04 January 2008

mr writer (*)

Well in his comments on "wherever I lay my hat", Gerry has taken the fight up to me - why do I blog here at VVB?

I suppose originally I did it because it was a 'coming thing', 'everybody was doing it' and so on. Did I really think I had something original and useful to say?

(a) Unlikely;
(b) Of course, we all think we do.

Let's go (b), at least we'll score some points for authenticity (not that being authentic is a competition, of course).

As I've mentioned before, the availability of a soapbox and the seemingly unending ubiquity of the former Prime Minister (former! previous! no longer there! whacko!) inevitably led to a considerable amount of vitriolic and not particularly original Howard hating. This was extremely comforting for a while but eventually even it started to pall - I ran out of vitriol. And now he's no longer there! Has anyone noticed? I have! It's really, really, really good. Did I mention?

So now I'm a bit lost for content. I'm not going to buy into the US election as many, including like-minded (ooh, 'leftist', look out, heterodoxy under every bed!) blogs are. Yes, the orientation and ability of any US administration is of immense importance to Australia. But there are thousands of blogs and sources out there that actually know what they're talking about, there are several million more of a VVB-esque-ish type which just help to avoid a vacuum ocurring and, finally and quite frankly, Bush-bashing is even less rewarding than Howard-hating.

(a pause of some several hours occurred at this point)

I'm avoiding the question, aren't I?

Well, I'd certainly like to improve my writing skills although I must say that composing and posting 'live' is not a good way to hone your style when you don't have a good, flowing style to start with.

I do like recounting things that happen that I find interesting - for example I haven't told the stories about giving two sets of people a lift on the one day during our holidays - and drawing some conclusions from the behaviours I see about me. Even simplistic, fatuous conclusions, I must admit.

Interestingly, via
Oz Politics and the excellent Joshua Gans' Core Econ, earlier today I saw an article in which a number of economists were polled about why they blog. And blow me down, the reasons are similar to why you'd expect people to blog.

There were a series of questions asking respondents to rate factors according to their importance as motivations for blogging on a scale of 1 to 5. “Fun or entertainment”, “To raise my profile”, “Contribute to policy/political debates”, “To educate the public or disseminate research”, and “As a way of recording thoughts or ideas” were rated highest, all with a median score of 4. “Contribute to academic debates” had a median of 3, “To get reader feedback from comments” and “To improve writing skills” both scored 2, while “Actual or potential direct income” and “Actual or potential indirect income” both had a median of 1.

Who would have thought that economists were like everybody else?

So, Gerry and everybody, I'm just on a journey like everybody else and I have enough hide to think that some of it might be interesting to my devoted 4 or 5 readers (at this point I took a detour to look at my most recent stats - I am in fact getting about a dozen unique visitors a day with about 3 returning visitors per day). Hardly the stuff of a new career (I already have one of those, thanks to the current appointment in Rockhampton) but maybe enough reassurance to keep it going, to try in every day and every way to get a little bit better?

But what will I write about tomorrow? Who knows. In the meantime, here's a picture of some excellent neighbourhood infrastructure in Burradoo - between Bowral and Moss Vale. Pretty and quite high quality, yes?
(*) By Stereophonics, I am informed by Google.


indigoid said...

I read your blog because it is thought-provoking, and because I like reading stuff from left-wing curmudgeons ;-)

I have an idea for you, though. Why not pick one news topic a day (or however often you can manage it without Mrs. VVB banning you from the Internet due to holes punched in computer screens *wink*), read a bunch of stories on the topic (or at least one from each of the main news empires), and write a quick op-ed piece?

I'll bet that several things happen:

- you start to feel that your writing is improving

- I get more entertaining stuff to read in my RSS aggregator ;-)

- your fine analytical mind stays extra sharp

What say you, fellow lefty curmudgeon?

phil said...

Also, I once owned a Toyota Corolla.

Thanks for the input. Let's see who else bites.

JahTeh said...

My ex owned a Toyota corolla, that puts you in baaaad company.

I blog because I have a big mouth and I get to say rotten things about the ex without him finding me. It's very satisfying to be a poisonpen blog.

I want to own a Rolls Royce Corniche. I have aspirations.

phil said...

As long as the rest of us understand that it's all about you, things will be hunky-dory, I would imagine.

Your go...

PS: this after the Boags...

Gerry said...

Thanks for the detailed response to my question, Phil. and yeah, now that Howard's gone, I'm at a loss as to who to vomit at next.

Then again, since I'm a fully paid-up, card-carrying misanthrope, why should I single out anyone in particular, eh?

It's just so wonderful belonging to that cultural element with the species Homo Crapus Maximus which, having effectively wiped out every other culture, or being in the process of so doing, is about to wipe out most of the other species as well (whilst getting irate at the Japanese for killing whales), all in the name of "progress" and "standard of living". If that's "in our interests", then I'm not interested...

phil said...

Well as you yourself often point out Gerry, the public interest does not equal the corporate interest, even if you're a shareholder.

Where do we go next?

Gerry said...


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