Friday, August 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

From Chait:
One of the reasons I've been fascinated with Sharron Angle's Senate campaign is that she is not merely a candidate with extremely radical views, like Rand Paul, she inhabits an ideological grey area where radicalism starts to become indistinguishable with actual mental illness.

I hope she keeps it up.


As more people believe that the president is a Muslim, the more the line between some abstract Truth and the wisdom of crowds is blurred.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pretty much my view on the issue

"Either you understand and agree with the American values embodied in the Constitution or you don't."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Quote of the Day

Exactly the mind set we need more of:

"One of the realities of our world is that there are gay couples living in what are in-effect common-law marriages: sharing a household, rearing children, supporting each other financially and emotionally, etc. The question put before our society, like others, is whether the law will recognize that reality or not. The answer Ross gives amounts to “no, we must not, because while those relationships look like marriages to us, that’s only because we’ve forgotten – or, perhaps, never yet discovered – what marriage truly is.”

I’m taking a hard line against arguments like that. I have come to be very much against the practice of living inside an idea, rather than living inside of life"
- Noah Millman

Friday, June 11, 2010


Jed Perl has written a wonderful article over at The New Republic. It's a short, 1,000 word piece that talks about the a writer's relationship with his or her work. Specifically, Perl is examines the "freestanding value" of a writer's work. I won't summarize the essay anymore here, as one should read it in its entirety. Instead, I'd like to discuss the significance Perl's theme's have on my overall goals for maintaining a publicly available blog.

The ubiquity of blogging in part of its appeal, as well as its challenge. A well maintained blog requires a focus; and to maintain any kind of readership, some excellent writing. A focus gives readers an expectation which is essential in a diffuse environment like the internet. A focused blog is means, that when someone wants to read about political news or literary analysis, they know where to go. Obviously, they are some excellent exceptions to this idea, (Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish comes to mind) but these exceptions are just that: peculiar instances of excellent writers finding a voice outside of a traditional template.

Part of this necessity for a focus is the tacit admission that the writer is searching for readers. The blogger publishing his or her work is striving for an audience to read and (hopefully) appreciate the published work. This is where Perl's essay comes in; the notion that writing can have utility or "a value apart from the reader" (emphasis mine). This idea is important to me for the reason that I am a student. During the semester, all of my literary endeavors revolve around a class and a grade. This can make writing a horrendously mechanical exercise, where student's use the essay format to regurgitate assigned reading in a relatively ordered way to illustrate to professors the level of the student's comprehension. This can mean papers are often produced without any thought unto the independent or educational value the piece may have for the writer. This is lamentable because writing, Perl explains, "is a way of clarifying one's thoughts."

Writing's elucidating powers lies, in my opinion, within the act of writing itself. Perl explains:
"...there is something monastic about the process, a confrontation with one's thoughts that has as value apart form the proximity or even perhaps desirability of any other reader. I believe that most writing worth reading is the product, at least to some degree, of this extraordinarily intimate confrontation between the disorderly impressions in the writer's mind and the more or less orderly procession of the words that the writer manages to produce on the page" (emphasis mine).

The production of my major papers can be described as nothing short of monastic, which is probably why identify so strongly with Perl's piece. On nights before a papers due date (a sign of my own procrastinatory habits) I seal myself in my small apartment room, prepared with an endless cup of coffee (among other stimulants), a bottle of water and something edible and grainy. There are times where this solitary experience can be described only as a zen transience, where nothing exists within my thoughts aside for the next paragraph, the next sentence, the next word.

The focus here then, is the pursuit of that experience, as well as a practice of the writer's discipline.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Writer's Block

So I'm trying something new; writer's block questions. There's a page over at livejournal (remember when?) which is basically a writing exersize. Get the ball rolling and all that. Here we go:

If you had to tighten your budget (or already have), what would be the easiest thing to cut?

The budget of a college student is notoriously malleable. While I do have some essential expenses like gas, heat, electricity rent and groceries; pretty much everything else is expendable. And even then, I could get by without my car, or I could steal enough from the DCs to cut down my grocery bill. This flexible arrangement is enabled by my family, who finance a large majority of my comfortable life. But the question here is 'easiest,' which is a little tricky. That's because it gives a sense of effortlessness, that there is simply one thing I could do away with which would be both a) painless and b) immediate in increasing my real wages. And as much as it pains be to say this, I think I know the answer: Alcohol. And more specifically: Beer.

I love beer. It's true. Namely, I love expensive beer. Not the $100/per bottle collectors items, just got old fashioned craft beer. It's delcious, it improves my night, and it gives me something to look forward to at the end of the day. and it's also really really expensive over time. As delcious as it is, I can't justify spending $20-40/week for the luxury. So lately, I've been drinking tea instead of beer at nights. I've been sleeping sooner in the evening, and resting better. I have more cash on hand to look at pro-dealing some gear I want.

But, I don't think I'll ever fully quit drinking beer. There's too much fun to be had and to many friends to enjoy a drink with. For now though, it's not an essential part of my life. That's why beer is the easiest thing I can cut to help my budget.