Nietzsche, The Atheist Who Didn't Flinch
The Son Avenger, and Other Things

The Future of This Blog

I have been brooding about this for months. Mostly the interior argument went like this:

On the one hand: maybe it's time to quit, for various reasons (see below).

On the other hand: I'd like to keep it going through 2023 at least, to make it a full twenty years. And I do enjoy it. 

I have a couple of major writing projects in progress, and the blog is a big distraction from them. Always, at least in the back of my mind, I'm concerned about the next post, whether or not this or that is worth writing a post about, writing about it, and so forth. I'm a slow writer, and very easily distracted--I suspect I could be accurately diagnosed with at least a relatively mild form of attention deficit disorder. So even a short and straightforward post is likely to engage my attention for longer than it should. And to keep me from making progress on those big projects. 

Secondary reason: one of the big reasons I've kept it going for so long is the conversation, and there's a lot less of that than there used to be. Blogs have been out of fashion for quite a few years now, and so-called "social media" has a lot to do with that. There was a point where Facebook became really popular, and at least some of the people who used to comment here migrated there. And, I suppose, Twitter and whatever else takes their fancy. 

But on the other hand: I like doing it. I have this compulsion to write. And the conversation, though not what it used to be, is still worthwhile. So-called social media doesn't really seem to have a lot of it. I used to see a fair amount of it on Facebook, but as a great deal of it was about politics, people would get into raging arguments. And then a few years ago it seemed that most of them just gave up on that and withdrew. So, somewhat counter-intuitively, blogs, or at least this blog, can still serve that purpose. I say "counter-intuitively" because Facebook and Twitter require creating an account, which they try to insure is really you, and, for the former at least, involve creating a circle of "friends" with whom you can converse, whereas anyone who stumbles across this site is free to comment on it, anonymously if he or she prefers. I can remove comments, of course, and ban persistently obnoxious people, but I've only done the former a few times and the latter never. 

So I'm going to stick with it, but with a change. I'm going back to my original procedure, and only post once a week. That does not mean, however, that I'm reviving the Sunday Night Journal. Those posts were little essays that were often fairly clearly planned and carefully written. The weekly post from here on (until or unless I change my mind) will be more casual, perhaps a series of not-necessarily-related remarks: a weekly miscellany. I've already written most of the next one, which I expect to finish up and post this weekend.  

My thanks to all who have read and contributed to the blog over the years, both as readers and participants.

In case you're interested, here is the very first post: a review of the last installment of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies. I have not watched the new Tolkien-based series on Amazon, and don't intend to. Apart from the question of its quality, fidelity, and so forth, I just don't want Hollywood images crowding out those of my imagination.


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Sorry to hear this, but glad you're keeping it going for at least the one post per week. Of course being the owner and sole proprietor you can always put something up on an ad hoc basis, should something provoke your interest.

I can recall in pre-FB days my friends and I frequently having spirited email discussions about various things, but that has all gone the way of the dodo because of FB. I get the impression that a lot of those discussions have moved there, but that since I'm not on it I'm left out of the picture. Not that I care, mind you. I wouldn't be on FB either way.

I think I convinced a lot of my progressive or prog-leaning Fb friends that I'm some kind of Trumpist fanatic because I pooh-poohed the "literally a fascist" nonsense about him. And also sometimes ventured to correct false "facts" about him, like the great Charlottesville lie.

I stay on Fb mainly now just to keep in touch with family and friends who don't live nearby.

I have been watching the new Tolkien thing on Amazon Prime, Mac. It is mildly pleasant and inoffensive, but I'm not sure I really understand what is going on. LOL
The Galadriel is of course not near as charismatic as Cate Blanchett was even with her very brief scenes in the films.

But I'm going through a period of being sick of all of the "shows" streaming, so having trouble focusing. Part of it is probably my big upcoming move. I have instead been re-watching lots of David Lynch stuff: Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, etc.

You could certainly do a lot worse than delve into Lynch. I’ve been thinking of trying Blue Velvet again. I watched part of it decades ago and bailed out when the Dennis Hopper character started getting really weird with the beautiful woman, whose name (the actress) I can’t remember…Belluci?

Someone who really gets Tolkien told me the other day that the new series is pretty much ordinary mass entertainment.

~~I pooh-poohed the "literally a fascist" nonsense about him. And also sometimes ventured to correct false "facts" about him~~

I got the sense that that's why Grumpy left, which was disappointing.

Lynch is great, mostly, but I have a hard time with Blue Velvet for the same reason you mention, Mac. The actress was Isabella Rossellini. I've been meaning to watch the Twin Peaks conclusion thing again and will probably do so later this Fall.

The show that I've really been taken with is Succession, which is the one about the four siblings scuffling for control of their elderly father's billion dollar media empire. It's extremely crude and vulgar in many ways, and at first I didn't like it because of that, but once you're onboard with the satire/dark comedy aspect of it (it took me a few episodes) it's hard to stop watching, because it's so smart and on-target. Be forewarned, however. The language is unremittingly atrocious, in terms of both vocabulary and rude content. But the writing is very intelligent, and the acting is marvelous. If it were either a straight drama or a straight comedy I probably wouldn't watch it. But the satire makes me forgive a lot.

That did seem to be a factor in Grumpy leaving. She also didn't like me criticizing Pope Francis.

I haven't considered Succession because it's HBO and I would have to pay extra for it. I guess if it's really successful the library might have the dvds.

I hate how blase I've become about bad language. I find it very tiresome but can usually just ignore it. I talked to someone the other day who had started watching The Wire on my recommendation and stopped after a couple of episodes because the language was so bad. I didn't even remember it being that bad, though given the milieu it portrays it would inevitably be somewhat that way.

That's funny. That was why I quit after one show. It seemed like every other word was the f word. Also, it was the only word I could understand.

I am glad you are sticking around, and about once a week is as often as I have time to read. I never would have imagined being busier at 71 than at 40. I think it's because everything takes me so much longer.

I never found another blog with conversation as good as the conversation here even now. On the great majority of blogs I read, the commenters only talk to the host.


Well obviously The Wire must be a lot worse than I remember. It's probably been 10 years, or close to it, since I watched it. Possibly even more. So maybe I've forgotten. But in any case it didn't stop me from watching it.

Rod Dreher's blog used to have some very interesting conversation. And I say "interesting" rather than "good" because it was sometimes very rancorous, but there were a lot of people who knew what they were talking about and were capable of defending their views (or attacking yours). But The American Conservative killed it by only allowing subscribers to comment, and only under their own full name.

I'm glad you're glad. :-)

It's not very fair of me to complain to the people who do still read and comment about those who don't. Reminds of a pastor at the church I grew up in. I remember my parents complaining that he was always complaining about people who don't go to church, but the only ones who heard him were the ones who did go.

I suppose you could complain about us monsters who always read and seldom comment :)

Succession is available on DVD -- that's how I've watched it. At first the language really bothered me (it's worse than in The Wire, truth be told), but after a little while I started to see the point: these are very successful people in a worldly sense, but they are all basically rudderless in terms of morality. Why would they be expected to talk any different? I think that the fact that they all talk as crudely as they do is part of the satire. As is the related fact that when they have to actually slow down and talk about something serious and personal they have a hard time doing so, partly because they can't be all jokey and swear-y about it.

I do still try to avoid things that have lots of foul language in which it seems to have no point. I thought that The Wire transcended its language in that regard, but I can certainly see how someone might disagree.

Re: blogs, the only other site that I frequently visit that has/had quality conversations without rancor is Front Porch Republic. But the amount of commenting on there over the past couple years has dropped off as well. There used to be a lot more back-and-forth than there is now.

I am waiting for the local library to fetch me, from another library in the same region, the dvds of the Inspector Alleyn series, based on Ngaio Marsh books. I’m feeling a great desire to spend some time in that more civilized world.

I think you'll like the Alleyns -- they're very good.

Speaking of a more civilized world, I'm currently reading Bradbury's 'Dandelion Wine.' It's set in small midwestern town in the 20's and is partly based on Bradbury's own boyhood. This is the 3rd time I'm reading it -- wonderful stuff.

I can't think of another blog that has real conversations among the commenters, let alone non-rancorous ones. I also read much more than I comment, but when I refrain from commenting on posts about some topics, that's my way of keeping the quality of conversation high ;-)
I wonder to what extent Covid is responsible for the decline in online civilized conversation. I know that on our local listserv, online Covid-related debates (especially during the lockdown) led to some real acrimony and ruptures of real-life friendships. Since then there's been a lot less discussion of ideas on the list.
Rob, I read Dandelion Wine several years ago and didn't like it much at all, though I can't now remember why. You make me want to give it another try.

I haven't read Dandelion Wine. Bradbury for me has always been a pretty mixed bag, but he can be very good.

Don and Anne-Marie, I am happy to have readers, whether or not they comment. The discouraging thing to me is that so many hits on the blog are from Google and seem to be searches for some specific thing that I happen to have written about, and those people don't usually stick around. A search for "getting started with kierkegaard," for instance, returns my post by that title in the first half dozen or so hits. But there's not that much pure philosophy here. I guess that's part of the price for writing about a lot of different things.

I personally didn't notice a lot of change in online conversation with Covid, but I'm sure that would vary a lot.

Well, Anne-Marie, in a certain sense it's very much a "boy's book" so maybe that has something to do with it. Not so much that it's aimed at them, but that the narrative centers around them.

In my group of friends we didn't have too much disagreement over Covid -- ours tended to be more Trump-related. I don't know that any friendships were severed, but some were certainly strained.

The only covid-related argument I recall on Facebook was about whether Facebook should suppress information that didn't support the government's view. In that context I was surprised by the authoritarianism of some progressives. I'm not surprised anymore.

I haven't had as much time to read and comment here as I did in the past; my life just keeps accelerating, somehow, though it scarcely seems possible! I always enjoy reading the things you write, and would be sad if you shut it down for good.

Janet, please don't say that I'll be busier in my 70s than I am now! Although I guess it's possible I might have several dozen grandchildren by then... so...

Mac, my view of the things you've written about Trump and PF is that they've been balanced and reasonable. More balanced and reasonable than what I've read pretty much anywhere else.

I've pretty much given up on FB myself; too many heated Covid debates in the early going were disturbing my peace and straining my friendships. It wasn't worth it.

I have likewise drifted away from reading your blog regularly. More distraction than lack of time in my case. I was just checking in yesterday, in fact, and I see I've missed several posts.

I'm glad you think I've been balanced and reasonable on those topics. A baby boomer quirk: my first interpretation of "PF" was "Pink Floyd." I actually had to stop and think to realize what you meant.

Yes, sorry for that. I don't usually like to use abbreviations, but when you're pressed for time...

In fact, just as I had finished writing that comment, my children came thundering downstairs shouting that the oven was on fire. As indeed it was. But all turned out ok in the end. It seems some Thanksgiving turkey bits had fallen to the floor of the oven on the weekend, and then ignited when heat was applied.

What do Donald Trump and Pink Floyd have in common?
They were both mentioned today at the same time in Mac's blog.


Craig, sometimes when I think my life is too hectic and full of distractions, I think of such incidents and tell myself to shut up.

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