Drafts (meta)

For the past week or so, I’ve been running an experimental “drafts” blog.

The first post there is a long-winded take on why, but to boil it down, I want to blog like the early days. When some thought crossed my mind, I just wrote it down as best I could and hit publish.

Over the years, because interfluidity had a readership for a while, which engenders caution, and because the blogosphere evolved from a conversation to a cacaphony of competitive resumés, I stopped giving myself license to do that, and largely stopped writing.

So, I’ve undertaken to call my new posts “drafts”, then just write shit and hit publish again. I’ve really enjoyed it.

Here are those “drafts” so far, in reverse chronological order:

I’m not sure where I’m going with all this, and would welcome your feedback. Should I revise and promote some “drafts” to posts here, or just acknowledge that the whole drafts thing is a conceit, and let it become the chattier successor to this site?

You can subscribe to the drafts blog by RSS. You can’t yet subscribe by e-mail. I think I’ll continue to do round-up posts like this one, so if you are subscribed by mail here, you’ll indirectly get mailed digests. Eventually I mean to implement subscriptions by e-mail directly on the drafts blog, but that too will take the form of a roundup, not more frequent than weekly. Knowing each post gets spammed out as e-mail has been a discouragement, on the margin, from just fucking writing.

Eventually I hope to make a “unified” RSS feed that points to anything I write anywhere, but for now, please consider subscribing by RSS to both feeds.

On this main blog I laboriously track any changes I make (after a “grace period”, maybe an hour or two after posting) in “update histories” you’ll find after most posts. I’m not doing that in the drafts blog. I’m tweaking at will. But the drafts blog is a static site published via git, everything published will have been a commit. You can keep me honest by rolling back history here.

Whoever reads this, please know I am incredibly grateful that you do. I welcome any feedback on all of this in the comments.

As a reminder, interfluidity still hosts chat-about-anything drop-in “office hours” via Zoom, Friday afternoons, lately at 12:30pm PST / 3:30pm EST / 8:30pm UTC. If you are interested, please say so in a comment and provide a real address (it won’t be published) in the e-mail field of the form. I’ll send you an invitation. Or you can send me an e-mail directly, or message me on Mastodon.


7 Responses to “Drafts (meta)”

  1. Steve Roth writes:

    Anything that inspires or encourages you to post more is great by me. I can imagine bringing up some posts from the minors to the major league, if you want to give them the full treatment..

  2. Your instincts to just think, then publish sound right to me. That’s how I use blogging, and the best thing about it is the historical record of what I was thinking about over the years.

  3. Bolt writes:

    I think this part is just in your head: “the blogosphere evolved from a conversation to a cacaphony of competitive resumés”

    Obviously I’m subscribed to your blob because I want to read what you have to say. To say less because more people want that seems like backwards thinking.

  4. An old army brat, me. Shocking Saul-On-the-Road-To-Damascus revelation in one of my freshman history survey courses when tha lecturer stated matter-of-factly that the last feudal institutions in America, apart from the Roman Church, were the armed forces and the universities. Several decades later, and God knows how many academic luncheons, seminars and administrative meetings later, all I can say is “Oh, ‘tis true, ‘tis true.

  5. Peter Dorman writes:

    For me, what has changed about blogging is that far fewer people read or engage with them. It has become an obscure hobby with little effect on the world. Much of what’s left of it has been gathered up into Substack, but that’s a different beast, as you know. I still write the occasional blog post, but I’m under no illusions that I’m connecting with the sort of community I once felt part of.

    I suspect it’s not just blogging. I published a book last summer with a major academic house, which, when I last checked, has sold about 70 physical copies to people not named Peter Dorman. Books were always a lottery, but the minor prizes are disappearing, and it’s pretty much all or nothing. This is another aspect of the new information environment, attention capitalism. I don’t know what to do about it and whether it even makes sense to continue as before.

    The biggest problem with moving to a draft model, Steve, is that you are cutting out comments. If there is still anything to salvage in blogging, it is the comment thread and the mutual learning it embodies.

    Since I can’t comment directly on your higher-ed-is-right-wing post, let me say a few words about it. This has been my overriding concern from before I got into the professor business—going back to high school, actually: how to understand the hierarchical structure of the education enterprise, and what it means for whether and how people like us should engage it.

    I agree completely that education has served as a gatekeeper for larger social and economic hierarchies, and it does it in a sanctimonious way that tells those denied entrance that it’s their fault for not “having what it takes”. This is the core of the populist revulsion against higher ed. I cringed every time politicians like Clinton or Obama said the path to economic security was to get more people to graduate with BA’s, and I know this cringe was shared with others. Clearly Piketty too understands the problem in his critique of the Brahmin Left.

    The long term solution, if there is one, has to be to separate the internal hierarchy of the ed world from the external hierarchy of class society. I don’t think the ed hierarchy can or will be reformed very much. Certainly the current trend of seeing students as the consumers who are always right is not helpful.

    Personally, I have tried to be realistic about my egalitarian impulses. During my teaching days I helped students establish governance structures for my courses that excluded me. They would meet on their own to decide some of the issues. Of course, the whole thing can’t be egalitarian, but you can do what you can.

    {Bracket: there’s an important discussion to have about clientelism in higher education, which follows from its hierarchical structure.}

    There’s a lot more to say, but I’ll leave it for now. Oh, and sorry about New College. That must be hard.

  6. Detroit Dan writes:

    I agree with Peter Dorman about the value of comments. I believe Steve Waldman wants comments to drafts on Mastodon, but that seems a rather scattershot apporach.

    I just finished reading the drafts post on fascism and feel a serious response is warranted. For now, I’ll say that I find it deeply ironic that fascism is defined (in my reading) as what the US has done with regard to Putin, while it is implied that Putin of course is the real fascist. Anyway, I could be wrong and the point is not to yell at each other, but to build on the good points that people like Steve make, and there are many in his draft on fascism.

  7. Every time I look at one of my old posts, I almost always find a grammar or spelling error.

    I don’t call myself the Worst Writer on the Internet™ for nothing.