Over the weekend—around 3 pm Sunday afternoon, to be exact—this little website welcomed its 100,000th visitor since opening on January 7. (Whoever you were, I apologize for not having a banner screaming “You Are A Winner! Click Here for Your Prize!") Now, I still have a complicated relation to these metasystems of measurement. On the one hand, as I’ve said before, I think it’s a terrible waste of time to keep track of these blog accessories (partly because it’s so seductive), and part of me just doesn’t want to care about the traffic-recording devices. On the other hand, I obviously care enough to have registered with that Truth Laid Bear ecosystem, and I’m just driven and competitive enough to complain about it. I mean, come on—I’m a rodent? I’m behind John Bruce ("In the Shadow of Mt. Hollywood") in the rankings even though I have ten times as many visitors as he does (and rightly so, I might add)? What’s up with that? How can I be only number 1169 (up from the low 1700’s, but still) when I’ve been getting over 1000 visitors/day? I demand ecosystem justice!!
Besides, I am not a rodent—I AM A MAN! (Or at least maybe a mammal or a marsupial of some kind.)
Oops, sorry about that. Got carried away.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who’s told me about the tracking system over at Technorati, and special thanks to Tom Burka for (a) explaining to me that N. Z. Bear tracks only the sites that have registered with him, and (b) confirming, in what he calls a “reverse denial,” that he might very well have said the things I said he might very well have said about the current satire crisis.
But now I have a question. My semester’s finally over, and I have a couple of small things to finish off (review essay, reading page proofs) before I begin writing Liberal Arts: What Really Happens Inside the Classroom and Why and The Left at War. And, having been quite encouraged by the site traffic so far (and most of my reader email), I’ve decided that I’m going to keep up this blog for the summer. So I’m asking for reader feedback.
What kind of things would you—or do you already—like to read here? What would you like to see more of? Less of? None of?
Here are some of the many options you can choose from (or make up your own!):
___ More hockey blogging! There is a profound shortage of academic hockey bloggers, and we need them more than ever for the final two rounds of the playoffs!
___ Less irony! We come here to find out what you’re really saying in your annoying little New York Times Magazine essays about SATs and grade inflation, not to get still more deferrals and demurrals from you!
___ More irony! The site should be more Wildean, not less! After all, as Lord Henry says in The Picture of Dorian Gray, “being natural is simply a pose, and the most irritating pose I know.”
___ More on Kerry! Your silence speaks volumes—you know he’s really not what you wanted! Tell us what you think of this election beyond the simple and overwhelming need to defeat Bush!
___ More hockey! Explain why the NHL playoffs are so much better than the NBA—we know it in our bones, but we’d like to see the reasons written out! Most of all, we need play-by-play accounts of your own games!
___ More on academe and its foibles! Don’t let the online discussion of academic literary study be dominated by cranks and curmudgeons—tell us more about the business from someone who actually enjoys it! And go ahead and be ironic whenever you want to!
___ More on politics! Never mind academe and its foibles—that’s your day job! Give us your take on the events of the day, like those left-progressive bloggers and journalists you read whenever you’re not reading and teaching literature and cultural studies!
___ More cultural studies! The Raymond Williams interlude and the Stuart Hall interlude—that’s what we like! In fact, just transcribe entire passages from the British tradition—never mind your commentary!
___ More Onion-esque satirical items! You know, like “Conservatives denounce gay marriage, Mars mission,” and “For a full and complete investigation.” That’s what we’re here for—not your ponderous maunderings about the state of the union!
___ New pix! The family pix you have up here are two or three years old, and you yourself aren’t even making eye contact with us!
___ More hockey, dammit! How many times do we have to ask?
For this post, comments open. Be constructive or be deleted.
Give us whatever you want to write. Even more hockey, if you must; I mean, it’s not like we’re obliged to read everything, and—despite the hockey—this is rapidly becoming one of the must-read blogs (well, except for the hockey bits). The Lieberman post is a perfect illustration of why I say this. Thank you, very sincerely. For almost everything.
(Now, if you were to start blogging about soccer...)Posted by on 05/10 at 09:26 AM
More show tunes!Posted by Josh on 05/10 at 10:20 AM
I’m going to have to agree. I read you (well, pretty much) every day!
OT, do you have any advice for my son, 17 years old, a Junior at Guthrie High? I can’t for the life of me remember his PSAT scores, but he was on the 98th percentile. 4.0, honor society, yada, yada, yada. And except for wanting to get out Oklahoma, and neighboring states, he doesn’t know what he wants to do or where he wants to go.
I’m sorry for bothering you. I know you’re busy. You can tell me to go to hell, but I am a shameless shill for my son.
Thank you, and again, I love your web site!Posted by on 05/10 at 10:24 AM
I’m glad to know we will have your page to read through the summer. No real suggestions for improvement—I like the irony and skip the hockey—just keep doing what you’ve been.Posted by Jeremy Osner on 05/10 at 10:40 AM
How about greater accountability? I mean, c’mon, Devils over Flyers in 7? When is the apology forthcoming?
Otherwise, just keep up the good work. We have to write about want we want to write about, yes?
Posted by Sean on 05/10 at 10:54 AM
Nice to know you’ll be around.
Definitely more Jamie, with or without the theoretical exegesis (I appreciate it, but suspect it’s not always a kick to write); more election-year politics, whether or not it ever transcends Anybody But Bush (which, right now, seems sort of transcendent anyhow); even a little more hockey, especially if you can figure how to get John Leclair a goal or two. The day job—not so much (it’s similar to mine; it’s my living, not my life).
Thanks Michael.Posted by on 05/10 at 11:03 AM
1) More irony!—and don’t forget some Kierkegaard with your Wilde.
2) More disability stuff!
3) More politics!—
And it all ties together: GHW Bush signed the ADA, and now junior is running a recruiting drive for the amputee and brain-injured communities.Posted by on 05/10 at 11:23 AM
I have guessed that one’s weblog can have eye contact or irony, but not both. I do not visit your site for eye contact.Posted by Ken Smith on 05/10 at 11:55 AM
Irony, academe, politics, and hockey are why I come here. More of any or all would help entertain me for the summer. Oh, the Curtural Studies analysis seduces me too.Posted by on 05/10 at 11:55 AM
Love the irony, stuff on the academy, Onion/Daily Show-type riffs, and politics. Your stuff is frequently brilliant (only when you wrote it did I realize how Rush’s mockery and lack of concern over Iraqi prisoner treatment aids the enemy) and hilarious. Love the wit. You are a sane lefty—we need more of those!
No offense, but I skip the hockey stuff and merely skim the disability posts.
Also, are you going to keep the comments? I like the comments. You generously replied to an e-mail I wrote a year or so ago and I would’ve liked to keep corresponding, but I didn’t want to come across as a stalker. So please consider this a vote in favor of keeping the comments. That way, I can respond to your posts without hesitation.Posted by Jim E. on 05/10 at 12:12 PM
More irony, more politics, more irony combined with politics. You have kept alive the fine art of the highbrow skewer.
The academia stuff in kind of interesting to an outsider. The other stuff, whatever fuels your fire.Posted by on 05/10 at 12:36 PM
Hmmm, on the basis of the first 10-11 responses, I’d have to say that the hockey blogging is low-priority stuff. Go figure-- it’s almost as if there are other things going on in the world. And in another month the season is over anyway. . . .
As for my Devils-Flyers prediction, Sean, I take full responsibility for any mistakes that were made. Needless to say, if I felt I could not be effective as a hockey blogger, I’d resign in a minute. I would not resign simply because people try to make a political issue out of it.
Seriously, thanks to everyone for the advice and kind words so far. I actually do have something planned on disability-- a response to Randy Cohen (the NYT ethics guy) on parents casting votes on behalf of cognitively disabled children over 18. And I’ll think seriously about keeping comments on 24/7-- it would represent, for me, a Whole Nother Level of blog-related program activity, but it might be fun, as indeed the blog itself has been fun.
In the meantime, Ms. Not Together, if you’d be so kind as to drop me an email about your son, I think I could give you a better reply in that medium than this one. Thanks--Posted by on 05/10 at 12:44 PM
More irony, of course. And since this is an academic weblog, more simile, metaphor, synecdoche, prosopopoeia, auxesis, metonymy, and antanaclasis.
Otherwise, babble away. It’s all good.
Oh, yeah—and more comments, or at least trackback. It’s as if you don’t want to hear from us. <sniff>Posted by PZ Myers on 05/10 at 04:11 PM
I agree on opening up the comments. I often have witty remarks to share with others, and I want to make sure they reach as broad and miscellaneous an audience as possible, so I think to myself, “Whose fame could I leech off of? It can’t be someone really big, since they get 200 comments a post… hmm....” You could solve this conundrum for me in one fell swoop.
I vote for more cultural studies. On principle, I won’t vote for you to cut anything, even the types of articles I tend not to read, because scroll bars do actually exist for a reason. If you’re not going to be self-indulgent on your blog, then you have no business running a blog.Posted by on 05/10 at 04:14 PM
Hey and, hockey is not really an option over the summer anyway, is it?Posted by Jeremy Osner on 05/10 at 04:24 PM
Posted by on 05/10 at 05:09 PM
Just wanted to add another vote for more cultural studies--I’ll take another Raymond Williams fix any time.Posted by on 05/11 at 08:49 AM
I enjoy it all, except the hockey, haha. I’d especially enjoy more on Jamie. I’m finishing “Life as We Know It” and it’s been a great read.Posted by Donna on 05/11 at 09:10 AM
It’s me again. Love your blog, read it every (work) day!
I love your family stuff! More of it!
Oh, by the by, I haven’t had a chance to get to my email, yet. It’s blocked at work (eyes roll). I’ll still send you a mega-letter begging for advice for my son.
I appreciate your offer, I know you’re busy.Posted by on 05/11 at 03:12 PM
As your 100,000th visitor (nobody else claimed it), I will accept your prize: Continued blogging from you.Posted by allaboutme on 05/12 at 06:30 AM
I’ve already made a plea for even more heterogeneity in a private message. But, enjoined by Michael to post publicly, I’ll add that I think it’s REALLY IMPORTANT for blogs like this one to show their authors as REAL PEOPLE—I know, that’s not very post-everything of me—who do things like TAKE CARE OF THEIR KIDS and indulge in hobbies that brand them as “unamerican” or at least “canadophilic” like HOCKEY.
Like John Kerry recently said, “Have you had a beer with me?” I think the only way that we are going to make any progress in changing the United States and, by unfortunate extension, the world, is by convincing the undecideds out there that they would rather have a beer with US than with THEM. That was Bill Clinton’s trick after all. I’m a much bigger Clinton fan in retrospect than I was at the time—compared to W, you know— but even back at the beginning admired his facility for making himself seem like a person to hang with.Posted by Charlie Bertsch on 05/12 at 07:33 AM
Here’s a thought: why don’t you expand your menu to include more categories?
That way we can sample without wading and you don’t have to curtail any of your thoughts.
cheers.Posted by Jorge on 05/12 at 09:02 AM
I’ve only recently found you (via Atrios and Tom Burka) and am having a great time reading through the archives. Write whatever you want—it’s all good and the variety is really fun—whatever will keep you interested enough to keep writing will be just fine.Posted by NYSusan on 05/12 at 09:48 PM
Semiotics. Definitely more semiotics. Possibly even hermeneutics.
Definitely not hockey. Perhaps cricket? (much more civilised)Posted by on 05/13 at 03:36 AM
Michael—i still don’t know how you find the time or the energy, but i love to read what you seem to be most inspired to write (even the hockey...!). I appreciate the sentiment in asking your readers what they appreciate—you are obviously an amazing teacher—but i find that when you seem to be swept up in the moment, as when you were describing the car-racing or when you wax ironic, you are just a pleasure to read. I suspect that if you continue to use your blog to tap into what inspires you, you will continue to inspire us.
as a fellow academic, you inspire me to continue to enjoy the processes of reading, thinking and writing, not only as a professional practice but also as a personal pleasure and a civic obligation, as a way of reaching out and in.
thank you for sharing our spirit, thoughts, time and wit with all of us, and making me experience a sense of connection to a political and intellectual community. It means a lot! Best to you and your family, NaomiPosted by on 05/15 at 04:55 PM
My advice is that you blog about what you feel moved to blog about. Whether that be with passion, wit, irony, or whatever else you believe you will do in some interesting manner.
And then let readers find you.
Not vice versa.
Cause, really, the gig doesn’t pay very well, and if you don’t blog because you want to blog, you’ll find yourself not blogging.
And a little known fact is that most new-fangled computers come equipped with a “scroll” key (typically, more than one), and readers can find some posts fascinating or hilarious, and scroll past those they do not.
I grant that not all readers have found out about this, but, really, are those the readers you want?
Signed, a Large Mammal who has been doing this for two and a half years. (And, so, thus, have prior claim on blogging politician/Palpatine jokes. That’s a joke, son.)Posted by Gary Farber on 05/18 at 02:40 AM
Previous entry: Joe-probrium