Born Too Early for the Revolution

23 09 2010

I think I was born too early for this.   It feels weird to be communicating with untold millions.  Or with no one.   I keep trying to get my head around this blogging thing, to find something to compare it to.  It’s a little like standing on a mountain and hollering with a megaphone that reaches every corner of the earth.   But it’s also like self-publishing a book; after all, I don’t have to pretty it up for an agent, or even put a proper sentence together.  In fact, the really odd and liberating thing about this is that I don’t need to get any kind of approval, or to labor under any regulations in order to share my self-indulgent ramblings with the entire world.   This blogging thing is truly a radical concept – it has the power to overcome almost every physical, moral, legal and logistical limitation.  I don’t feel like much of a rebel, yet it appears that all of us have been taking part in a revolution without leaving our homes, or more to the point, our desks. 

Funny how things have turned out.  Those of us who grew up in the 1970’s liked to imagine the future, but it usually had something to do with cars that drove to the moon and colonies on Mars.  Even the skeptical would have agreed that the future was going to be about working toward world peace and putting an end to hunger.   It wasn’t supposed to require sitting and typing; we were supposed to  become cooler, not turn into geeks.    

And it wasn’t supposed to be about the written word.   Sometime back in the 19th century, there were many who believed that the pen was mightier than the sword.  It was only in the 20th that we finally perceived what our most primitive idol-worshiping ancestors knew all along:  that the pen was a laughable wimp, a whimpering rival to its dazzling and sexier sister, the image.   But, now, at the dawn of the 21st century we’re beginning to understand that the little flashing metal box that sits on our desks, or our laps, or perches in our palm like a fluttering bird is much, much mightier than a pen.   And its cold heart holds nothing more exotic than… a keyboard.   Apparently, the written word has made a colossal comeback. 

Where is the fluttering bird leading us?  No one knows.  But in the meantime, it looks like we’re here together – you and I.   I’m going to overcome the weirdness of this and…well, sit at my desk and type.  It’s mostly going to be short essays about things that occur to me as I drive to work in the morning (it takes about 40 minutes).   Nothing earth shaking.  Just thoughts about what I’m reading, or writing, or whatever.  And even though I have no idea who I’m sharing with, I promise to try and keep it coherent.  

And what about you?   You don’t even know me.  Didn’t anyone ever tell you to be careful around strangers?   I might poison you with subversive, perverted ideas.   Or more likely, I might bore you.   Isn’t your time valuable to you?  Don’t you have anything better to do?   I mean, just what is that nature of our relationship?

I think that is actually the heart of the matter.  

Here I am, metaphorically light years away from the Star Wars seventies, given the opportunity to speak to the world.  I don’t have to worry about pandering to advertisers or trying to be liked.  Like a lunatic at Speaker’s Corner, I can just do my thing.   But this is even better than Speakers Corner, because I don’t have to compete with other, weirder speakers for your attention.  I  may try to get you to stay, but I know that you can move on whenever you want.   

That’s ok.   The revolution allows you to leave without feeling embarrassed.   I won’t even know you’re gone.

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