knew that already.
I may not have the prettiest 'skin' in the 'sphere, but at my site you will find no advertising, begging, moving images, noise . . . just solid content day after day, year after year.
As one of my aphorisms has it, a blog is to be judged, not by the color of its 'skin' but by the character of its content.
I thank you for your patronage. Rare is the day when traffic dips below 1000 pageviews. In recent days spikes have been in the 3000-4000 range. 2012 was a banner year.
UPDATE: The ever-helpful Dave Lull e-mails:
Usually I prefer using the free Readability browser add-on (the page formatted for printing is often too wide for me to read comfortably and is sometimes not an option):
I was saddened to hear from Malcolm Pollack just now that Bob Koepp, who commented extensively at both our sites, died on 29 February of this year. Ever the gentleman, Bob contributed to the discussions at the old Powerblogs site and here at the Typepad incarnation of MavPhil. He had an M. A. in philosophy and studied under Wilfrid Sellars. He was such a mild-mannered man that I sometimes wondered if my more acerbic asseverations offended him. His comments are here. Bob will be remembered. My condolences to his family and friends. As the obituary below says, for Bob, "the questions mattered more than the answers." He exemplified the philosophical spirit.
On a lighter note, I once made mention of Maynard G. Krebs, the Bob Denver beatnik character from the 1959-1963 sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Koepp remarked that back then he thought Krebs the quintessence of cool.
Koepp, Robert V. Our beloved Bob, age 60, of St. Paul, passed away on February 29. He was diagnosed just three months earlier with lung cancer, which he faced with admirable strength, caring above all for the comfort of those he loved. He is mourned by mother Helen (Rohe) Koepp of Hutchinson, siblings Reinhard of Tarpon Springs, FL; Ken (Jan) of Hot Springs Village, AR; Karen of Minneapolis; Marla (Bob) Lichtsinn of Fountain Valley, CA; Vern (Cindy) of Rush City; Irene (Dave) Schwartz of Litchfield; Marty of Minneapolis; Aaron (Laury) of Fort Collins, CO; Esther of Eagan; and Joanne (Randy) Fischer of Wausau, WI, as well as other dear relatives and friends. He was predeceased by father Reinhard W. Koepp and grandparents Herman and Augusta Koepp and Walter and Anna Rohe.
Bob, whose abiding wish was for racial equality, believed deeply in loving God and your neighbor. He grew up in Brownton, was a lifelong student of philosophy of science, ethics and bioethics (Gustavus, U Pitt, U of M), and coordinated oncology research at Children's Hospital, Minneapolis. Bob also loved nature and fishing, helping family members with jobs and projects of all kinds, especially woodworking, and music, especially Bach. He was astoundingly bright, and for him, in life or in energetic dialogue, the questions mattered more than the answers. He was selfless, generous and exemplary in so many ways, and he will be dearly missed. A memorial gathering is being planned. Remember him by supporting racial equality or nature organizations, or by doing a random act of kindness.
By the way, my opening sentence illustrates the principle that the antecedent of a pronoun need not come before (in the order of reading) the pronoun of which it is the antecedent despite the following bit of schoolmarmishness from Grammar Girl:
Our second antecedent problem is what’s called “anticipatory reference,” which Bryan Garner calls “the vice of referring to something that is yet to be mentioned (5)," meaning that the writer puts the pronoun before the antecedent—a no no.
I say to hell with that. I opened with a beautiful classy sentence. Grammar Girl needs a good spanking not only for endorsing this stupid rule of the dumbed-down and inattentive but also for her use of 'no no' baby talk.
I should rant more fully on pronouns, their antecedents, with an application to Obama's "You didn't build that."
I do have a fine rant here on baby talk and first-grade English.
A fellow blogger inquires, " How did you get your blog 'noticed' or 'visited'? And how long did it take? I have had a few spikes from your blog and American Catholic, but the visits seem to have slowed down. Of course, it may be that getting people interested involves actual writing, as opposed to simple link collection.
1. In the early days of the blogosphere, over ten years ago now, weblogs were mainly just 'filters' that sorted through the WWW's embarrassment of riches and provided links to sites the proprietor of the filter thought interesting and of reasonable quality. So in the early days one could garner traffic by being a linker as opposed to a thinker. Glenn Reynold's Instapundit, begun in August 2001, is a wildly successful blog that consists mainly of links. But there are plenty of linkage blogs now and no need for more, unless you carve out a special niche for yourself.
2. What I find interesting, and what I aim to provide, is a blend of original content and linkage delivered on a daily basis. As the old Latin saying has it, Nulla dies sine linea, "No day without a line." Adapted to this new-fangled medium: "No day without a post." Weblogs are by definition frequently updated. So if you are not posting, say, at least once a week, you are not blogging. Actually, I find I need to restrain myself by limiting myself to two or three posts per day: otherwise good content scrolls into archival oblivion too quickly.
Here is my definition of 'weblog': A weblog is a frequently updated website consisting of posts or entries, usually short and succinct, arranged in reverse-chronological order, containing internal and off-site hyperlinks, and a utility allowing readers to comment on some if not all posts.
'Blog' is a contraction of 'weblog.' Therefore, to refer to a blog post as a blog is a mindless misuse of the term on a par with referring to an inning of a baseball game as a game, a chapter of a book as a book, an entry in a ledger as a ledger, etc. And while I'm on my terminological high horse: a comment on a post is not a post but a comment, and one who makes a commenter is a commenter, not a commentator. A blogger is (typically) a commentator; his commenters are -- commenters.
There are group blogs and individual blogs. Group blogs typically don't last long and for obvious reasons, an example being Left2Right. (Of interest: The Curious Demise of Left2Right.) Please don't refer to an individual blog as a 'personal' blog. Individual blogs can be as impersonal as you like.
3. I am surprised at how much traffic I get given the idiosyncratic blend I serve up. This, the Typepad version of MavPhil, commenced on Halloween 2008. Since then the site has garnered 1.4 million page views which averages to 1045 page views per day. In recent months, readership is around 1300-1700 p-views per diem with various spikes. 3 July saw a spike of 2421 p-views. Don't ask me why. Total posts: 3489. Total comments: 5644.
Now to answer the question. How did I get my site noticed? By being patient and providing fairly good content on a regular basis. I don't pander: I write what interests me whether or not it interests anyone else. Even so, patience pays off in the long run. But it will take time: I've been at it for over eight years using three different service providers. I don't solicit links or do much to promote the site. I bait my hook and cast it out into the vasty deeps of cyberspace. I have managed to snag many interesting, high-quality 'fish.' You could say I have become 'a fisher of men.' Comment moderation keeps the bottom-feeders and scum-suckers at bay. (That's a bit of a mixed metaphor wrapped in a bad pun.)
Blogging is like physical exercise. If you are serious about it, it becomes a daily commitment and after a while it becomes unthinkable that one should stop until one is stopped by some form of physical or mental debilitation.
Would allowing comments on all posts increase readership? Probably, but having tried every option, I have decided the best set-up is the present one: allow comments on only some posts, and don't allow comments to appear until they have been moderated.
I hereby present the coveted MavPhil Blogger Slacker Award to Harriet Baber of The Enlightenment Project. So far this year, she has uploaded a grand total of two posts. In 2011 she managed to scribble only eleven. That averages to less than one a month. It's a pity: her cantankerous and idiosyncratic entries make for enjoyable reading.
I reckon most motorists find vanity plates distasteful. Upon seeing a plate bearing the letters 'Ph.D.' or 'M.D.' or 'J.D.,' the response is likely to be: BFD! In any case, who needs vanity plates when one can have for free one's very own vanity blog? And weblogs have this advantage: they are not in people's faces. You must freely decide to visit a site, and if you don't like what you find there, you bear at least half of the blame.
Throughout his life he wrote circumstantial, occasional, studies, in which he went straight to the point, to say something, to communicate to the reader -- a very particular reader, whose figure gradually changed over the course of time -- certain truths, certain warnings, certain very concrete exhortations. To do so he had to put into play the totality of his philosophical thought . . . . (Julian Marias, Jose Ortega y Gasset: Circumstance and Vocation, tr. Lopez-Marillas, University of Oklahoma Press, 1970, p. 235.)
One of the pleasures of blogging, for me at least, is re-reading what I have written. But then I discover the typographical errors. I seem to be almost blind to them: I see past words to their sense, though sense is not something literally to be seen. (Here, in nuce, is yet another argument against physicalism.)
How can I fail to see a typo in a two-sentence post that I have re-read many times? Here is what I just now discovered and corrected:
Aporeticians qua aporeticians do not celebrate Christmas. The celebrate Enigmas.
We see what we want to see. We also sometimes see what we don't want to see. I went hiking with a guy once. We took his car. A third guy persuaded the first to drive to a trailhead that didn't interest him. He was in a bad mood as a result. After the hike, he looked at a rear tire and cursed his having a flat. I said, "No flat, it's just the way the tire is distended by its contact with that rock." He began to argue with me. I insisted there was no flat. I was right. Obviously, he didn't want there to be a flat, but that's exactly what he, or his bad mood, saw.
I am a medievalist at a small college in a small college town. I like reading, writing, music, and thinking — practicing any of these individually or in combination. Turnoffs include Brussels sprouts, bad music, and creeping totalitarianism.
Excellent, except I simply do not understand food aversions. Nothing edible is foreign to me. Pursuing the Terentian parallel into the precincts of (bad) humor: I am edible; nothing edible is foreign to me.
Brussels sprouts were on the menu at Thanksgiving, and mine were pronounced delicious by all parties to the feast. But you have to steam the hell out of them and then drench them in a good Hollandaise sauce, itself laced with Tabasco, that marvellous Louisiana condiment simply unsurpassed in its class.
The same steaming-and-saucing treatment works wonders with broccoli and other stink-weeds.
I've been slacking off when it comes to the right side bar. I apologize for not linking to some of you who link to me: I'm a lazybones when it comes to 'housekeeping' and technical minutiae. Here's what's new:
On-site search engine added. Try it with 'sex,' 'lust,' 'greed,' 'money.'
This weblog commenced on 4 May 2004 and has been in operation for seven and a half years. This, the latest incarnation, the Typepad version, began on Halloween 2008. Here are the posts from three years ago. Typepad is not the perfect platform; I doubt if there is one. But it is superior for my purposes to the crappy Blogger, the defunct Powerblogs, and the adequate WordPress.
Readership is trending upwards. I now routinely receive 1,000 to 1,700 pageviews per day. The total pageview count for the last three years is now over one million: 1,029,176 as of a few moments ago. That averages to 939.89 pageviews/day with 2,828 total posts and 4,971 comments.
Can you say cacoethes scribendi?
I've missed only a few days in these seven and a half years so it's a good bet I'll be blogging 'for the duration.' It's like reading and thinking and meditating and running and hiking and playing chess and breathing and eating and drinking coffee. It is not something one gives up until forced to. Some of us are just natural-born scribblers. We were always scribbling, on looseleaf, in notebooks, on the back of envelopes, in journals daily maintained. This is just an electronic extension of all of that.
Except now I conduct my education in public. This has some disadvantages, but they are vastly outweighed by the advantages. I have met a lot of interesting and stimulating characters via this blog, many in the flesh. You bait your hook and cast it into the vasty deeps of cyberspace and damned if you don't snag some interesting fish. The occasional scumsucker and bottomfeeder is no counterargument.
I thank you for your patronage, and I hope my writings are of use not just to me.
Yesterday I mentioned that I have received e-mail from readers who prefer blogs that do not allow comments. Here is another just over the transom from a reader in Lincoln, England:
One of the reasons, but not the most important consideration, why I read your blog is because you don't permit comments. There is a surfeit, which includes me now and then, of inane commenters on the internet - enough to satisfy anyone addicted to the puerile opinions of strangers.
Blogs, or some of them anyway, are a form of vanity publishing. After all, a first rate mind with something original to say could write a book and have it published in the regular way. So why bother blogging? But commenting on someone's blog is even more vain. The commenter desires to disseminate his second-hand views and inflict his opinions on a blog’s readership without the trouble of producing a thoughtful discourse in the first place.
Commenters are parasites in the blogosphere. If I had anything original and sagacious to say, and I could say it eloquently, then I could inform the attentive world on my own blog. Regarding the impact of eloquence: Not many bloggers can retain a discriminating audience by repeatedly exploring serious topics with stylish felicity.
I would qualify the "Commenters are parasites" remark with a 'most' or a 'many.' I have received excellent comments over the years that have helped me improve my thinking. As for vanity, I admit that there is something vain about blogging, mine included. But is not all self-presentation and self-expression vain when measured by monkish standards?
There is a Greek orthodox monastery in the desert not far from here. The monks there are allowed no internet access. And that is as it should be. Whatever the value of monasticism and world-renunciation, internet access is incompatible with it. Or so say I. I would expect The Blogging Monk to disagree.
Why don't I allow comments on most of my posts? Part of the reason is the 'high level' of discussion that tends to occur in threads attached to posts that address 'hot button' issues. A good example is the 'commentary' elicited by Why Sexism is Obsolete over at Victor Reppert's place. Not an edifying spectacle.
Curiously, the lack of comments does not seem adversely to affect my traffic. In fact, I have e-mails from people who positively like the paucity of comments.
Readers who have stuck with me over the years will remember commenter 'Spur' whose comments were the best I received at the old Powerblogs site. Safely ensconced in an academic position, he now enters the blogosphere under his real name, Stephen Puryear. His weblog is entitled Second Thoughts.