Sunday, August 16, 2009

Six Years

Yesterday marked the sixth anniversary of the launching of this blog at its original location. A few name changes, a few staffing changes, a few near brushed with Ted Barlow's Disease, and a more serious brush with a psycho stalker this past spring, and it's still here. Go figure.

I decided to start blogging mainly as a means to vent, after being exposed to way too much Faux News during a trip to visit in-laws in the summer of 2003 - the sheer volume of pro-war and pro-Bush propaganda had just about driven me nuts, and when I got back home, one of my first actions was to get a Blogger account (blogging was a bit different back in the pre-Google days, in some ways better, in some ways worse, but I digress). The blog was launched on what was called "Fair and Balanced Friday" in 2003, originally under the name "Fair and Balanced? Yeah, Right!" I quickly realized that was an awful name, and then went through a series of changes leading to its present name. The name Notes From Underground emerged as a possibility due to an ongoing interest in existentialist thought, the novella by Dostoevsky by the same title, and a shared criticism of what the protagonist of Dostoevsky's protagonist deemed "men of action" who go through the motions of life without engaging in a critical examination of their surroundings.

I might still have a veteran reader from back around six years ago, but most of the folks in the comments are very recent arrivals. I suspect that once it became obvious that I wasn't going to be a reliable pro-Democrat blogger, that became a turn-off to those who had pro-Democrat leanings and those who were virulent Democratic partisans. Being anti-Bush might have been one of the few areas where those comprising the so-called "left blogosphere" actually agreed. Beyond that, there may have been some variations along the anti-war theme (I'm basically against all forms of state terrorism, which is what wars amount to) among what passes for "left" in the US, but that's really about it. Truth be told, a lot of the so-called "left" was never all that "left" to begin with - that includes those who are partisan Democrats who seem to be completely down with the program of neoliberal globalist capitalism, as well as some of 9-11 truth folks (such as Kurt Nimmo) who although very consistent critics of the Bush regime tended to associate themselves with some sites and individuals who promote a right-wing perspective that I find more than a little unsettling. I find equally unsettling the devolution of American political discourse into rival personality cults (the Palinistas and Obamaistas come readily to mind), in which their partisans merely attack one another (as well as those outsiders who find the whole spectacle enormously stupid) and otherwise behave in a manner bereft of critical thought.

The editorial slant of this blog is largely the same as it has been. I have precious little use for capitalism (especially the extremely predatory form practiced in the US and by such organizations as the World Bank and IMF), pro-theocracy drivel, American exceptionalism, bigotry (be it racial, ethnic, religious, sexual, or sexual orientation), and what I see is a persistent lack of critical or reflective thought in American culture. The very pressing problems of torture and genocide are still very much of interest here, as are the promotion of alternatives to neoliberal capitalism (I'm especially attracted to the "21st century socialism" promoted by the Bolivarian revolution, as well as the on-going experiment occurring in the portions of Chiapas controlled by the Zapatistas), alternatives to imperialism, along with - of course - my continued fascination with pop culture (one can learn a lot about a society's hopes and fears by looking at its pop cultural artifacts).

When I started this thing out, it was simply intended to be a hobby site. I never harbored any delusions of making a living from blogging, nor becoming a celebrity because of something that I had written here. Six years later, I still toil in relative obscurity, by choice. If anything, the problems I had with the weirdo stalker person have encouraged me to keep much about myself and my life cloaked even more in obscurity than ever before. After all, I don't have access to a staff of security guards for myself and family - rather, I am the security staff, and have no qualms about self-defense, by any means necessary.

The Blogtopia Class of 2003 produced a number of excellent writers, some of whom regrettably are no longer with us: e.g., Enemy of the State (Ductape Fatwa's blog, which went silent just before the autumnal equinox in 2006), and Baghdad Burning (which went silent a couple years ago, after Riverbend had to finally flee Iraq). Thankfully, several others from the class of 2003 are still quite active: American Leftist, Left I on the News, Mickey Z: Cool Observer, Orcinus, Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time, and I'm sure a host of others who will slip my mind.

Maybe I'll be commenting on a seventh anniversary next year. Stay tuned...

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