May 12, 2008

I announce my much deeper plunge into the life of blogging: The Time That Blog Forgot.

It's a new blog designed to make up for the terrible feeling of retrospective loss I feel for all the years when there was no blogging.

I'm assuming that the real blogging of news, culture, and politics began in 1998 — we can argue about that if you want — and this project will look to 100 years before 1998.

I've used a random integer generator to spit out my first 100 year numbers, and the date will always be today's date. I'll advance to a new random year each day. Today's blogging happens to be for May 12, 1974. I adopt the mindset I have when I look at the day's news to blog here on Althouse, but I look at the New York Times archive for the chosen date. I pick a few things to post about with exactly the sort of attitude that I have when I pick what to write about here.

I won't tell you all the years in advance, so there will be a lot of surprise to it, but just so you'll get the idea, tomorrow will be May 13, 1925, and Wednesday will be May 14, 1968.

So please come over and read The Time That Blog Forgot.

34 comments:

Paddy O. said...

Fun! What a great, great idea. Something new with the old, and no doubt an amazing way to build even more historical perspective.

And a grand year to begin with.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, and it was absolutely pure chance.

But maybe all the years are grand!

vbspurs said...

Wow. Startling idea.

It's like the Way Back Machine which caches all sites as they were back in the day, only quirkier!

As a lady, I have a God given right not to reveal my age, but let's just say, you start off blogging about a year where Miss Vicky didn't exist. Fascinating. And yes, I remember my mother's camis. They were very sheer.

Cheers,
Victoria

Jeremy said...

So what you're saying is that you've got more blogging-energy than topics to blog about which is forcing you to go back and reblog history?! If we could somehow harness this energy we could power a small city.

Jennifer said...

Love this idea.

Trooper York said...

I am very skeptical as this must lead to one post days and fewer pictures of dogs urinating.

rhhardin said...

I recommend studying Will Cuppy's The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody for an approach to history in general.

I thought it was great in high school.

Ron said...

Sounds pretty cool...I'm there, doc!

vbspurs said...

fewer pictures of dogs urinating.

But perhaps more of Clumbers Past.

ricpic said...

Urinating outdoors under God's open sky is one of the great human pleasures. Maybe the greatest. Okay, great man pleasures. You want the white male vote, Obama? Promise to bring back the pissoir, by executive order!

Paddy O. said...

They are all grand!

That's the fun of this. Every single year has something interesting about it, some wonderful morsel and delight. We do lose the experience of being in that moment, blind to the future, but that's okay. I think experiencing their present in their future will be a treat every single day.

I wonder how blogging would have changed it all.

Eric Muller said...

A wonderful idea, Ann.

Maybe it's just me, by the way, but the NYTimes link in the top post on the new blog is broken.

Paddy O. said...

"The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for material from the period 1923 to 1986."

Kirk Parker said...

A very cool idea.

I like the picture, too, but what about changing it each time you go to a new year, to a picture of you from that year, if possible?

Ann Althouse said...

Eric, it works for me, once I've logged in to the site. You need to have a NYT account... but everyone has one, right? Just sign in.

Ann Althouse said...

As for changing the picture... I've covering 100 years. I'm not that old!

Ann Althouse said...

Paddy, for me it's giving me permission to get to 100 a month. Probably because I have an academic account.

I'll keep this in mind.

Palladian said...

"I like the picture, too, but what about changing it each time you go to a new year, to a picture of you from that year, if possible?"

I bet Ann looked smashing on May 13, 1925.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann:

There are very very few new and unique ideas. Most are just re-jiggered or re-cycled. But yours is genuinely new! Nice job.

I doubt howver many of us can spare (waste) much more time on the internets. Especially Trooper but I am sure he will try.

amba said...

I bet Ann looked smashing on May 13, 1925.

Show me your original face, the one you had before you were born.

vbspurs said...

Show me your original face, the one you had before you were born.

Spermatazoa request?

BTW, blogrolled. I'm sure I'm not the first either, RIA.

Cheers,
Victoria

peter hoh said...

My neighbor blogger has a running feature, It was 20 years ago today, in which he recaps a bit of personal history.

Sir Archy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

Well, yeah, that's half of what I meant by "if possible". :-)

It could give us a new picture for nearly half of those years, if available.

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

As the Ghost of a Gentleman dead these 250 Years and more, I may tell you that I have known many a Woman of Parts, but Few have compass'd such an Ambit as Yourself.  At once our Portia, our Minerva, and even our Pallas, you have been pleas'd these past few Years to take up the Duty of impressaria of this, your Theatre of Topicks (as I call it) to general Applause & Approbation of the Publick.

Lest you think I say too much, you may remember that in some Quarters of Europe, more giv'n perhaps to Servility than our Britain, Flattery was counted among the principal Affections and Ornaments of Manners.  So 'tis perhaps with a small Portion of the Spirit of a Polite Frenchman that I salute you for your Wit, your Charm, and your Perspicacity.

(Frenchmen were indeed polite in my Day; they had not yet learnt Egoism from Rosseau.)

That you should now become the Janus of Modern Times is a prodigious Undertaking of great Labour, whose Application we await with eager Anticipation.  Seeing how little you have spared yourself Trouble in this new Venture, I pray you will not take it amiss if I may offer a small Suggestion, viz.—That you extend your Observation back to the Year 1700 to survey a View of my Age.

My Century did not lack for Anecdotes and Topicks with which to entertain the Publick; and, I may say  the partisan Spirit of my Times was, if anything, even more Poisonous & Dangerous to the Common Good than the miserable Politicks of the Present Day, and may yet serve a pretty Lesson for your Improvement.

But, for all the Knaves & Rakes, corrupt Politicians, Harlots, Whores & Silly Actresses, there were worthy & honourable Men & Women aplenty; and it may truly be said that your Age lives on the Government, the Laws, the Religion, the Art, the Manners, and even the Science that were well begun or improv'd in mine.  That you feast at such a bountiful Table, owes itself to our having laid it so well.

Madam, you are, like me, an old Soul; and, as such, more entitl'd to the Style of Janus than anyone else.  That you have been fortun'd to be reborn, whilst I wander a disembody'd Spirit, is our Difference of Fate.  You may see another wise Woman who carried something of your Visage, in this Picture of Mrs. Carriera, the famous Italian Portraitist of my Day.  Who can deny that the same Female Wisdom & Sagacity may shine from Age to Age through different Eyes, but animat'd with perhaps the same Spirit?

Praying this Inner Being look back to its deepest & most sympathetick Wellsprings, and that my Flattery not prove overly Unctuous,

I remain,

Madam,

Your most humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Thers said...

Thanks for doing this. I do not hesitate to say that the possibilities are boundless.

Palladian said...

I would love it if you could do a day of news from the 18th century. I know the NYT wasn't published back then (good thing, too, they would have objected to the Revolution on the grounds that it upset some of our European betters) but perhaps you could find an 18th century newspaper elsewhere.

vbspurs said...

Palladian, an even quirkier idea! As Thers said, full of endless possibilities.

Links:

Early 18th century newspapers (UK)

18th century American newspapers (LOC)

Early America site's Pages from the Past

Check out the Boston Gazette from October 7, 1776.

Gives one chills.

Cheers,
Victoria

reader_iam said...

Oh, Thers, must you?--I suppose you must. So it goes.

***

Palladian: I don't think I agree with your premise about how the NYT would have reacted in the 18th century. Still, and regardless, your suggestion for another project, some day, is an interesting one.

Zeb Quinn said...

There are very very few new and unique ideas. Most are just re-jiggered or re-cycled. But yours is genuinely new! Nice job.

Me, I was thinking that you must've come across one of the interviews with Jill Price, which have been ubiquitous this week as she makes the rounds hawking her book, "The Woman Who Can't Forget." Here's a link to a timely Newsweek article about her. I heard a radio interview with her and it mostly consisted of a parlor game where people named a date and she promptly recited what happened that day, both in her personal life, and what was topical in the news. She is the first person declared to have the condition known as "hyperthymestic syndrome." In the interview I heard she said it is more a curse than a blessing because there are some things she'd like to forget.

Ann Althouse said...

Sir Archy, thanks. I had the same question Palladian did on reading your request.

Victoria, thanks. I knew about those Old Bailey records. It would limit one to law blogging, which would be a great idea for another blog.

Actually, I wish I had more sources for my last 100 years blog. It is somewhat arbitrary to use only 100 years. I thought of using only the 20th century, but I've quirkily picked up a few years in the 18th century.

Zeb: I don't think that is what gave me the idea, but I did notice that article. On the same subject, a cool book is "The Mind of a Mnemonist" -- an old classic.

vbspurs said...


Actually, I wish I had more sources for my last 100 years blog. It is somewhat arbitrary to use only 100 years.


You could expand it to other language newspapers, with the added bonus to get a global view.

Count me in for translation activities, should you require.

I can handle a few languages. *aww shucks, kicks pebbles*

Cheers,
Victoria

Sir Archy said...

To Professor Althouse.

Madam,

Additionally to the Sources so cheerfully giv'n us by Victoria, You and your Audience may wish to consult this Chronicle of Boston during the American Revolution.  'Tis very well done for an History to remind Americans of their Beginnings.

While I am very glad to be seconded by so powerful & perspecacious a Voice as Mr. Palladian's, I should beg your Leave to remind Mrs. reader_i_am and others that the Idea of your perhaps deigning from time to time to Glimpse my Century was mine originally.  As an insubstantial ghostly Spirit, I should have grown used to such Inattention, but I do feel the Need to state my Case upon Occasion.

I would also say that while you may be naturally inclin'd to examine American Events from the last Quarter of my Century, you should know that I was dead in my Grave Twenty-Seven Years before the first Shot of your Revolution, which thus belongs to another Age than my own.  When I speak of the Evils of Partisanship in Politicks, I mean the last Years of Queen Anne, culminating in the dreary Events of 1714, when Great Britain was present'd a boorish German Princ'ling for a King, hired just as you might a Hand for a Factory.  If you would have mixt Politicks & Wit, Madam, together with Great Events, there were nothing like those Years; every Age, of course, says such things of its Youth.

Writing in Haste, yet wishing You every Success in your new Endeavour, I am,

Madam,

Your most humble & obt. Servant,

Sir Archy

Trooper York said...

Hey AJ I don't regard it as wasting time. I multi-task. Usually I post heavily when I am behind the counter in the store and have to pretend I am working on something while the wife is helping women try on clothes. I don't express an opinion unless they ask so I have to look like I am doing something. Sweet.