10 years of pointless blathering

(I'm traveling today, but scheduled this to post when I realized the anniversary was coming up.)

I sent the first edition of this place down the memory hole in a fit of embracing impermanence, so I don't have an easy link to show it, but I started blogging 10 years ago today.

I've been able to get to some of the old stuff via the Wayback Machine, and have allowed myself to indulge in a little bit of reading myself. As one might expect, this activity elicits more or less equal parts nostalgia and cringing. I think I'm a better writer, now. I'm less strident in my opinions (really). I'm definitely less ideological, and specifically less reliably libertarian.

Probably the most important difference between then and now: nowadays, for every post you see here, there are about three that get started and never posted. Editorial discretion was not something I possessed 10 years ago.

Anyway, thank you for your attention. 

Some high (and low)lights from the early days:

My first post (other than a quick hello earlier in the day) from March 26, 2003:

First line out of today's CBS coverage of the war: "As the war many hoped would be short enters its second week..."

Umm...excuse me? How short were we expecting this war to be, boys and girls? Did you think that we would start bombing on Friday and US GIs would be dancing in the streets with the women of Baghdad by the next weekend? The last Gulf War's ground campaign took 100 hours, but let's examine a few crucial differences:

1) In '91, Iraq was occupying Kuwait. They were easily cutoff from their supply lines. Furthermore, the objective was to get them out of Kuwait, NOT to CONQUER IRAQ.

2) The '91 ground campaign began AFTER 39 days of relentless air strikes. The Iraqi army was pretty much beaten by the time American soldiers were within firing range. They were essentially there to mop up.

3) In '91, we weren't marching through the homeland of people who might resent foreign invaders, regardless of how noble said invaders intentions are reported to be.

What are they teaching in journalism school these days that the average reporter can't see the differences? If they can't analyze the situation just a tiny bit more critically than this, what exactly are they here for?
(I wish I knew as much now as that guy thought he did, then.)

More on Iraq, from March 31, 2003:

I don't think for a moment that the primary goal of this campaign is "liberation", regardless of how often the president and his mouthpieces say it. The goals of this war are to depose an unfriendly, but weakened, regime, and in doing so, send a message to the Pakistans and Saudi Arabias of the world: take care of the undesireables in your backyard, or we will take care of you. It is a dangerous foriegn (sic) policy gambit, at best, and one that I think will keep our forces perpetually engaged for years, perhaps decades. [emphasis added] Liberation isn't the objective, but for the people whose homes and lives will be destroyed in this process, it is the least that we can do.
 (I really take no pleasure in having been more or less right about this.)

 My first foray into obituary, from June 25, 2003:

"...such is the duality of the Southern Thing."--DBT

The City of Atlanta and the State of Georgia lost two icons of our recent history this week: Maynard Jackson on Monday and Lester Maddox just last night. Jackson was Atlanta's first black mayor; Maddox was the state's last segregationist governor.

Both men were incredibly complex; whereas Maddox was notorious for meeting would-be black customers to his restaurant with a pistol and friends armed with pick handles, and was elected to the governor's mansion as a hard-line segregationist, as governor, he appointed more African-Americans to public positions in Georgia than anyone who had proceeded him, and his administration is still regarded as one free of corruption...not a small feat for a southern governor. Jackson, on the other hand, was involved in the civil rights movement, a friend of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and is widely credited for making Atlanta a modern city of the "New South"; there are also many who've criticized his administrations (both in the 70's and the 90's) as using affirmative action as a system of patronage, quotas and set-asides as cover for graft. Even when he was succeeded by Bill Campbell in 1994, it was widely believed that Maynard was still running the show...and personally benefitting from racial preferences in city contracts.

Don't misunderstand what I'm trying to say here...far be it from me to cannonize Maddox or to demonize Jackson; both men contributed the growth and evolution of the place I call home. Both built, reformed, fought for what they believed, left their respective marks--and both were undeniably human.

I think that we too frequently see our leaders as larger than life. We project our ideals onto them. We credit them for single-handedly winning wars, freeing people, and changing the world for the better. We blame them for bad economies and moral decline.

Maybe that's just easier than all of us accepting responsibility for the world as we continually remake it.
Media criticism from October 8, 2003:

By the way, the FCC says you can say "fuck" on TV now, as long as you don't use it to describe the act of fucking. So you can say, "this is fucking great", "that fucking sucks", and even possibly "fuck you you fucking fuck", but you can't say "Honey, I'm home! Wanna fuck?"
Late-night TMI from the Fall of '04 (when your host was writing his dissertation):

...you cannot comprehend how disgusting I am right now. I think I went to the gym last night (was that last night?) and skipped my shower this morning to go directly to the office from bed. I think I've worn these pants for three or four days in a row. I had onions for lunch. Coffee all day. The way I smell is offensive to me right now. I feel like I should ride the bus home even though my car is here. I was in the bathroom down the hall (which is actually accessible from the main part of the hospital) washing my face just to wake up. I was afraid one of the security guards would come in and think I was a homeless person.


Mr. D said...

Congratulations -- 10 years is quite a milestone.

I'm late to the party, but I'm glad to have the chance to read your thoughts. This is one of the more consistently thoughtful places on the internet and there's no gainsaying the importance of that.

Brian said...

You are very kind. Thank you.

Gino said...

i dont remember when i started, but it was right about the same day that you first read something that i had posted.

and that something probably sucked, anyway.

if recent activity is any clue... i may be stopping soon.

Gino said...

notice: Brian has not stepped forward with a 'No, you didnt really suck that bad...'

i rest my case.

Brian said...

I honestly don't remember if the first thing I read by you sucked or not. :)

(Also, there is the bit about me traveling today...)