Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Retrospective Arrangement

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.


Ray Davis said...

I like you just the way you are, you crazy kid!

If anything, you should try to do a bit worse.

Henry Gould said...

& bravo for the quiet-peaceful, focused atmosphere, with Florida-swamp-color background. rewarding. you are a talking library. (er, that's a compliment in my book.)

Brian said...

I've been at it for over three years now. Like you, I had no real idea what I was going to talk about, though it's been mostly politics, with occasional stabs at poetics thrown in (see the current post as an example). But not having a critical background, I find myself intimidated in that field, so more often than not, I wind up blathering about whatever happens to catch my fancy at the time. Your blog at least has a personality--mine's a damn schizophrenic.

Josh_Hanson said...

Well, I keep comin' back.

Patrick Pritchett said...

Mark -- been meaning to write for some time now as I've become an avid reader of CI. It's always smart and entertaining -- bravo on the first two years!

When I have more time I'll write to ask you for some advice about LZ, whom I'm considering devoting a good chunk of my diss. to -- and also to share some stories about how I ended up teaching, as a lowly adjunct, in the bastion that is Harvard -- where I teach LZ, Opp, et al, when I can. Ah, subversion.

E. M. Selinger said...

Congratulations, old friend, on this anniversary. You're a steady, thoughtful presence on the net; I'd rather read you than any of the more polemical sites, that's for sure. (What, we need more School of Quietude bickering? Put a SOQ in in, says I.)

The only thing that scares me here is that if your blog is two years old, then so is mine. Oops. Maybe I should write on it sometime. Like, after the next three articles are done? Oy, oy, oy, it's hard to be a blogger!

Archambeau said...

Vive les Laodiceanes! Vive, aussie, L'industrie culturelle! Vive Scroggins, un frère du blog dans des bras! Vive les cinquante mille coups!