The Spirit of Gravity, or, The End of the Kugelmass Episodes


 SEPTEMBER 2006 – APRIL 2007



So I’ve decided to take my work back underground

To keep it from falling into the wrong hands

-The Prodigy, Music for the Jilted Generation


I’ve decided to close down this blog, and, after giving this entry a little while to percolate, will probably be deleting it altogether. I’ve already deleted The World’s Forgotten Boy. It is no coincidence that this decision follows close upon the cancellation of the best chronicle of academic life at Irvine, The O.C.


Then I’m going to create the anonymous blog of my dreams. And, frankly, of yours.


I’ll be haunting all the blogs I love best so that you can find me, and, if you’re very kind, link back to me. Either you’ll know me, in which case you’ll have the pleasure of a secret, or you won’t, which will be equally intriguing. If we know each other in the real world, email me for the link.


It’s a matter of style. As an anonymous writer, I can rid myself of what Nietzsche called the “spirit of gravity.”


I’ll still be writing academic posts for The Valve, though. It is a remarkable project, one I’m proud to be involved with.


This is a decision that has taken me a great deal of time. I’ve been thinking it over for more than a month, specifically because of the friendships I’ve formed over time with authors like N. Pepperell, LarvalSubjects, petitpoussin, and miso, to name only a few. I am also sad to be deleting immense comment histories by writers like surlacarte, tomemos, and uncomplicatedly. I hate to leave the most recent comments on my madness posts unanswered.


Perhaps those lists give you some idea why this blog is going down: with the exception of N. Pepperell, all the rest of the bloggers listed are anonymous.  In fact, besides N, the only other named bloggers I regularly read are Scott Eric Kaufman and Ray Davis.


An incident over at Scott’s blog is part of the reason I’m switching. Scott was involved in a debacle at the pseudonymous group blog Long Sunday. One of the Long Sunday writers, by the name of Craig (many of the other LS posters are not implicated in this), doctored a comment thread to make it seem that somebody had failed to capitalize his name. He did so in order to retaliate against Scott for writing something on Foucault he (Craig) didn’t like.


Scott was quite frustrated about this, which, if you know Scott, makes perfect sense. (You can read his posts on the subject here and here. I’m not going to re-post Craig’s stuff, since it’s a travesty.) Scott wants the Internet to be a place of honest and erudite conversation about academic subjects, and he has done a lot (together with people at the Valve and elsewhere) to make it so. Craig was, in his own pathetic way, poisoning the well.


Even so, it is really difficult to fight, as a named blogger with a name to maintain, against anonymous people. It’s like shadowboxing but trying to win. After I saw the name C(c)raig repeated for the 12th time in the comment thread (as a reference to the capitalization comment), it started to seem funny rather than scathing. The thread got taken over by Rich Puchalsky, who had to work something out with another set of bloggers about their irresponsible decision to post a picture of him.


People dial up the blogosphere to fight and to watch fights unfold; they have lots of other reasons, too, but not when it comes to intellectual blogs. I love to fight, but if I do it under my own name against anonymous bloggers, I look ridiculous. I’ve already taken flack for my post about “parodycenter,” just as Scott took heat from his readers about C(c)raig, with a lot of them also putting in the time required to say nasty things about The Valve.


I don’t want to feel as though I have to provide cushions and tea for anyone who sweeps in here and says my post made them cry out their ass. I don’t want to delete those comments either. I want to come out swinging; and frankly, as a reader of blogs, I know that anything less is disappointing to readers like me.


Finally, some of the ways that other blog acts stick to my name is not working for me. Just this week, I had a well-meaning blogger repost my whole entry as though it were his own, except for a mystifying link-back that wasn’t explained. I emailed him about it, and he sent me a nice reply, which I answered in turn. He then posted my email to his blog without asking permission first.


 If I was pseudonymous, though, I wouldn’t care. Enough of this — onwards!