I finally turned on comments after a decade.

I hate most form of online commentary. Twitter and Facebook have really democratized the ability to give one’s opinion on a whole variety of subjects, regardless of whether or not you have any expertise or if anyone should ever hear your voice. In today’s covid-19 climate, everyone is an expert on epidemiology, economics, constitutional law, and all forms of partisan politics.

Outside of trolls, I don’t think anybody actually finds any utility in the comments below a news article. Seriously, who fucking reads these things? My mom does, and seems to get a certain schadenfreude arguing with people and having them respond angrily to her. Yet I for one can’t see any sort of value to doing that.

On that glib and gloomy note, I decided to open up comments on my blog. When I started the first iteration of this nearly ten years ago, I swore that I would never do that, because as a general rule of thumb I don’t care about what other peoples opinions are of me. Or more accurately, I’m so thin skinned as a general rule of thumb that I don’t want to deal with someone’s negative opinion of me, because one shitty comment might be enough to unravel a regular writing habit that I’m undertaking, and I feel that that would be detrimental.

So why do it? Well, I’ve been thinking more and more about trying to cut my teeth as a real writer. I don’t know what that looks like, but a lot of seasoned writers seem to have a blog, and successful blogs have this magical, mystical, elusive sauce known as “engagement.” there are a lot of shiny buzzwords about writing online or doing creative things online. My skin crawls when I hear someone refer to themselves as a “content creator.” You make YouTube videos, bro. Or you write a blog. It’s such a lazy catchall to just call it “content.” Content sounds like something that you fill a mattress with when you run out of cotton and springs, just this catchall for scraps of garbage and seagull remains.

But yes, in a free market, capitalist society, you must constantly churn and create, not unlike producing boots on an assembly line, because there is nobody that can seem to monetize creative works unless they produce it with the reliability of an auto assembly line. It is sort of weird and antithetical to how I think about being creative. I would very much relish the opportunity to only write when I feel like writing, or I have something particular and meaningful to say. It would be fantastic if I felt extremely creative every single Monday, and then had the opportunity to upload it every single Tuesday, with the regularity of a weekly chat show, or other forms of media entertainment. That’s how the economy works. But I don’t think that’s how art works.

But you can’t just shout inside of an empty walk-in closet and hope to become a radio personality. There needs to be ears attuned to what you’re doing. And so the idea is to constantly churn out new *shudder* “content,” have people comment on the ones that they like and don’t like, and potentially get more people to read my blog because they wanna see my feedback on their stupid comments. Although really, the fact that this opening blog post is dripping with condescension and negativity is probably not the right tone to begin such engagement with.

I would love if this blog helped me to connect with people that I find genuinely interesting. In a perfect world, if I meet like minded fellows through the comments on my blog, I’d love to have some of you in on my podcast. Yes, I have a podcast. I sort of took the summer off, not deliberately, but just because with starting a new job, I started to feel really burnt out. I think eventually I’m going to make new episodes for it, but once you get out of the “oh God, I have to make a new episode every week,” mentality, it takes a lot of effort and discipline to get back into that sphere.

If you have any thoughts or ideas, put them in the comments. I do plan on very zealously moderating, as this coincides in a moment in my life where I very freely block people on Twitter and unfriend them on Facebook. Because now that the pandemic has created a full hermitage for me, the likelihood of ever seeing any of these people in real life has become so small, but I really don’t care if I don’t hear bad or negative opinions. Happy weekend.


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