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July 20, 2005


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I just noticed (a few days late) that 2Blowhards has turned three years old. Three years of blogging -- hard to believe! I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of words of writing that represents. It's hard to tell -- wonderfully hard to tell -- because blogging tends to consist not of finite essays but of ongoing conversations.

When Friedrich von Blowhard and I came up with the idea of running a cultureblog, we were dipping anxious toes in a blogosphere that was very sparsely populated where cultural commentary goes. The political bloggers were off and running, but it hadn't yet occured to many people that blogging can just as easily serve as a convenient outlet for sounding off about movies, music, books, and art.

If memory serves -- and it often doesn't these days, so apologies if I goof here -- the only cultureblogs in existence at the time Friedrich and I started Blowharding belonged to A.C. Douglas and Lynn Sislo. I'm glad to see that A.C. and Lynn are still showing the stuff. They both deserve a lot of credit not just for being classy thinkers and writers but for being pioneers.

These days blogging seems almost old-media, and cultureblogging has become a standard part of the blogging panorama. A huge range of people take part, from established pros like Terry Teachout (how does he do it? I mean, and make a living?) to Everyguyblogger, who writes a short posting about how he reacted to the latest "Batman" episode.

Thank god for this expansion of the culture-commentary universe. The world of yakking-about-culture seems -- to me, anyway -- a much saner one than it did when the culture-conversation was run entirely by people with professional positions at institutions, publications, and networks. I think I can speak for Friedrich and me both when I say that the pre-blogging conversation about culture and the arts often seemed downright demented. Much that's basic about the experience of culture and the arts was going not just undiscussed but completely unrecognized. The official commentators often seemed to be off in their own la-la world, carrying on discussions with each other in some cloud cuckooland where only their own thoughts and impressions counted.

Before we began blogging, Friedrich and I were in the habit of swapping innumerable emails about art, sex, and the movies. (We still do this, by the way.) These emails were continuations of conversations we had as movie/art/lit-struck undergrads three decades ago. Three years ago, we looked at what was on our minds; we looked at what was in the papers and the magazines; and we wondered: How could it be that so much of what we observed, perceived, and thought found zero reflection in the public conversation about the arts? Perhaps mistakenly, we didn't feel that the answer to this question was, "Because you're complete weirdos, that's why." We suspected that, if we took some of our email yaks public, we might play a tiny role in opening the larger culture-conversation up a bit.

We've certainly had more fun than we had any right to expect. We've unloaded a lot of thinking and information, if in scrappy and disorganized ways. We've been able to point out some helpful resources. God knows we've learned a lot. But by far the best thing blogging has delivered is something we didn't expect at all, which is the pleasure of meeting and comparing notes with such a terrific array of people -- with other bloggers, with visitors, with emailers, and with commenters.

I'm stunnned by how many smart and enthusiastic people have stopped in for a visit, and I'm delighted by how passionate and informed they are about the arts. 2Blowhards runs on a wing and a prayer. We have no budget, of course, and we're produced on the spare time and energy of a handful of amateurs. Despite this, hundreds of thousands of websurfers have dropped by to take a look. I take this fact to be a sign that Friedrich and I weren't alone in feeling badly served by the traditional artsyak outlets. How lovely for all of us that the web has come to our rescue.

Many thanks on this birthday to my fellow Blowhards, to our Guest Posters, to the many fine bloggers who have linked to us -- but especially to the ever-amazing (and amusing and enlightening) people who stop by to read a few words, to say Hi, and to swap some thoughts and observations. We're honored and thrilled to host such a groovy party.

If any visitors are in the mood to help us celebrate, why not scroll up to the "best-of" button at the top of the blog and treat yourself to a few of our Golden-Oldie postings? We'd be mighty tickled. We'd be even more tickled if a visitor who hasn't yet graduated to Commenting were to take the plunge. Come on in -- the water's fine.



posted by Michael at July 20, 2005


Wonderful, we can celebrate our joint birthday (well, I'm a bit older than your blog)

Hurray to us.

Posted by: Tatyana on July 20, 2005 5:03 PM

Congratulations!! I actually checked out a few of the "best of's..."---FvB's "Animal House", MBlowhard's "Book People vs. Movie People", Fenster's "Norm Crosby/Noam Chomsky." All still good! I wish MBlowhard's essay about his surfing lesson from a few years ago was there---I've shown that to several people who all laugh. And at least one of FvB's essays on how its-OK-(not OK)-to-screw-the-wealthy. But...I am offering unsolicited and I'm sure unneeded advice!

Thanks much for brightening my day!

Posted by: annette on July 20, 2005 5:04 PM

Many thanks to you two classy ladies!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 20, 2005 5:12 PM

Congratulations and thanks. I didn't actually start out to be a culture blogger. My original intention was to give the world a piece of my mind on a variety of subjects, most politics and social issues but I posted one or two posts about music and suddenly everyone was calling me a music blogger and I was getting a lot more attention, which wasn't bad at all, so I just sort of went with the flow.

2 Blowhards is the first culture blog I remember reading and for a long time, the only one. Now I keep finding more all the time. Thanks for leading the way.

Posted by: Lynn S on July 20, 2005 5:43 PM

Thank you for giving us this window into your fascinating minds.

Posted by: Outer Life on July 20, 2005 7:05 PM

Congrats Blowhards! You're not only my favorite blog, I have my own friend from my undergrad days who, inspired by you two (5), wants to start a blog with me this September.

In this, the Blowhards will be quite the role model. I've loved being part of your conversation.


Robert Holzbach

Posted by: The Holzbachian on July 20, 2005 9:05 PM

In blog years, that's getting up there. Thanks. This is the true salon.

Posted by: Sluggo on July 20, 2005 9:14 PM

In honor of your Delbert post, perhaps a call for shooters all around would be more apt than a toast.

I'll go quarter the limes...

Posted by: j.c. on July 21, 2005 12:33 AM

Not to be completely selfish or anything, but if F. von still yakking away with you via email, would you (please, I'm just asking), consider (consider!) posting some of those conversations so that we (that is, I) can read them? I've loved reading this blog over the last while that F. von B. has been gone, but I've missed his take on things, too.

Just asking, of course. But...

Posted by: PatrickH on July 21, 2005 12:34 AM

Happy Blogbirthday. I love Blowhards. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: jult52 on July 21, 2005 9:27 AM

Congratulations. I love this place--the posts and the comments. Here's to many more years.

Posted by: Rachel on July 21, 2005 9:28 AM

PS---I should say a serious thankyou about something. MBlowhard's post on the "artistic temperment" in which the immortal lines "What a wierdo!" were uttered, is actually a bit life-changing. I told a good friend that my childhood would have been a saner and happier place if I'd had a pen pal, dropping in through letters, saying "What a wierdo!" about characters who populated my childhood world. The Blowhards would have been marvellous reality-checkers. So...thanks for it now.

Posted by: annette on July 21, 2005 11:31 AM

[sniff] You guys rock ... [/sniff]

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 21, 2005 11:54 AM

BTW, I keep telling FvB that all he has to do is copy and paste his notes to me (and sandpaper 'em just a teensy bit) and he'd have some really nice postings. He's been reading the '50s art critic Harold Rosenberg recently, for instance, and is gabbing away in emails about the experience very entertainingly. But he resists. I'm not entirely sure why, but I suspect that it's because he's a man of substance. Friedrich likes the process of ingesting, mulling, devising, and then actually having something to say at the end of it all. And that takes time and work. I urge him to make like me and gas on without a thought in his head, but for some reason that doesn't seem to appeal to him.

JC -- Goodtaseeya, girl!

Holzbach -- Looking forward to your forthcoming blog.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 21, 2005 11:59 AM


An excellent writer of my (e-)acquaintance, a sometime blogger, said ". . . trying to keep up with Michael would kill me. He's like a force of nature."

He was speaking as a blogger. And as one possessing a much less fertile mind than either you or he (or so many of your readers), I feel that way as a reader and infrequent commenter. So I, too, don't even try. But your blogging that I do manage to (inadequately) keep up with is consistently thought-provoking and fun.

Congratulations and here's to many more years.

PS: And you sure know how to pick high-quality co-bloggers. Though I'm glad they don't post as frequently as you: I'd have that much more about which to feel inadequate as a member of the Blowhards community of readers and commenters.

Posted by: Dave Lull on July 24, 2005 11:48 AM

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