First, thank you for all your expressions of concern and interventions with the Big Guy/Positive Energy. It’s very much appreciated.
Second, I realize that the previous post is a poor place to leave an invitation for the community to “talk amongst themselves.” So here, hopefully, is a more congenial place for the regulars to chat about issues of common interest while I attempt to decide what it is I want to do with this space going forward.
I started reading blogs in the Arabian Gulf during the winter of 2002 and the spring of 2003. As the Operations Officer of an aircraft carrier, I was fortunate enough to have privileged access to bandwidth, and was interested about how the impending conflict was being reported on and understood back home. It became clear to me then that much of the old way of gaining information was being overtaken by this new media, and I took that for a great good thing. (Events of the last week have also confirmed that “this new media” has taken on a new and more toxic life of its own.)
But back to me for a moment, if you’ll indulge: There was a war that I had helped in my own small way to fight. A war I thought, having committed the flower of our youth, that we ought to try and win. And there was a serious – by which I mean “threatening” – opposition movement emerging that I believed was motivated as much by domestic partisan advantage as it was national security concerns. So I found myself inevitably draw into the political scene. I did this while occasionally writing tales about flying fighters off aircraft carriers and life at sea, something I had some domain knowledge of and enjoyed sharing.
Politics, alas, never ends, but sea stories eventually run out. You only get to tell so many “there I was, flat on my back” tales before the well runs more or less dry. This probably happened a few years back.
Blogging, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Something has to fill the space, and much of this space ended up getting filled with the domestic political scrum, which is frankly depressing to think, read and write about. And finally, I bring no real unique insight or domain knowledge into that niche. There are hundreds if not thousands of greater and lesser minds engaged in that space, some of them quite obsessively.
And it all takes time. Time I could have spent exercising, reading more, thinking more deeply. Time I could have spent being a better naval officer, perhaps. A better worker. A better husband.
A better father.
It is probably several multiples more time-consuming to create this stuff than it is to consume it. And while I truly appreciate the generosity in time and materials that you, gentle reader, have provided me over the years to indulge in this hobby, my joy is not unalloyed. I find I no longer have much time to engage in the lively discussions that an occasional post will engender. I spend quite a surprising amount of time checking the email address of a commenter for familiarity before nodding and deleting the accompanying email unread, or at best lightly skimmed, and much more time that I would like deleting spam.
I have learned a lot along the way, and many of you have helped to teach me. I’ve made many friends, only some of whom I have met, or ever will meet. And only, I think, a very few enemies. At least one of whom I have come to think of as a friend, although we have not met and do not share many, if any, of the same opinions about practically anything. I have learned to examine unquestioned certainties.
There are all kinds of addictions, and this became in time one of mine. It took my attention from places that it probably ought to have been better spent. I would like to be able to tell you that I would do everything the same, given another opportunity. That all of this has been worth it. That any of it has made a difference.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m just not sure that’s true.
So: Open thread!