Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Yet Again, Done and Learned


No single theme today; I’ll try to make it interesting for you, dear reader.
There have been some surprises since my last “taking stock” essay, (Again, Done and Learned) of 35 posts ago.

Regarding the Occupy Wall Street movement, I posted three lengthy pieces on change, both for individuals and our culture. Lengthy. Obviously I must have been pondering social change ever since living through the 1960’s. Still, it was such a surprise to have so much to say. In fact, I wrote that I was too tired to write a Part Four, which would have been about a higher level of mass organizing. Luckily for me, no commenters said they wanted a Part Four, so I can guiltlessly turn my hand to easier pieces.

Again I’ve had a few people (according to my statistics application) surf deep into my archives (120 essays) but this time– at last! – the surfers included some Yankees, too. Before this, only Europeans were keen enough to surf. Maybe this says something about we Americans, eh?

I’ve been translated again, into Portuguese this time; and again it’s not by people overseas in Brazil or Iberia, but by folks in the US of A. At least, I think it’s the USA, as these guys, about ten of them, couldn’t be bothered to say hello in the comment section. Not that I’m offended, exactly, as I suppose this is average behavior: Historically, only one in ten lepers thanked Jesus for curing them.

Average maybe, but not the expected behavior of a "gentleman," whom Confucius called a “true man.” A sage once split the atom for me of “average/normal.” He told me an average man could run one mile; while it’s normal for a man to be able to run four miles. Since then I’ve sided with Confucius in trying to be true to myself.

The translated essay was the one explaining Japanese animation, my second most popular post.

As it happens, the only essay with more hits is Olympics and Boards. (Feb 2010) I don’t know why folks like it. For that piece, my “compare and contrast” thinking was aided by my earning a diploma, (in recreation therapy) having an Olympian for a roommate, (track and field) and my having served as the chairman of the board, of a for-profit company. (Full Circle Adventures)

While some essays are well trod, others are seldom explored. In fact, some of my oldest pieces have a visitor count of zero. This I know, because as the “blog administrator” I am privileged to see the “cumulative hits” for each post. With my settings at “show 25 titles per screen page” I can scan my body of work with only a few clicks. As it happens, the zeros are only low down on my earliest page. It still feels odd though. Here I am, a real writer, one who scrubs and polishes his pretty little prose, only to look back, seasons later, and notice hit counts of zero. Strange. And so I have been doing… reruns. But should I? Is this right?

Um, yes, there’s precedent for trying to sneak in some reruns. The song “mercy, mercy me” got re-released: But this was only after cutting out my favorite part, the sonar pings. And Cher gave her bank account a boost by re-releasing “I’ve got you babe:” But this was only after tacking on an introduction with Beavis and Butthead. Those two idiots! I would rather Cher had tacked on some sonar! The trick, of course, is once you tack or delete, then you can pander to your audience by giving them the excuse that your piece is “new” and “improved.” And why not say it’s “exciting,” too?

My, such a fine line between pandering and patronizing. Could you even say, “insulting?” Nope! The same public that “consumes” TV and electronics seems to be far beyond noticing any insults. I’ve certainly read a lot of copy about Beavis and Butthead, and almost none of it has been unfavorable.

Many Internet users, of course, although they are “reading” the screen, are the same zombies who would not be reading at all, but passively watching TV, if only they weren’t at a computer. Still, dear reader, if you’re alive enough to read essays, and “only a live fish swims upstream,” then you don’t need me to be pandering. For you, my reruns can be un-new and un-improved.

Regardless of hit counts—hit counts be damned!—Every writer, in the dark hour of the wolf, must wonder whether his output has any meaning. Recently I noticed—and “recently” is the truth, I’m not pandering—that of the 25 titles on my last page, the second most number of hits were to a rerun of Angry With Michael Crichton. No surprise there, since Michael is world famous. My surprise is: The most hits were for a (Blair, being Smart) a testimonial to my friend, the late Blair Petterson. I’m touched, I hadn’t thought anyone would notice.

Truly Blair had friends around the world.

Sean Crawford
January 2012
Footnote: Hour of the wolf: “It’s the time between 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning. You can’t sleep, and all you can see is the troubles and the problems and the way your life should’ve gone but didn’t. All you can hear is the sound of your own heart.”
Susan Ivanova, in Babylon-5,
by J. Michael Straczynski, 1996

Update, to groan or laugh: So, on Wednesday, Jan 12, I came home after finishing a long shift at 11:30 p.m. and decided to post from my "word." I should have waited until I was fresh in the morning. Not only did I misspell the man (JMS) I had spelled rightly, in the above footnote, but I forgot to type in my URL, something I have never forgotten before. Groan, laugh.

Too bad, because I had over 500 hits by morning, and over 1000 when I came home from my day shift.
So far, the hit counts for my most popular posts are only in the 3 digits, and only after a long time. Now here is 4 digits, in 24-hours.
Why? 'Cause it's a "fanboy" post, and so I guess it's OK that I forgot the URL: Such people won't return to an essay site, anyways. Sour grapes.

~The really good news: JMS twittered, "Yeah, it's a nice little piece, thanks for the heads up." This, from a colleague, means more to me than being clicked on by curious web fans. A nice little piece.

~Oh, and remember that one leper out of ten? That one guy must have been special, because from fanboys I am at zero comments per thousand. Fanboys.

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