Why is it so difficult to blog?
On the face of it, the question which graces the top of this post is easy to answer; it isn't. Blogging is one of the most open, democratic and easy things for anyone with access to a computer to do. It's open to all. My own prejudice is for people to identify themselves and to blog under their own name, but even where people have sensitive jobs, a quick glance at the sidebar will reveal that a pseudonym and a degree of inside knowledge will go a long way. My question, true to the foundational solipsism of this particular blog, is for myself; why is it that a few years ago, I could blog practically every day at least once, and now I find it difficult to do so once a week?
There is, I think, a mixture of practical and general answers to the problem. One is facebook; a communicative medium which is much more responsive than blogger, and which, along with twitter, is more instant, and less forced. I try to keep an open mind and to respond to arguments and to others, but on facebook the effort is taken away from me and is mandatory. I'm addicted to the sheer variety of the medium too, and am constantly stunned by how flexible it is. One real pleasure, for instance, is seeing how much my mother has taken to connecting as a 'silver surfer' with others, latterly through a tablet device, connnecting with people everywhere. I also like the idea that people with whom I grew up but who I would never meet or see in a hectic life are there, for at least a moment, to discuss things with. If one tried to explain facebook or twitter to some coma victim who had been passed by, madness might be implied--but the strange thing is that they keep me at least apparently sane.
Secondly, blogger itself has become less useful as a platform and I am reluctant to step elsewhere. It has served me well, but google are now doing all sorts of silly corporate things like making it difficult to use the opera browser, quite apart from a cumbersome redesign that has created difficulties with paragraphing and fonts. I could be more adaptive, but I really do not want to be. A switch to tablet-based browsing, which ought to help, does not. Good as the keyboards on capacitative screens now are (and I am hopeful as a child at christmas about my new google nexus tablet, soon to be of these parts), they just aren't the same.
There is, however, a bigger problem. Frankly, I have realised that the utility of having informed opinions about anything, and laying them out as predictions or observations, is in the present climate minimal if not diminishing. I'm quite proud that this blog, for half a decade, has been predicting exactly how the world economy would crash; laying out the green scam and the alternatives; noting the collapse of the euro and the eu; questioning the deligitimisation of the British state; and raising an eyebrow at the decline of the USA and the resurgence of a sort of bastard Imperial presidency beneath the eye of a morbidly animated but still brain-dead set of media. I've had run-ins with trolls who have proven to be wrong, and have been typecast by others in ways which now demonstrate their irrelevance. I've made electronic friends, about which I am pleased, and I have vented frustration through the keyboard.
Yet, what has it all been for? I still live in a country that should not be badly governed, should not be mad, should not be closed in what it offers to people, and in how it treats them--and yet still is all these things. The US with which I fell in love as a teenager, and the study of which got me three degrees and a good deal of knowledge about myself, is still an imaginary construct. Whole legions of people who think themselves clever still parade a set of gnats ass opinions about the Church and the supreme sacrifice upon which it is based at the drop of a hat, and western civilisation still plunges towards corporate socialism and the culture of death under the manic hands of a bunch of liberals who have secured their own position.
No blog could have stopped all that, of course, and it would be madness itself to suggest that any could. What I mean by my meandering, I suppose, is that the blog was and is a comfort when I considered all this, but now is increasingly running the risk of just repeating the same things over and over again. The world's problems are complicated but not complex; a return to ethical behaviour, a defusing of derivatives, common sense self-government, respect for tradition, critical intelligence, proper education, flat taxes and a suspicion of pseudoscientific cults is well within the reach of everyone. Resilience from war is harder, since Islamism and savagery, two separate things dedicated to encouraging the darkness, abound, but there is no problem that can't really be solved by practicality and a little tough love or the odd clandestine enterprise. It's just that absolutely no one seems interested in listening. Public and professional life has become a narrow bubble in which evidence, truth and questioning are filtered through the interests of a very small, mysterious class of people who somehow seem to have shut absolutely everybody else out. In such circumstances a blog becomes a sort of everyday book concerned with the record of decline. It holds the potential to be depressing, or self-alienating.
It may simply be that my circumstances have changed. Words now can't explain the world and the chasm into which most people are falling. These days, a good book, a chat, a film here or there, exercise--these are much more rewarding than thinking about what passes for politics or contemporary history at all, because, well, when you know where things will end for us as a society and economy--and our particular ending is obvious, and approaching--what else is there to do?
It would be nice, though, for blogging to be once again the fun it was. As Tommy Cooper notes below, however, things are never really as bad as they seem;