New restricted personal: The End Comes.
Another restricted-view personal post.
(Actually, I missed one back on Mar. 5, so this represents two new blog posts.)
Headline and ‘social’ buzz around recently elected congresswoman Ilhan Omar’s statements about the position of Israel in mainstream American politics has wound down a little in the last few days. Just a matter of time before it flares up again, of course; she and like-minded new ‘radical left’ colleagues aren’t about to let the issue go. I’ve taken part in the action on Twitter in a small way, defending her — particularly in an exchange replying to Yair Rosenberg:
But I also had this to say into the void, a couple of weeks earlier:
— worry I gave vent to again, shortly after, in responses to a thoughtful post from Chris on parallel — or more-or-less obliquely linked, rather — conflict in the UK.
Anyone who’s known me a while online will likely find my ranting and sparring in this vein a familiar enough spectacle. Israel and antisemitism are long-time — decades long — recurring preoccupations for me. That isn’t to say, though, that I think myself especially well informed on either subject. Indeed this is part of the nature of the preoccupation: the ongoing discovery of my own ignorance. My way of looking at the problem has certainly changed with time, accordingly, if my fundamental position hasn’t to any dramatic degree. It’s the sort of change I’ve said here, very recently, I want to get a better handle on.
As a point of reference, I note that this delicately balanced article in Toronto-market MacLean’s (whose political tendency I wasn’t aware of at the time) is a five-year-old Facebook share about which I can’t say I find anything objectionable today.
The most substantial related thing I’ve written remains this — from about the same time as the FB post, it bears observing. I’d been seeing Susannah for some time then; moved to New York at end of that year. With her and the Jewish side of her family I found little occasion for any such discussion in all my time with them, though I doubt there was ever a hairsbreadth of difference in our basic stances. That itself was, is, an important index of (my evolving grasp of) the ignorance I have to acknowledge. Charged and personal as the issue is for me, I’m an outsider in crucial respects, and always will be.
This post is a private one in part just because, as I put it to Chris, the question’s thorny. It’s private because it’s a way into other tough matters, though, too — matters of that kind, for which I’d like to find time and room, ideally, with this space, and certainly never will if I can’t free myself from a dozen different representative challengers real and (perhaps mostly) imagined.
Not least among my reasons for wanting to keep some posts out of public view is self-consciousness about how much my ideas about some things have changed — in the last few years particularly, I guess, but really over the whole span of this experience as an opinionated person online. I don’t really feel the need to make this blog a better record of change than it’s been. (It has been that — I’ve tried at points to get myself into that mode in blogging — but certainly a very scattershot one.) But unless I’m really worked up to rant, it’s gotten awfully hard lately to say anything about anything I think without addressing this seeming acceleration, the change itself. A purely public-facing blog has never been a good place for that kind of discussion for me. I’m not serious enough a writer.
I’m certainly no less opinionated a person, now at 48 and a quarter years of age, than I ever was. I’m not embarrassed about it; it’s just how I am. Again, though: with me, the feeling that opinions need to be handled with context seems only to get stronger with age. Makes me a laborious (and too often, with people I’m close to, a tedious) conversationalist. Or, when I can’t see how to work in the background points and metacommentary I want, it just shuts me up. Neither of these either an admirable or a bad thing, necessarily, in itself. At any rate, as long as I’m still delivering myself of opinions here and elsewhere around the web, I could be making better use of this space of mine, at least, for exploring those contexts.
‘Elsewhere around the web’ means Facebook less and less. It means Twitter to a degree (though with nothing like the pace of posting of those who really depend on the platform). It’s not thoughtful direct exchange with others who write — in their own spaces or for publication — as often, relatively speaking, as I’d like.
I’ve always meant to use this blog for less carefully thought-out, more fragmentary writing. On occasion, the posting here is like that, but for the most part I have a hard time getting free of the idea of the reader — even while well aware there are hardly any actual readers! — and of the qualifying and parsing functions in my head, and I end up with a load of paragraphic chunks that may or may not amount together to a relatively developed thought, but anyway don’t have that sketchy character that lets you quit the exercise without a close or pick up later and play with something in it really free of concern for how everything ties together.
I bring it up because as this blog is situated now, the kitchen-door side of a site whose front needs to serve in a fairly intentionally public-facing way, I’ve come to think I ought to keep some of the posts out of expressly public view altogether — which you’ll know already, actually-reading-reader, since this is such a post, only accessible to the logged-in. It’s occured to me that this not only makes room for conversation it might otherwise be difficult to keep up here, but maybe also loosens me up a little and leads to somewhat more productive, less painstaking (or painful, at any rate) posting.