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Why My Blog Has Gotten Very Quiet

Monday, May 06, 2013
Years ago in New York City, a much younger Arbitrista (then under a different pseudonym) started a blog. The principal purpose of this blog was to give me an outlet to vent about contemporary politics, and to have a venue for sketching out some of my own (often esoteric) thoughts on American political life. At the time I was deeply involved in local politics and kept a close eye on national trends, and I needed someplace to get it all out.

Time passed. The party controlling the White House has changed, and the congressional majority has changed twice. I'm still frustrated by national politics, although it's streaked with more than a little fatalism. I finished my dissertation, switched fields, and watched political science's presence in higher-quality media grow considerably. I wrote a first draft of a novel, took up the piano, and moved twice. I worked in local campaigns and learned a lot about politics and myself. And in all that time I've tried with varying success to keep this blog going.

I'm much less engaged in politics than I was a decade ago. I still care every bit as much, but my horizons have steadily lowered from national events to local ones, and now I find myself being very, very picky about what campaigns I choose to involve myself in. There are a few reasons, I think. I'm approaching 40 years old and just don't enjoy knocking on doors as much, nor am I all that effective at it any longer (middle aged white men at the door is usually bad news). I've also become quite weary with the stereotypical, wrongheaded approach of most politicos to campaigning: an allergy to substance, an emphasis on personal characteristics, a fear of taking a stand on anything. It's hard to watch good candidates get led astray by bad advice, but they seem very vulnerable to it. The other main set of reasons is that my job has a very strong policy element to it, which means that it's riskier than ever for me to vent in public about political affairs. Freedom of speech is sadly restricted to those with the resources to make it feasible.

So I've drawn back from politics and worked hard to develop some of those interests I'd let moulder most of my life while I pursued my political dreams. I've always loved music, and have finally started taking piano lessons. I've always loved writing, and have tried my best to learn that craft as well. I've put more emphasis on my professional career, since I'm now involved in things that I think are inherently meaningful.

But to be perfectly honest, more than anything else what's changed in my life is that it's been eaten by roller derby. It's a weird story with a lot of twists and turns that I'll try to lay out as best I can in a future post. The short version is that I think on balance it's a good thing, but it also means that if it continues this blog is probably going to be a lot more scattered, more personal, and have a lot more to do with girls on skates hitting each other.
Posted by Arbitrista @ 2:09 PM
  • Totally random but I know some academic people who do roller derby! Including mixed scrimmages, so I expect to hear about you strapping on the skates soon!

    I have not really been sucked into roller derby but I do go to the local games one of my colleagues plays in.

    By Blogger Sisyphus, at 10:57 PM  
  • There are a lot of "smackademics" out there. They certainly have enough frustration to work out! I've learned how to skate a bit (it's great exercise), but I'm happy to leave the hitting to others and just stick to volunteering. Glad to hear you're a fan.

    By Blogger Arbitrista, at 9:53 AM  
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