Climate change detected

Well, psychological climate, anyway:

First, there is certain alienation of individual bloggers accompanied by consolidation of various “party groups” and increased numbers of their commenters. Few years ago it was generally welcomed to use someone else’s blogroll as a walk into his inner circle, to put yourself into his shoes (or reading glasses) — not only to understand that person better, through his preferences, but as a means of widening your own perspectives without immediate commitment. Now this activity is tolerated, at best, and sometimes pointed out as impertinence or even considered suspicious. And when I go reading the “secondary” blogrolls (listed on the margins of the blogs on my own roll) I see changes, too: general-interest bloggers who in the past attracted lively discussions under almost every post, are now gathering, maybe, 1 or 3 responses — in a month. It’s not that their observations and interests became boring, it’s that life became more difficult for everyone, and there is not much point in endless chatting on topics one might live without. The general mood changed, too: we all are more pessimistic, gloomily focused on immediate tasks … teeth are clenched in perseverance while we put on a cheerful mask of camouflage de jour.

I’m willing to entertain the possibility that my own observations and interests became boring, but that implies a time when they weren’t.

I do see some of this activity, and some of the inactivity as well, though I’m not so sure it’s a result of some sort of cultural malaise. Certainly a lot of us don’t have as much time to devote to this sort of thing as we used to: I don’t, though I don’t seem to be turning out significantly less product. Yet. Shifting alliances and such, however, are a reality in blogdom. And if I’m part of anyone’s “inner circle,” I apologize for throwing off the center of gravity.


  1. fillyjonk »

    1 June 2010 · 7:04 am

    “there is not much point in endless chatting on topics one might live without. The general mood changed, too: we all are more pessimistic, gloomily focused on immediate tasks … teeth are clenched in perseverance while we put on a cheerful mask of camouflage de jour. ”

    Perhaps I’m misinterpreting what’s meant by “topics one might live without.” (I’m reading it as “frivolous things like discussions of ‘what cover of a Beatles song is best’ or “how I choose to arrange my bookshelves”). But if I’m interpreting it correctly, that makes me sad. Maybe I’m a frivolous mind by nature, but what I find really interesting are the little glimpses into people’s lives, their senses of humor, what they do that moves them or brings them joy.

    But yeah, I have also seen in my “meatspace” life more of a sense of people grimly focusing on the task at hand, more of a sense of “the New new frugality” where people are doing things that seem extreme – and maybe a little paranoid – to me in an attempt to save money.

    I don’t know. Again, maybe I’m overly frivolous but my response to life becoming more seemingly difficult is to try to cling on to the small things that make it seem less so.

  2. LeeAnn »

    1 June 2010 · 8:34 am

    You are eclectic enough, with a penchant for Zooey of course, that you never need fear falling stalely through the bloggy cracks.

  3. Tatyana »

    1 June 2010 · 9:39 am

    No, you’re not from the “boring” category, now or ever – you’re from “reliable” stock. A safety blanket of common sense – and I hesitate to say that for fear of reprecussions – a teddy bear, albeit with a sarcastic streak! You’ll always have a devoted following.

    Unfortunately, I have way too much time (involuntarily, oh so involuntarily) to devote to online reading – so maybe these half-baked observations are function of this circumstance. As I said, I’ve no pretension to universal truth.

  4. Tatyana »

    1 June 2010 · 9:59 am

    actually, topics like arranging one’s bookshelves attract more people now than it was 3 years ago, while long discussions of literary criticism of, say, a particular poem by Emily Dickinson bring 1-3 professionals philologists. That’s understandable model: when outside world is cruel to us, we tend to retreat in our shell – our shelter (hmm…are these words related?), so people pay more attention to their personal comfort, design of their homes or crop of their novelty gardens than in safer times – and leave metaphysics to those with enough mental comfort and padded accounts for such frivolity.

    At the same time – I’m not sure I expressed it clearly enough – there is a rise in “collective” modes/mentality; people tend to form “mobs” on any topic, be it the bookshelves layout or intricacies of some municipal political life. Example – my local unofficial GOP blog calls official functionaries vitriolic “titles” like “Duke of Bay Ridge”, or “Merlin Of Malice”, and old-school GOP no less than “Church of Political Failure”. This level of bile was unthinkable 4-5 years ago – and that’s within political party.

  5. fillyjonk »

    1 June 2010 · 10:53 am

    Tat, I see what you mean. It’s like people are becoming increasingly specialized and insular (or maybe even Balkanized).

    It even happens in the craft world, which is what I mostly surf around on the Web. There’s a strong division between “traditional” and “modern,” with modern (or so it seems to me) heaping contempt upon the traditionalists for being staid sticks-in-the-mud who don’t want to, for example, make quilts that fail to function as quilts and be art instead.

    And I don’t know, but that kind of thing makes me very tired. People can do what they want to and what moves them, but when they begin to prop themselves up by cutting people who don’t conform to their little clique down – it just makes me want to walk away from the discussion.

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