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« Religion, Mud Wrestling and Art | Main | Slang Watch »

September 14, 2003

Posting #1001

A Brief Dialogue

Michael & Friedrich

Friedrich: We are entering a new world-historical era. With my Picasso posting, we have completed 1000 such pieces. A new millennium awaits.

Michael: 1000 posts? How’d we do it? We've only been blogging for a little over a year. I wonder how many words each of us has written?

Friedrich: By my exact count, 11,347,298 for me and 11,347,297 for you.

Michael: Oh, my aching typing fingers! Still, I've never as much fun with writing as I've had blogging. I'm amazed how easy it's been to leave behind the old-media game and move into the web-and-blog world. No regrets at all -- the new world agrees with my soul. How's it been for you?

Friedrich: I've been too preoccupied with the zeitgeist to notice. The burden of history, you know.

Michael: Speaking of history, I was leafing through some early postings of ours the other day. We both started off pugnacious and surly. Thank god that in those uglier times we barely had any visitors. We're much more relaxed and expansive these days.

Friedrich: Relaxed? Expansive? These are decadent concepts.

Michael: I guess we both had a lot of backed-up, festering stuff in us. But the pipes seem clear now. Blogging's lovely. I laugh to myself when i'm around real-writer friends these days who aren't into blogs or the web. Don't they know what they're missing?

Friedrich: Probably not. Your real-writer friends who do not blog are, to speak bluntly, worthless and weak.

Michael: How true. And they'll never know the pleasure of welcoming and enjoying such a classy crowd of visitors as we get.

Friedrich: Yes, our readers are bold spirits indeed. Nonetheless, it would be false modesty to avoid doffing our hats to the crowd.

(They doff.)

posted by Friedrich at September 14, 2003


Here's to the next thousand!
I'll go pop some popcorn ... and I call front row.

Posted by: pinky on September 14, 2003 03:30 AM

Okay. Tea break's over. Slap those fedoras back on your addled pates and hit the keys. Only 5,345,009 more words to go for your weekly quota.

I'm thinking an appreciation of the subtextual tone poems implicit in the Bilbao origamis of Richard Sera, and what they portend for shopping mall installations and performance pieces in Salt Lake City.

Get cracking. I'll be back tomorrow and I'd better see some progress.

Posted by: Vanderleun on September 14, 2003 03:32 AM

Hey Freidrich and Michael, congrats on the 1000. Iam one in the classy crowd that reads your blog and being an upstart does wonders to what I have to say.

Posted by: cecilia on September 14, 2003 05:33 AM

Congrats!! It's sure fun for me to read. What is the evo-bio explanation for what I just heard---Bennifer broke up!

Posted by: annette on September 14, 2003 11:13 AM

Yes, much congratulations. Easily the best of the web, and raising the bar for the rest.


Robert Holzbach

Posted by: Robert Holzbach on September 14, 2003 01:37 PM

A stylish and amusing dialogue, gentlemen. Congratulations on 1001.

I made over 3700 posts in two years as a poetry moderator at Eratosphere, but they were mostly a lot shorter than the ones here. ;)

Posted by: Alan Sullivan on September 14, 2003 06:03 PM

First off, kudos on turning the 1K blogmometer. Wow. I just don't know where you guys find the time, but I'm delighted you do (though I wish I weren't spending as much of my time at your blog.)

A couple of days ago Michael posted a random thought about the nature of blogging, of tacit knowledge (the subject of an excellent and very influential biz book by Nonaka, by the way) and the way in which modern technology has accelerated the editing process to the detriment of better art.

I assume that the unspoken, or tacit message of that post concerned the intersection of art, thought, technology, and aestethics--the ability of new technology, or tools in general, to help us complete those buried connections in our collective unconscious. (I.e. that's what the seemingly random two different parts of the post added up to.)

I was a bit surprised by the vilification of technology as the culprit for waning quality in film and television--the notion that simply because editors now have the tools to edit quickly and concurrently that the cinema and tv is necessarily suffering. While I lament the general drop in quality of these media (and please, let's not pretend that the aesthetics of such don't go in a cyclical manner over time,) I find far more powerful forces driving and dumbing down our mass-produced culture.

I won't go into the long list of causes here (although I'ld like to note that MTV's mindless, cannabalistic, relentlessly superficial and sefl-important crusade to dumb down culture through technnology (video) embodies many of the symptoms.)

I will say this: the promise of the web, and the bottom-up, surprising, links forged by individuals like you who post, link, form new communities and new meanings through surprising and thoughtful edits, displays the promise of new thinking through new tools.

While you are noting the number of posts, the number of words, take a moment to think about the qualitative nature of what you're doing here. You guys are well on your way to becoming maestros of free-association, in super 8, 24, or video. Thanks for taking us along!

Posted by: Tom Ehrenfeld on September 14, 2003 10:20 PM

Many thanks to everyone for the sweet comments, very glad to hear you sometimes find our blog worth a visit. If you'll forgive a corny (but very true) statement: the back and forth with readers, commenters and other bloggers has been a great source of pleasure (and inspiration too, if I can be forgiven for using the word) for both of us. To our surprise, running a blog turns out to be (at least for us) a little more like throwing a dinner party than we expected, and a lot less like getting up on a soapbox than we expected. And what a pleasant surprise that has been.

Many thanks to all for showing up and pitching in. We sure appreciate your company and companionship.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 15, 2003 12:29 AM

I must confess a lingering sense of guilt that is renewed daily when I drop by to listen in on the witty and thought-provoking repartee here. I began reading back during my college decision process - a phase during which I was, among other things, intent on getting out of the Texas swamp and into the 'world of ideas.' You two became one of the most reliable sources of material for mulling within my sphere then, and I clicked happily along - but now that I've landed myself in the clutches of a Lousy Ivy, I find that you're *still* every bit and more thought-provoking compared with the mental stimuli to which I'm being exposed on campus. Now, the natural conclusion, and one which I already espouse, is to simply declare the consistent quality of your contemplations. Yet my ever-vigilant reflex against any potential "easy way out" dictates that I also blame myself for not reaching widely or digging deeply enough here... or at least mutter that I must be paying too much! Thanks and all the best,


Posted by: Neil on September 15, 2003 02:57 AM

Am I to understand that Michael is Castiglione and Friedrich Schopenhauer? That's a pretty odd couple.

Posted by: Aaron Haspel on September 15, 2003 11:11 AM

And so are we!

To paraphrase Mark Twain, Michael and I are two remarkable individuals. Between us we encompass all knowledge. He knows all that can be known, and I know the rest.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on September 15, 2003 11:27 AM

Hey Neil, Thanks for the sweet comment. But what the hell are you doing at an Ivy college? Don't you read 2Blowhards? Get out now, before they destroy your mind, inflate your ego, and ruin your life.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 15, 2003 11:44 AM

You guys usually make my reading day! Keep it up!

Posted by: Deb on September 15, 2003 03:30 PM

Still waiting on the origami Richard Sera items.

Posted by: Van der Leun on September 15, 2003 03:44 PM

Has it only been a year? Isn't it funny how when something becomes habitual (like clicking on your blog at least once or twice a day), one can't remember what it was like NOT doing it?

Posted by: jimbo on September 15, 2003 05:31 PM

What am I doing? - Good question... ay de mi. Well, to play your question straight, the thing is that I started reading just after all the applications were due, and I was leaning toward attending Caltech. When I visited Pasadena for a couple of days, I found the Institute (to my intense chagrin) insular and not the kind of free-ranging cultural exposure I need for a balanced education. At that point it was too late for any additional applications, and the breadth of my interests doesn't suggest a particular school in the first place. Now on the one hand, if you're careful and discerning about your choices, there are a lot of terrific faculty here both in teaching and in research; the campus museums and galleries are second to none, and there's an incredible variety of often first-rate choices for me in the arts and in the sciences. On the other hand, the dorms here are bafflingly badly designed for a place where it's tacitly acknowledged that everybody should be making connections and blah blah blah [much less for one sitting on that disgustingly vaunted double-digit-billions dollar endowment...]. On that note, I've come very close several times already to mailing you rants about the critical socio-architecture of dormitory layouts. And I feel compelled to spend a great deal of time just making sure I stay grounded and consistently down-to-earth [a Texan attending Harvard - can you think of two more viciously compound stereotypes? :D]; your cautionary tales, or advice, or anything else to come are more than welcome in that respect. And yes, a disheartening majority of the student body here is yet more privileged and vapid and desperate to network than I'd prepared myself to brush off - as has been said, "Even homeless people at Harvard have an overblown sense of entitlement!"

...So at times I wonder to myself, three quarters dryly and a quarter just plain ruefully, whether the question might plausibly have become "What self-respecting institution would consider having me now that this's under my belt?"

my warmest regards to you both,

Posted by: Neil on September 16, 2003 02:50 AM

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