Everyone who writes a blog for a while knows that one of the best things about it is the way it allows you to revisit themes and topics. You connect one post to another by linking to it; you connect many posts together by tagging. Over time you develop fascinating resonances, and can trace the development of your thought. Venkatesh Rao has thought a lot about this in his series of posts — he calls it a “blogchain” — on blogs as “elder games.”
But this is not typically how readers read blogs. Not many people read this blog, but those who do typically just read the most recent posts — three days back, max. I add links to earlier posts, but almost no one clicks on them. People don’t click on tags either. And I think that’s because we have all been trained by social media to skim the most recent things and then go on to something else. We just don’t do deeper dives any more. So one of the things I want to be thinking about is: How can I encourage readers of my blog to seek some of the benefits that I get from it?
I agree, and would add that it seems like the same could be said of many long-term, serialized creative processes. I think it speaks to the fundamental gap between the generation of creative work and the consumption of that work.
But even as Silver continues to present himself as an analytically rigorous alternative to the entrails-reading punditry of the “Morning Joe” variety, he also has shown an increasing affinity for precisely that brand of unquantifiable storytelling and third-scotch-at-the-hotel-bar pontificating for which his original project was supposed to be a remedy. During a recent round of the never-ending free speech debates, he opined that “false statements of fact” aren’t protected by the First Amendment, eliciting howling derision from the lawyers in the cloud. Just this week, he logged on to complain, after Trump was—entirely predictably, and without polling!—booed by a crowd at a Washington National’s baseball game on the same day he’d announced that the U.S. had supposedly killed the alleged leader of Islamic State, that “many Libs can’t even permit Trump to have one good day … after US forces kill perhaps the world’s most wanted terrorist.” (He has since issued a tweet suggesting, unconvincingly, that he was trolling.) It’s a curious stance from a man who claims, among other self-imposed limits and constraints, that his empirical models deliberately seek to ignore those major public events that move—usually briefly—opinions about politics and events. To use Silver’s preferred turn of phrase, isn’t one good day just more “noise”?
Donald Trump is a bully who lives in a delusional world of his own making, demonstrating daily that he is totally unacquainted with truth. It is not up to me to provide a diagnosis, but that fact is that we’ve been dealing with someone who is mentally and emotionally unstable.
For those of you who have lived with someone who is an addict or could be diagnosed with a personality disorder, you will recognize that, even if they leave, the adaptive behaviors you used to survive don’t automatically go away. That is why groups like Al-Anon exist and most treatment programs require spouses and families to be involved.