Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Left - In our Heads

They argue too much. With each other. Too much arguing, not enough lefting. I kid, sort of...but bear with me.

After a while, arguing feels an awful lot like doing stuff, but it's not, except when arguing is doing something. I mean, it sure feels like doing something - you get all hot and bothered, you have trouble sleeping because someone wrote a mean blog response to your blog post, and it goes on and on.

Blogging is an activity, isn't it? Changing people's minds, one hit at a time, right? Arguing is even engaging, right?

I love critiques. If someone could write a critique like Kant did, back in the day, when people just sort of up and stopped doing entire swaths of philosophy, because Kant came up and closed the door on it, and then padlocked it, these problems wouldn't happen, would they?

But we know that's not going to happen again because Kant, the conditions that made his critique possible and the ways in which we know things have changed so much that one can safely say that the door is no longer there to be closed. Got a problem with someone, no matter how outrageous? You've got a platform.

And so I, like many before and after me, hung out our shingles and tried to talk politics, and I really feel I tried. I joined the conversation.

But those blog commenters! What stamina! Who has the time to engage them? To incessantly be at them, to play bugbear to their troll?

How long did I last? Seven months? And now, the tepidity of my political entries, the thin gruel of my iconoclasm, are a point of shame for me.

So where is this strange rambling post going? It's going to the old saw of doing vs. thinking, of writing vs. building stuff. One sees, in the light of the economic colapse, the twilight of the left around the world. What gives? Was it really only a year ago that many of us thought that the moment would be siezed and we would be looking at a very different world?

But, and this is the kicker, was the problem really that everyone was too busy blogging about the collapse of capitalism to actually try to build something new? Remember people, comment patrolling is work! Blogging is work!

Back to the question though - I feel the answer is no. Most of us, in our own ways, are both in the online world and, perhaps unsurprisingly, eat and sleep and go to art museums and church and defecate like real people too, you know, like in Ulysses.

And I suspect a lot of those people, and a lot of bloggers, participate in the world. And we participate in the world by allowing governments and corporations to be who they are, because it's too much work to do things any other way. I think sometimes why I walk away from the online world is that there continues to be something strangely shameful about it, in that it reveals me for someone bourgeois enough to talk about my life and things I think about it in public, but never about the things I do in my life that affect actual people.

Maybe the issue then, and the issue in the post I linked to way up above is that somehow all this talk among the left, all these critiques, all these posts and forums, is that they all feel like statistics, as in statistical reports. We are all sitting around reading statistics everyday. And helping out in a soup kitchen doesn't help, because after a while the people you help also start to become statistics.

To sum up, blogs lack the taste of the real.

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