The coffee was not enough. I had to top it off with chocolate. And now more than an hour has passed since the first post of the day. I feel I should have served up some meaty political posts, delving into... oh, who knows?... some right-winger demanding that his crowd get heated up over the income tax in New York, which is causing him to abscond to Florida... or some left-winger assuring his flock that the John Doe investigation is really, really, probably going to get Scott Walker, just you wait. But I did not do that. My words did not go down on this blog. They evanesced. There is no archive, only vague memories of a conversation. What on earth did we talk about?
Ah! I remember. The conversation started with the observation that in blogging, there is always one post on top of the other, the new surmounting and obliterating the old. I'd been blogging about betamax3000's elaborate "Desolation Row" parody, about which he'd said, at last night's Bookshelf Café:
I Would Like to Think 'Internet meme Row' Will Inspire in Althouse a Sunday Morning Proustian Memory Flow, but - Alas - It Will probably Just be Swept Along With All of Yesterday's Other Pixels.And I was saying — to Meade, here in nonvirtual reality — that's a subject that bedeviled me in the early days of this blog. Like here, I'm chiding myself in 2005 for taking the trouble to update something written in 2004: "Don't I realize the old posts sink into oblivion? These old posts don't really exist at all." I visualized each new post physically weighing upon the posts underneath, pressing them endlessly into the murk.
The Internet Paints Over Itself Each and Every Day.
Now, I tend to think — and this was the beginning of the hour-long conversation — that blogging is like life itself, with everything happening now, here in person, but better, because we can all talk at once, have the feeling of immediacy and spontaneity, and still be able to hear each other, almost in the present, and because of the archive, at any time, if we happen to care to listen to what has gone before.
I imagined a theater full of 2,000 people, with everyone talking out loud, expressing their thoughts at once. No one would hear what anyone was saying and it would just be an annoying variation of everyone sitting there silently and thinking. Blogging is the equivalent of having the superpower to go to everyone in that theater and to close enough to hear that person and to repeat time, the same few seconds, over and over, until you'd gotten around to everyone and heard what each one had to say. No, it's even better than that, because you have a way to find the words you'd most like to hear, and to jump from one part of the theater to another at will.
You might think it would be better to write a book, that could exist and last and be read for 100 years, but perhaps in that 200 years, there would be no more readers than will read this blog post in the next 2 hours. And what of this conversation — this conversation from an hour ago, which I wasn't planning to blog about — this conversation that evanesced? There's no archive at all, unless I can pull it out of my memory and blog it now. There was all that and many more observations, including much talk of this panel discussion of 4 comedians where (at some point) they get to the topic of using what I will refer to as "the N-word"...
... and we talked about what it means to be "edgy," the subjectiveness of the edge with respect to comedy as opposed to the edge in slope snowboarding (and our own subjectiveness about what we were calling "the edge" as we nearly got into an argument), and how Michael Richards got into trouble by thinking he could be Lenny Bruce (and what was it Lenny Bruce did anyway? was it the same as the way Dustin Hoffman did it in "Lenny"? (NSFW)), and how comedians in a panel discussion are not the same as comedians doing standup, and panel discussions seem like they are supposed to be friendly conversation, but really involve a lot of competitive hostility, which maybe is what Chris Rock was doing to Louis CK in that part of the panel discussion that Meade described, but I still haven't watched, but I've been on plenty of academic panel discussions and I have a bit of a superpower to detect passive aggression, and that's why I like to do things in writing, from my remote outpost in Madison, Wisconsin, where the second post of the day, 2 hours after the first, is way overdue.