Saturday, October 1, 2011

PERSONAL: 1,000.

If Blogger is not steering me wrong, this is my 1,000th post.

On Valentine's Day, 2008, I did what I'm sure what every person was doing on Valentine's Day: sitting facing a computer, alone, contemplating what to write. I had just turned down a date, because I was on my way to my one true love: an idea. (I didn't realize I was turning down a date, but you notice things when you look back.)

The missive I wrote was a statement of purpose for this blog, and oddly enough it seems to have been the only stable thing about this blog:
This blog is about the future of culture. It cannot be about the future of all culture, only the future of culture from one perspective. The things I am interested will influence what, in culture, I am focusing on: theater, politics, and satire are among the elements that awaken my own critical focus. Because the first step in changing culture is observing it, understanding it, and seeing how the cogs turn. Then the discussion begins as to whether the culture needs the change, and how to effect it. These changes should not have to be radical, but they can happen, and they can happen for good.
(It's painful to have to copy paste a three year old grammar error...)

It was February 2008. A month earlier, on New Years Day, I remember a young Senator named Barack Obama being mentioned as a possible contender against the juggernaut that is Hillary Clinton, who we all knew would be our next president. At the time, Obama was about to go from roughly 10% to 25%, but all I knew was that I looked up his 2004 DNC Keynote, and I was strongly impressed. More impressed than I was by anyone else, John Kerry included (2004 was a rough year, guys).

As a sophomore in college studying experimental theater, I knew that the big question ahead of me was going to be, "What the fuck is this for?" Theater, politics, any of it -- what was my purpose inside of this whole big thing.

That first post was my first stab at an answer.

In that last year of the Bush Administration, I understood that the next few years were going to be years of change. That's about all I knew. And I wanted to know whether there was any way that people like me, people like us, could be involved.

I was, and continue to be, a devoted student of the Cold War. The fascination for me was that, as I studied the Cold War, I noticed that certain historians could explain historical events plausibly as caused by historical, mass forces; other historians could explain historical events plausibly as choices made by influential individuals. Was the fall of the Berlin Wall an inevitable collapse of a difficult-to-maintain social system, or was it cannibalized by Gorbachev?

The question is relevant because I wanted to know whether I could participate in the progress of history. I am someone who firmly believes that the arc of history bends towards justice, but that we have to bend it with our own hands. The question is, how?

If I ever have that answer, it will be my last post -- a nice book-end to a long and fruitful career of blogging.

What has happened, if not me having an epiphany?
  • The force of history had its way with America, in the form of a massive financial crisis.
  • Senator Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, and gave a nation's hopeful optimism a nice crash-course in the limitations of change in a center-right country.
  • Osama Bin Laden stopped being a person and started being past-tense noun.
  • Moammar Qaddafi stopped being a "valuable trade partner," and several of his companion dictators found themselves deposed -- while others showed that with a functioning, brutal army can keep you safe.
  • My home country began an unstoppable slide into close-minded neoconservatism. (And the US made some noises in that direction too.)
  • I founded a theater company.
Obviously, the last point is what made everything happened. Well...

It's been a bizarre three years. For the first year at least, I was typing into a vacuum. If anyone ever came to read these words, it's probably due to Ian Moss, who I first became acquainted with via Twitter, and who eventually invited me to write some work for him. And I stuck to it thanks to some fun cross-blog discussion with people like Isaac Butler and J. Holtham (who was still anonymous at the time!), and RVCBard, and Ian Thal. Rob Weinert-Kendt invited me to write for stagegrade.com. And more.

The theater company produced 9 plays (we're approaching our tenth). I went from being just a student, to being employed on the sales team of a software company. Went from living with three other dudes to living on my own in a place I'm proud to call my home.

And I just finished watching the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I still have no clue if any of it matters. But if it's any small token that I might actually be doing more than spitting noise into the wind, as I was writing this, Travis Bedard tweeted a couple links of things I wrote.

Sometime soon, I'll write post 1,001, about the future.

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