February 5, 2013

"The blog is also now unending: you can scroll down indefinitely if you so wish..."

A nice feature at Andrew Sullivan's newly independent blog. This means that the blog is set to have a  number of posts on the page when you click there, but if you want more, you don't have to click to an "older posts" page (as you do here), it automatically provides new posts as you scroll. This gives a vivid depiction of what a blog really is: a pile of posts one on top of the other. For example, my blog is a stack of 32,381 posts.

Sullivan has also moved his archive, which goes back to January 2001: "I have given a sharp dagger for anyone who wants to make me look foolish – so have at it." I don't think the archive makes him look foolish. I read him all the time back then, when he called himself conservative and tried to define conservatism in new ways. Or is the appearance of foolishness not in what those old opinions were, but in the later deviations? Would you read the sort of person who would go 12 years without contradicting himself?

The Dictionary of Received Ideas — my imagined modern American version of it — has this under "contradiction":
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
That's the reflexive quotation but you can keep scrolling in that poem, Walt Whitman's tall stack of lines:
I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day's work? who will soonest be through
with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too
late?
I wait on the door-slab....

31 comments:

Icepick said...

I read him all the time back then, when he called himself conservative and tried to define conservatism in new ways.

That should have been the first clue. Adding "NEW" to conservatism just violates the fundamental principal of the thing.

Icepick said...

William F. Buckley, Jr.: A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!'

Andrew Sullivan: A conservative is a fellow shouting shouting "Gay marriage for Catholic priests!"

The Farmer said...

Would you read the sort of person who would go 12 years without contradicting himself?

That's exactly what most people want, or claim to want.

Maguro said...

Lord. Does it scroll all the way back to his Iraq war cheerleader days?

The Farmer said...

As my old pal Ralph used to say, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

chickelit said...

For example, my blog is a stack of 32,381 posts.

And there are comment threads dangling from most of those posts like little side chains attached to a backbone. That's the profound difference between Sullivan's blog and the Althouse blog. I sometimes wish the comment threads were more searchable.

CEO-MMP said...

Contradicting himself or not isn't what will make Sullivan look foolish. Sullivan himself will make himself look foolish just by being Sullivan.

Man has more interest in Palin's snatch than Todd does. Weird, for a gay man. Unless it's some odd form of penis envy?

Henry said...

"My name is Andrew Sullivan, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

chickelit said...

Unless it's some odd form of penis envy?

Penis ennui: bored with a penis and wanting to be woman.

Maguro said...

Eh, foolish consistency is one thing, but Sullivan's instant conversion from hyper-jingoistic war cheerleader to holier than thou, pacifistic war protester is something else altogether.

The fact that the "public intellectual" set pimped shamelessly for the war, then turned on it as soon as things started to go wrong is something that bugs the hell out of me. This applies not just to Sullivan, but also his slighly less frenetic colleagues like Tom Friedman, Fareed Zakaria, etc. One should never assume that wars will go smoothly, it's not the way that war works. I sincerely hope none of them ever support another war ever again. Or even another kinetic military action.

EDH said...

This gives a vivid depiction of what a blog really is: a pile of posts one on top of the other.

All that's missing is the steam and the flies.

Astro said...

... which would be even better if no other blogger ever linked to it.

traditionalguy said...

Whitman wanted to connect with people. "I wait upon the door slab... Will you speak before I am gone," said Whitman to the other leaves of grass.

How long will digital libraries exist?

Recording your thoughts for The Library of Congress to keep them sounds good. But will they really be kept after I am gone?

Larry J said...

chickelit said...
Unless it's some odd form of penis envy?

Penis ennui: bored with a penis and wanting to be woman.


There's a treatment for that available in Trinidad, Colorado among other places.

CEO-MMP said...

BTW, is the "dictionary of received ideas" tag a snide shot at Sully's sexuality?

Cuz from the way he acts, as bitchy as he is, it's pretty clear he ain't no pitcher.

edutcher said...

chick wins the thread with a cluster.

Good one!

PS The difference between Andy's blog and this one is this one has some pics of a nice-looking lady.

Andy's not so much.

Writ Small said...

It's not so much the contradiction, but rather the accompanying sanctimony.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The word "diva" seems to have lost currency and I'm glad.

CEO-MMP said...

ed:

if chick wins the thread, do I get an assist for the set up?

EMD said...

You could do that at Althou.se

If you really wanted.

Sam L. said...

We don't have to make him look foolish. We only have to stand back and admire the job he's done already.

Chef Mojo said...

Sullivan jumped the shark years ago. The only reason he's still around is that Matt Drudge bizarrely finds Sullivan relevant enough to keep him in his blogroll.

Roger Zimmerman said...

There *is* a consistency in (epistemological) method, if not in message:

Be constitutionally unable to identify gradations of goodness (or evilness) as is required by the real world.

Thus, the US mission in the Middle East is either a glorious and righteous stand for human dignity and liberty, or an unadulterated clusterfuck, and intended to be so by the malevolent corporate tools in government.

Israel is either the last bastion of hope in a completely dysfunctional part of the world, or an oppressive apartheid regime, whose legitimacy should be questioned because of the decisions of its electorate.

Sara Palin is an ignorant, extremist, lying SOB, unqualified for public office, unlike the noble, educated and moderate denizens that occupy (some of the) offices in DC.

Go ahead - check the history. You'll see. He's not self-unaware enough to ignore this criticism. Many of his pieces will protest that he is indeed seeing things in a nuanced manner. But this is the commentary. The evidence is quite the opposite.

Roger Zimmerman said...

Oh yes (another example for my above post)-

And "torture" of illegal combatants, regardless of the circumstances, degrades our nation to the point of moral equivalency with the jihadists, making it impossible for us to argue against war crimes trials for our politicians and soldiers.

tim maguire said...

The issue is not that his new posts contradict his old posts, but that the quality of his thinking has declined, that when changing opinions, he will viciously attack the people with whom until recently he agreed, that he has become intellectually dishonest and unfair in his characterization of opposing viewpoints.

I don't think people are looking for perfect cosistency of statements so much as consistency of values, standards, intentions. A person of integrity and decency will always be a person of integrity and decency.

Methadras said...

"I have given a sharp dagger for anyone who wants to make me look foolish – so have at it."

Considering this statement, a dull, rusty butter knife is really all that is required. Looking foolish for Little Miss Sullivan has been one of his points of expertise.

Sigivald said...

Would you read the sort of person who would go 12 years without contradicting himself?

Most people can go a decade without having a radical worldview change that they can only express emotionally, based by all appearances on the failure of George Bush to endorse gay marriage.

So, yeah. I would.

I read Glenn Reynolds, and he hasn't exactly grown to contradict himself greatly in the past 12 years.

I have nothing against people changing their minds - but I want better justification and better results than that hack Sullivan has shown.

jr565 said...

While I understand never changing is perhaps unrealistic Sullivan changed so drastically to the point where the views are diametrically opposite. As such there will be a lot of angering of people who were formally in agreement with said person.
Like suppose Paul McCartney came out tomorrow with an ad for an AR-15 Rifle and talked about how he liked shooting and killing animals.
Suddenly you'd be looking at all the previous Paul McCartney utterances and saying, is this the same person?
Maybe Paul really IS dead.
You expect change on a small scale not a fundamental shift. It does happen, but usually he bigger the shift the more people who formerly liked you now have a problem with you.

sydney said...

...Sullivan changed so drastically to the point where the views are diametrically opposite.

Not only that, but the change was sudden. One day he espoused one thing, the next he espoused the complete opposite- and with vehemence. There was no sort of evolution of thought. It was such a sudden change that one could be forgiven for concluding the man has no abiding principles. His voice is for sale.

mikee said...

I avoid websites where I have to filter the gold from the dross after reading it, every single time. And I avoid even moreso websites where I am guaranteed a dose of dross without the promise of gold to sift from it.

Methadras said...

sydney said...

...Sullivan changed so drastically to the point where the views are diametrically opposite.

Not only that, but the change was sudden. One day he espoused one thing, the next he espoused the complete opposite- and with vehemence. There was no sort of evolution of thought. It was such a sudden change that one could be forgiven for concluding the man has no abiding principles. His voice is for sale.


It's the AIDS.