Culture Industry is now two years old. I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to do with a weblog when I started this one back in 2005. I knew there were models out there that I liked, models of day-to-day critical intelligence, of lively and amusing writing, of thoughtfulness. Culture Industry has not been particularly distinguished by any of those elements, but rather by contingency, haste, & a kind of poetics of reaction – ie that its entries are more often determined in reaction to other things – others’ books, others’ weblogs, etc. – than by any “ideas” of my own (“ideas” a commodity I realize I have a startlingly small stock of).
When I started posting entries here, I had in mind a sort of electronic Fors Clavigera, a place where I could put up readings & ramblings & polemics, notices of new & newly read books, even perhaps a bit of my own poetry from time to time. That latter function fell by the wayside a good long while ago: in the implicit economy of poetry, it turns out, readers (& why shouldn’t they?) are more likely to value your work if it appears on someone else’s website than on your own.
I’ve discovered that I am at best an uncomfortable polemicist – perhaps even a classical “liberal,” so willing to entertain all sides of an issue that I end up in a kind of Joycean paralysis or Laodicean lukewarmness.
The virtual community of the blogosphere is probably ultimately overrated, but nonetheless very real. (When one lives in Palm Beach County, one values any aesthetic community at all, even a virtual one!) But like all self-selected communities, the alt-poetry blogosphere all too often becomes a fishbowl of tiny & petty quarrels, of distinctions without differences. Long may that fishbowl flourish.
At any rate, two years later Culture Industry is on the verge of having had 50 thousand visits (no, I don’t know how many thousand of those are my own), nothing special in the poetry blogosphere & barely a blip on the radar screen of weblogs in general, but an intensity of attention that I had frankly never expected when I began the thing, & for which I am immensely grateful. Thanks for dropping by. I’ll try to make it a bit better in the future.