No, it’s not a post on indexicals. Worse, it’s bit of navel gazing metablogging. Mea culpa.

Wait – I’m not sorry. Fuck you! This is my space to do with as I please –
but I digress.

So, what in the hell am I doing here? I don’t feel a part of the ‘blogosphere’ in the sense of an alternative public or anything like that. I don’t feel like a news service or anything like that (though I do appreciate others who do serve more of that function). This space is like a notebook for me to put down some ideas and to try to encourage myself to write more often, in order to think things through.

That’s not all it is, of course. It’s public, in a sense. I like to use the metaphor of being in someone’s living room with these blog things, and to joke about making coffee for people electronically. The metaphor doesn’t hold, though, because I don’t allow people to wander into my living room uninvited, and I don’t actually talk about these kinds of things in my living room very much. I’m more likely to read or watch TV there. It’s more like my bench at the park, which others do have some kind of freedom of access to. And that access by others is genuinely part of the appeal, it’s part of why the blog as notebook metaphor doesn’t really hold: this space provides me with an impetus to try to think and write in the way that my notebooks don’t.

I must admit it is partially the publicness of it, there’s something gratifying in being read etc, I do sort of have a yearning in the back of my head to be, you know, important. Someone people listen to. Something like a public figure. There’s a proprietary moment to this, and none of it is an urge I want cultivate.

The exciting and fun parts of this space are the conversations it allows to happen, collaboration with friends over ideas. Michael Hardt has commented repeatedly that he greatly enjoys collectively working out concepts, that that is what he sees as happening with his and Negri’s disagreements with Virno over the concept of multitude. I relate to that. Intellectual collaboration feels good, especially in a nonproprietary form.

It’s like when I used to play in bands a long time ago, playing music together feels nice, in the sense of a pleasing synchronicity with someone(s) else, in the sense of crafting an object (however intangible) that one likes, and in the sense of getting better at something by practicing it. Some of my friends and I used to try to do the same thing with writing in our zines, and we had specific questions and issues we tried to work out. That’s the cool part about this space for me. Email lists served a similar function for a long time for me, as a way to maintain an intellectual life when I wasn’t able to get one going in my offline life (after several reading groups failed I gave up trying to recreate that one really great summer long Marx group I was in back in the day.)

In a way it’s still private, in the sense of being personal, despite being collective and being exposed to/approachable by unknown others. That exposedness or being in the presence of potential other, at its best, for me, is not about being looked at so much as it’s a possibility for encountering other people who might join in the process and/or invite me into other processes.

It’s quite easy for that to turn over into something else, though, a (craving for a) position of authority or expertise, a compulsion to have an opinion – and a better one – on everything (or at least on what other people are talking about, or better yet, what they’re about to start talking about), a fear of saying “I’m not really sure” and a tendency to talk before asking other people questions. Must work to avoid all that.