Tuesday, October 25, 2005

“Yet Another Really Great Blog”

The blogosphere increases geometrically, spawning sites into the ethernet at a prodigious rate. If not up yet to the speed of light, no doubt it will be shortly.

Recently there tottered onto the stage, dragging the modest banner of Insignificant Microbe behind its small self, and blinking in the light of sudden blogdom, another such effort: Yet Another Really Great Blog. It is this stage to which I recommend that you repair and take your seat for the show.

On the marquee (not the html “marquee,” but the old fashioned one which displayed film titles and the movie stars appearing therein) you will find talent, that were it displayed in some economic form, would surely be a heap of gold coins high enough to bring Scrooge McDuck running. Just look at this list of contributors!

  ·  vnjagvet
  ·  offworld
  ·  Rick Ballard
  ·  ambisinistral
  ·  chuck
  ·  Jamie Irons
  ·  truepeers
  ·  terrye
  ·  flenser
  ·  Knucklehead
  ·  MeaninglessHotAir
  ·  RogerA
  ·  SneakyFeet
  ·  Seneca the Younger
  ·  David Thomson
  ·  ContraryPelican
  ·  Syl
  ·  smart parrot

To paraphrase President Kennedy, there hasn’t been this much brain power in one place since Thomas Jefferson dined alone. I would add John Quincy Adams and James Madison to mix, with a dash of Benjamin Franklin to add some reality to President Kennedy’s quip. Commonwealth of Virginia heresy alert: Jefferson wasn’t that smart, but he was immensely curious. Curiosity, the energy that fuels desire, is its own brilliance.

YARGB’s subtitle is “Flares Into Darkness,” a statement both hopeful and sad. It evokes Plato’s Cave, with contributors occasionally providing bursts of light to illuminate the place.

I bring this conglomerate to your attention not only because of the breadth and depth of its contributors but because the notion of bringing together seasoned commenters, intelligent and probably simpatico voices in the cave, is the future wave of blogging. As anyone who blogs frequently knows, posting with any regularity on your ownsome chews up brain cells and spits them out at a great pace. Not a pretty sight when a post goes three ways wrong and then Blogger melts down, leaving your essay forever in Limbo instead of on the screen (yes, I do indeed know and often follow the wisdom of the cut and paste before finally attempting to put a post to bed, but sometimes, when the pile around my chair of chewed and discarded neurons has begun to slide and topple, I forgets). That’s probably why there are so many started-and-abandoned blogs floating around out there. The strain was simply too much.

Besides the limits of working alone, I intuit there is a synergy created when the blog is spread across a group such as this. The notion of Koinonia comes to mind here. There are religious uses for this word from koine Greek, but in this case, koinonia appears to have been an idea which grew from Wilfrid Bion’s seminal work with groups in England following World War II. His ideas and their applications grew from his initial interactions with “shell-shocked” soldiers in veterans’ hospitals and his subsequent observation of “regular folks” in the civilian world in post-World War II London.

Dr. Bion’s meta-view of the kinds of small groups and their purposes led to Patrick deMare’s (et al) hope of creating true dialogue through Koinonic groups that would work through and past the petty, defensive hatreds we bring to our encounters with one another. His underlying philosophy was that by meeting in groups larger than a family-of-origin setting but small enough so that people knew one another (a village, perhaps?) perhaps change in our internal relationships would be possible. These beneficent changes would perforce spill over into our relationships with one another, decreasing reactivity and paranoia. Thus, the book describes the authors’ hopes:
     A study of the larger group, focusing on the processes and dynamics whereby the group micro-culture emerges. As the initial frustrations of the group find expression in hate, this is transformed through dialogue to what the Greeks knew as ‘koinonia’, or the state of impersonal fellowship.
Even though the book was written in the ’90s it seems already dated to some extent. Perhaps because the England in which it was written is fast disappearing into a chunk of Islamicized EU, losing its identity in the process.

Happily, to some extent Demare’s hope is being lived out in the blogosphere (thank you, Mr. Quick), though it is far too early to even guess what forms will metamorphose from this process. Whatever they may be, Yet Another Really Great Blog, shooting off its flares into darkness, may be a forerunner.

Yes, there are other group bloggers and aggregates out there. But these people, who seem to have emerged full blown from the world of commenters, may be in a different category. Whether or not this accurately represents who they are, YARGB is nonetheless a sensational aggregation. May they flourish beyond their original dreams.

Meanwhile, over there among a rich variety of posts on Godel’s theorem and ol’ Harriet’s nomination and disquisitions on the bird flu, discover what happened to The Girl from Ipanema. Yes, she was a real person. Given my predilection for sadness over lost dreams and how others’ hatred can trip us up, this post left me in tears. Late at night, over a glass of Jameson’s this is to be expected. However, on a lovely October morning, tears for the slings and arrows directed at another simply because she existed are more disquieting; they are a hot blade and cut more deeply than late-night lachrymosia (yes, it is my own neologism). Perhaps it is the threat of the destruction of beauty, simply because it was beautiful and therefore aroused curiosity and desire. WARNING: reading the post may undercut any cherished ideas of “fair” you may have secreted away, waiting for better times.

Disclaimer: No, this is not a case of mutual back-scratching. Gates of Vienna is not blogrolled at YARGB. Maybe if we work real hard to improve, attaining The List is possible. It’s an illustrious but select group — I intuit we aren’t there. Yet.


Charlie Martin said...

Gates of Vienna is not blogrolled at YARGB. Maybe if we work real hard to improve, attaining The List is possible. It’s an illustrious but select group — I intuit we aren’t there. Yet.

Never under-estimate the power of sucking up.

truepeers said...

Many thanks for the kind words Dymphna. Oh and you're so right about the power and dangers of great beauty. Really sad what we can do to beauty.

But while the Girl from Ipanema story may ruin some notions of fairness, consider that Heloisa at least had a (better) life than the sacrificial victims of earlier times (we may at least believe in some progress): she was made a god while she was still alive, rather than becoming a victim first.

We are tardy with blogrolling - group blogs work somewhat anarchically -but I see things are changing fast.

Rick Ballard said...

Thank you for the kind words, Dymphna. A 'fellowship of agoraphiles' might be descriptive of the type of koinonia involved. I believe that it extends accross blogs as well as within group blogs.

What a fortunate coincidence that you published this on the day that 'Gates' was added to the blogroll!

Dymphna said...

truepeers and Rick--

Thanks. I wasn't expecting to be blogrolled; rather I was warning our readers that they wouldn't find us there.

Seneca, Jr: when it's my intention to 'suck up' it'll be more obvious than that. My usual method is to drill a sufficiently large cranial hole, attach a large bore straw to a vacuum cleaner and extract the contents into a convenient container.

Suck up, indeed.

Charlie Martin said...

... when it's my intention to 'suck up' it'll be more obvious than that.

Why? I thought you did a lovely job. I especially liked the part about Thomas Jefferson, one of my heros.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind words.

We are a rather well rounded group and could never be called an echo chamber.

But it is nice that way.

We even have math people...how diverse is that

ambisinistral said...

Wow. I'm really surprised and flattered my little post about the Girl From Ipanema was linked to out of all the posts on YARGB. I'm especially pleased because this is a blog I visit on a regular basis.

Yea, it is sad about Heloisa... in my imagination she was forever strolling down to the beach turning every male's, a perhaps quite a few female's, head.

Jamie Irons said...

Thanks, Dymphna. I first encountered you two on Belmont Club, and have eagerly followed your postings here.


Jamie Irons