Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another blogger bites the dust

Another blogger bites the dust.

This, by way of my buddy Paul Woodhouse, at his Tinbasher blog.

A popular UK political/social activist blogger has decided to STOP BLOGGING. I reproduce part of his farewell post below, with Vaspers the Grate commentary in [brackets and red type].

"If it means anything at all..."


Posted by Harry

September 28, 2005


You may have noticed there have been fewer and fewer posts from myself here over the past couple of months, and I’m afraid that the shortage of material reflects an inability to continue with the efforts I began here almost three years ago.

This is then, I’m sad to say, my final post as a regular blogger at Harry’s Place.

I hope, possibly, to be able contribute the occasional ‘column style’ item if time allows at some stage in the future and I will remain a supporter, in whatever way I can be, of the various political initiatives I have associated with but I can no longer commit myself to the daily posts and day-to-day jousting that goes with this territory.

[VASPERS: Ah, the good old "day-to-day jousting"--my favorite part of blogging, the venerable blogocombat, watching the sparks fly, seeing false concepts burnt to a crisp.]

My withdrawal is due to changed personal circumstances which leave me without the time necessary to regularly write anything of worth for the blog.

[VASPERS: I hear this all the time from blog-abandoners. "Takes too much time, too much effort". Why? All you have to do is write something from your heart, or explain something you understand well, or go read another blog and find something to either praise or complain about. What's so hard about that?

Some blogs are scholarly and contain complex research, but most do not. Blogging is hard work if you want to provide in-depth, original material on advanced topics. But blogging is pretty easy, if all you wish to publish is political rants or personal thoughts.]

Work and family commitments have obviously to take precedence over blogging, an unpaid, free-time activity albeit one with many, many rewards of its own.

[VASPERS: What are these "many, many rewards" of blogging? I don't see blogging as a "rewarding" activity. I just see it as a necessity, like sleeping a few hours a day, listening to underground music, or eating black licorice. If you blog for "rewards", like a Pavlov dog, I feel sorry for you. There are none. Blogging is simply something a hardcore blogger must do...or die.]

In the past I managed, somehow, to find time for blogging alongside those other commitments – sadly that is no longer the case and isn't likely to be for some time, if ever.

[VASPERS: He doesn't think he'll EVER BLOG AGAIN. People, this is a radical departure, an extreme abandonment of the blogosphere. Did he just lose the joy of blogging, in addition to all these other work and family commitments? I don't see blogging as a "burden" or a heavy commitment of time and labor. I see it as engaging in mental combat for Truth, Independent Thinking, and Democratic Free Expression.]

Of course, this blog will continue with David T, Marcus, Gene and Brownie who have played a major role in developing the popularity of this site and I am sure they will continue to develop the site’s contribution to the big discussions going on across the media, the blogosphere and in political life and to promote the anti-fascist, pro-democracy, internationalist, secular, liberal and social-democratic stance we collectively hold to.

[VASPERS: How do I measure up against the Harry's Place agenda?

Anti-fascist: yes.

Pro-democracy: yes.

Internationalist: in what sense? I oppose One World Government, but support the abolishing of national borders and nation states.

Secular: nope. I'm not secular at all. I'm very metaphysically oriented, I have firm spiritual beliefs, and I support the good aspects of all religions and philosophies. However I'm against the institutionalization of spirituality, as in churchianity and pastor-worship.

Liberal: no. I'm an Ethical Anarchist, supporting some conservative values (individualism, family, hard work, morality) and some liberal ideals (equality, human rights, pacifism, helping the poor and downtrodden). I hate all political parties and politicians.]

It has been a very rewarding experience to write and blog on this site over the past three years and I remain flattered that so many of you regularly read the posts here, recommend them to others or comment on them - and I mean that, I am not being rhetorical, it has been a genuinely pleasant surprise to find my efforts read and responded to.

[VASPERS: Every blogger is, or should be, surprised to find others reading their blog and posting comments. There are millions of other blogs those readers could be spending time at, and thousands of other things they could be doing offline, in the real world.]

When I began the blog it was not my intention to create anything other than a space where I jotted down my thoughts about current events and political debate. I’ve always found writing not only enjoyable, but the best way to clarify my thoughts, to release them and to subject them to the scrutiny of my own eye and sometimes of others. Blogging has certainly put my ideas up for scrutiny - a much wider scrutiny than I ever imagined was going to be the case.

[VASPERS: If you must point to some personal benefit or "reward" of blogging, this is the only one I know of: improving your writing, thinking, debating, and networking skills.]

But blogging is, for most of us, whatever our motivation, a free-time activity.

It has been called in some quarters ‘citizen journalism’ but it could also be described simply as ‘amateur’ or ‘free journalism’ or at least the opinion part of journalism. While blogging may have 'taken on' part of the media, particularly the world of punditry, it has not changed it.

Blogging, unlike the media, is open to anyone. The blogosphere is the open-source software to the mainstream media’s Microsoft Office.

The liberating element of blogging lays precisely in the fact that we are able to create our own platforms or spaces to challenge the views of that small group of people who are fortunate enough to be given column inches.

Some of the opinion makers have responded well to this challenge, choosing to engage with people who are, after all, nothing more or less than their interested readers...

... while others have been less enthusiastic, even hostile, about the fact that people are actually taking up their arguments – they should get used to it because, while individual bloggers like myself may come and go, this medium isn’t going to disappear, nor are readers going to return to being passive consumers of other people's views.

[VASPERS: This is my blogo-gospel: the good news that communication can now be universal and multi-lateral. No more "being passive consumers of " the MSM (mainstream media), or religious sermons, or university lectures. The blog is the death of unilateral communication. The blog represents the uprising of individual voice and the triumph of voluntary interactivity.]

In these past years the blogging scene has grown and with it the voice of the blogger has gained a little more volume. This particular blog has become, as one friend of the site put it, “ a meeting place” and while that was never the aim, it has been a pleasure and privilege to meet you here. I shall miss being a regular part of this site but, thanks to the other bloggers here, the forum will remain for all of you.


Now...what do YOU think?

Does blogging take a lot of time and effort?

Are you a good writer, or are you becoming better by blogging?

Do you reap any personal "rewards" from blogging, or do you do it as a disciplined obligation, like I do?

Do you think you'll continue blogging until you die of old age?

Have you ever taken a break from blogging?

Have you ever re-evaluated your blog and changed your whole approach?

Is your blog a burden or a joy?

Would it "mean anything at all" if you quit blogging?

Do you think you'd be missed?

Let me know your opinion and insight.

Post a comment or email me.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


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