I began blogging July 3, 1997, the day I bought my first PC.
One of the rewards of blogging is the people you meet (online and in person).
Since I stopped doing it for a living in 2007 (I made most of my income from 1997 to 2007 by blogging about the porn industry), I’ve only posted when I felt like it.
There have been few times, if ever, I felt that I was breaking down from the strain of updating my site.
Blogging is my favorite hobby, but I push myself at times to get away from the computer and to journal by hand. Then, when I hit on something good, I take it to my blog.
I know I have done good work when I like to read it.
I get many of my posts from my conversations (be they in person, via email or on Facebook). Do a few edits, keep others anonymous if they wish, and you can share it with the world and the conversation keeps going.
For many years, people tried to intimidate me from saying certain things online. When I fought back hard, they backed off. The last rabbi who went on a jihad against me was in 2009, and when I posted our email exchange (after he had first shared it around without my permission), he backed off and went away.
People quickly get a sense of whether you can be intimidated or not (whether online or in real life), and when they see you fight back, they leave you alone.
The Hirhurim rabbi Gil Student posted around six years ago about the death of Jewish blogging because posters would tire of the communal aggravation they’d receive and started muting themselves. I don’t have a wife and kids, so I am harder to silence.
More than 99% of people, including more than 99% of Jews, who hold my views (which were normal ways of thinking prior to the 1960s) can’t share them openly, such as with a blog or Twitter account, because they don’t want the consequences. For instance, most people make realistic decisions informed by racial considerations such as in matters of safety, but they won’t acknowledge their choices. Most people know that different races have different gifts and that just by looking at somebody they can get a general sense of what to expect from the person.
Powerful motivations for blogging include hatred, anger and resentment but these emotions uncontrolled can eat you up and burn you out. My dark side powered me for years and I bounced from crisis to crisis. Through therapy and 12-Step work, I was able to let that go and I now avoid feuding, and as a result, my life is tranquil. Steve Sailer strikes me as a bloke who’s not consumed by anger and resentment. Inner peace makes for longevity and positive visibility and consistency in any endeavor. Blogging is a medium that reveals who we are and much of the time that is not pretty. I know that when I read past things I’ve written, I’m embarrassed. Because of childhood wounds, most of us lead lives of hiding and biting. When we gain the strength to go public with our best selves, when we have the inner resources to listen to others without needlessly fighting back, good things tend to develop and blogging can be one path to a good life.
I did not get anything new out of the Andrew Sullivan essay below. He simply repeats things widely disseminated.
My family was so concerned about what I was doing with my life that in 2000, they offered me a free trip to Australia if I would see the doctors of their choice. I agreed. One of the doctors I visited was a psychiatrist, Dr. R, who reported back to my sister after a three-hour consultation with me:
Luke is not suffering the effects of a head injury.
Applying the DSMIV, he has a personality disorder of the histrionic/narcissistic type.
Luke is very dependent upon other people for his identity as a person.
He has poor identity integration and poor self esteem. Accordingly, Luke is always looking for mirroring – it’s called “narcissistic supply.” That is to say that Luke is always looking for external validation of himself as a person (i.e., he needs other people to tell him who he is). However, because it is not possible for people to mirror him all the time, he gets disappointed and this can turn to envy. Luke may not be conscious of the fact that he is very envious of his family as they seem to have things he would like to have but does not have. This leads to him fluctuating between, on the one hand, devaluing people such as the family (putting them down) and on the other, idealisation of people – such as Dennis Prager.
Luke tends to make unreasonable demands of people who are eventually driven to setting limits on him. Luke takes this very badly.
Luke needs five to ten years of insight orientation psychotherapy. It was the falling out with Dennis Prager which caused him to go to therapy. While Luke has a lot of therapy ‘speak’, he may not really understand the concepts involved. Luke’s therapist did well to keep him in therapy for 15 months – that is unusual for someone with Luke’s condition as such people often leave off therapy when it becomes too confronting. Luke will not continue therapy that is confrontational, particularly in the early stages.
Luke will continue to do what he is doing to satisfy his needs until such times as the rewards (reinforcement) are outweighed by the negative effects of same (punishment). Then he may do something about getting his life on track and getting therapy or going back to finish his degree (which would give him some self-esteem).
The negative effects of his current behavior are that no one will have a long term relationship with him as no matter how sane they are, people cannot live without getting something back – and Luke is always taking in without giving anything back. Second, any decent woman who looked at his website would be immediately repulsed.
Luke has a complicated personality. He has mood instability – perhaps mild cyclothymia. His personality type is prone to this.
Luke become very focused on one thing then, when he is not getting the desired rewards, he drops it and moves on.
Luke may have had some post viral illness but then the illness took on a life of its own. It is common for people to retreat into the sick role because it is a way of failing in a face-saving way. Luke was failing because of the lack of significant relationships in his life.
Luke in his current state would not be successful in employment.
He wants immediate results and if he does not get them, then he does not want a bar of it.
He does not have a bipolar condition. His reaction to Nardil was purely psychological as that drug does not work overnight. The same with the homeopathic treatment – one pill does not make any noticeable difference.
Epilim is a good mood stabilizer – better than Lithium – does not have the nasty side effects. But Luke is unlikely to remain on such medication and anyway it is only tinkering with the fringes of the problem.
As with most adolescent boys, Luke was obsessed with sex.
As with most super egos – it is not well integrated. His rules are situational and he justifies things.
Luke is capable of being exploitive.
Luke is reacting to the values of his family unit.
He is not really interested in what Dr. R. thinks of him. He is only here to enjoy the trip. There is no point him seeing Dr. R. on occasion before his return as it is long-term therapy he needs.
We [Luke’s family] have to have a firm boundary of where we go in his life. We should stay off his website – what we don’t know won’t hurt us. We should set limits on his unreasonable behavior. We must treat him as an adult that he is and stop babying him.
Luke has tunnel vision and difficulty seeing things as others see it. He is only looking for mirroring.
He has demonstrated the capacity to at times, not put his immediate gratification ahead of everything, i.e., taking his rabbi/synagogue off his website when requested. He respected those involved and did not want to lose a relationship with them. So he has the capacity to learn from his experiences.
Luke has a poor sense of identity – he is not well integrated – he has no sense of self – therefore he is very changeable in different circumstances.
The cause of his personality disorder is multi-factorial – the development of personality is a long process – it onvolves experiences, family environment as well as choices made by a person during the formative years. Personality disorders are not diagnosable until after age 18 because the personality is not developed before then.
I think NPD and related personality disorders are common among bloggers, among religious leaders, and among the political.
I am considering donating my blog to science so they can track the effect of various psychotropic medications on my output. From 2001 to 2009, I was on lithium (along with clonidine and clonazepam). When I began Alexander Technique teacher training in 2009, I was able to go off all of my meds. From June 2013 on, I’ve been on modafinil. Lithium increased my weight by about 20 pounds, evened out my manic highs and lows, gave me a feeling of well-being, and slowed my thinking, speech and creativity. Modafinil gives me a feeling of mild euphoria, has helped me lose 10 pounds, and it has fired up my thirst for detecting patterns and accumulating information but has reduced my creativity and gives me too much confidence when I drive (two traffic tickets in the past year).
Blogging has made me lazy with my writing. I just pump it out and move on. I had a boss/website sponsor in 1999 who would say, “I remember when you were a real writer.”
I found studying Talmud, Calculus and Economics reduced my ability to speed read and to enjoy poetry.
In 2007 at a Halloween party, Neil Strauss said to me in effect, “It must be a burden to feel the need to get content from your every social interaction.”
A grad student at USC told me that blogging appeals to a conservative temperament because the blogger has a compulsion to conserve information.
Andrew Sullivan writes in New York magazine about how he broke down under the strain of blogging:
An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too.
By Andrew Sullivan
I didn’t see any mention of performance-enhancing drugs in Sullivan’s article. Way back in 2000, Sullivan was extremely frank in a long New York Times Magazine article, “The ‘He’ Hormone,” about how he had revitalized his career by getting a prescription for testosterone injections.
Anyway, Sullivan’s an interesting depiction of how the blogging life wears you down.
There aren’t that many of us old time bloggers left.
A big problem is running out of new things to say. Tyler Cowen is hanging in there because of his extremely broad range of interests. I’m doing okay because I have fairly wide interests, I still come up with some new ideas now and then, and my old ideas tend to be slowly, slowly turning into the convention wisdom of the distant future, say the mid-21st Century.
By the way, I wonder if New York magazine is aware that adapting Caspar David Friedrich’s German Romanticist painting Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog to illustrate Sullivan’s article could be interpreted as a nod to Jared Taylor’s White Identitarianism, like a highbrow version of Pepe the Frog?
* Most of Cowen’s output consists of link dumps. He usually doesn’t write more than a sentence or a blurb at most, and when he does write a paragraph or tow, he doesn’t actually say anything or take a position on anything.
Blogs sort of had their heyday about a decade ago. They were the primary format back then. They’ve declined with the rise of Twitter. Now it’s mostly about keeping up with the latest news and soundbites through Twitter.
* TRT can be wonderful stuff, especially for old menfolk – enhance and shorten recovery, increase sex drive, increase sense of confidence and positive outlook, etc. Alas, it is all too easy to become addicted to it and cycle it improperly, and then it can create a whole host of problems, including drastic reduction in natural production leading to “man-boobs,” shrinking male sex organs, other internal organ problems, etc.
The safest ways to boost testosterone still remains the natural methods – exercise, good diet, lots of sleep and rest.
* My original definition of ‘weblog’ in 1997 was a log of all the interesting links I found while browsing the Web, which I foresaw even then as a natural universal daily activity, with no obsessing over your audience-size, nor any need to opine on every passing news event. Now that a tweet can hold a link, an image, and a pullquote, Twitter is adequate for most of that oldstyle blogging I do.
What I didn’t foresee was how timid everyone would become about exploring outside the mainstream, and how they’d casually follow hundreds of feeds, letting the best be drowned out in the hoopla. People still need to learn to segregate that hoopla into Twitter ‘lists’ that can be skimmed as time allows, while your primary follows are just the much smaller set you want to be sure not to miss.
* Cowen’s Brexit post was great. His writes pithy posts about “What the Hell Is Going On? Maybe A, Maybe B, Maybe C” that are reliably clarifying.
That said, I’m not sure how much he actually absorbs from the preternaturally wide selection of books he reads. He’s written a few blurb-length reviews of new history books that, as someone more familiar with the subject matter, I found mystifying. (Another example: Greg Cochran once mocked him for writing about technological innovation under the misimpression that NASA invented tang and teflon.)
* You found them mystifying because he doesn’t actually read all the books he reviews and discusses. He’s admitted this. He literally doesn’t read a single page of some of the books he reviews, or he’ll merely read a page or two or skim a lot of them. And he doesn’t indicate if or how much of a book he is reviewing he has read.
* I think being a professional blogger is a lot like being a professional restaurateur. People who have never tried it are apt to underestimate how much work it is. The 12-14 hour days, the struggle for recognition, attracting a clientele, advertising, money management, etc. Just like the restaurant trade, the blogging field is littered with ambitious failures.
You have to work very hard, but hard work alone is no guarantor of success. You still have to get the right breaks, meet the right people, and have some sort of emotional support in your life. Most importantly, you must also have the time to do it. It takes a ton of reading for me to stay informed about all the subjects I’m interested in, and I scarcely have the time to do that let alone write about them. I would like to write more; I’ve even tried my hand a blogging for several years, but it just doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me.
Regarding the whole idea of the age of the blogger being a thing of the past, this is (ironically) something that I myself wrote about many years ago. To make a long story short, I would characterize blogging as being essentially an outgrowth of the “flame-war” personality intrinsic to the Baby Boom generation. You must have a certain exaggerated sense of the worth of your own opinions to persist in rattling them off night and day. Blogging is not, as some people naively imagine, a result of “technology,” for that is just a body-constituent of the times. Even in an alternate world where the internet did not exist, the blogosphere would have appeared in another form, playing itself out in cheap flysheets, high school gymnasia, and on television talk shows. Boomers will be Boomers, which in this case means never hesitating to tell the world what they think. Outside of that generation the concept of blogging as a self-evidently necessary activity begins to fall off rather rapidly.
It was a strange happenstance, such a drastic misappraisal of the value of a scribe, such as would induce an entire generation to want to be one. Underneath the interminable battles of this warring priest-class the quiet and practical doers struggle for air. The passing of the Boomers will result in the final blowing off of vast thunderheads of superfluous ideology. The flame wars finally over, perhaps a new generation can seize the opportunity to let the world lie fallow for awhile, to rebuild a quiet and workable civilization.
* I blogged determinedly (and with a lot of joy and gratitude) for six or seven years at 2blowhards and then ran out of gas. When I was full of stuff that I genuinely felt the world needed to hear there was little I enjoyed more than blogging. By the time I’d gotten about 80% of it out of my system I started having trouble connecting with the energy it takes to turn observations, thoughts and mischief into an amusing and well-crafted string of paragraphs.
These days I put a posting up every week or two and rely on my co-bloggers at UncouthReflections to keep the blog peppy and moving forward. Blogging is still fun but the urgency has gone. And in the culture generally it seems like the exuberance and irreverence that used to pour through blogs has moved on to Reddit, the Chans and the social networks. I can’t stand Twitter but I spend an hour or two a day having fun (and I do mean tons of fun) in private Facebook groups.
Steve may have attained senior statesman status as a blogger, but even so I think he’s been doing some of his best blogging ever in the last year.
* Schopenhauer hated journalists, he used to say that the word meant “day laborers”, as a way to put them down. He had a point however: Anyone who writes for a living knows that it becomes job like any other in short order and then it becomes a chore, if not a burden to generate the 800, 1000, 1,100 words you are supposed to submit 3 times a week. And it’s hard to keep being original. Or even good.
Blogging is even worse, except there’s no fixed length, and you can copy from what you are referring to. But it’s always on your mind, as a demand. It’s what I call low trajectory intellectual activity, the sort of thing that really prevents you from doing something interesting.
So I don’t doubt that Sullivan got burned out, or that our own Steve may, at any time.
Having said that I thought Sullivan’s article was long on padding; relying on personal reminiscence and free association with blogging to fill the requisite column inches. Nor is it the first time someone has stopped blogging first time. There’s a sort of egotism here that is cloying, and moreover I don’t think he offered any original insights about the phenomenon.
The best way to write is when you feel like it. And when you have something to say. You’d be surprised how much writing meets neither criterion.
* Why not treat it like a job? We don’t need to be under what I might call the Romantic Delusion, as symbolized by our Wanderer above. You’re not communing with Gods. You don’t have to be touched by Inspiration. Just hack away. The difference between hacks and belletrists is not that one hacks and the other sits on clouds weaving dreams. The difference is in the product.
Anthony Trollope, one of the most prolific writers ever, wrote his novels while working as postal inspector. He set himself to writing a certain amount each day, did so, and that was that. He was no slouch, and his novels no duds. Various of them are still read today. The Way We Live Now had a resurgence after the ’08 meltdown and Bernie Madoff.
Like I said, just hack away, you lazy bum. Trollope could do it.
Or don’t, because who needs blogs, really? Ultimately you’re contributing to the Mind Prison of mass media, which however subversive I believe strengthens Political Correctness in the long run.
* The cute little secret in television writing currently is micro-dosing LSD. From what I hear, many writer’s are loving it. Heightens awareness and creativity, and you write like a mo’ fo’. Show runners like it too. Apparently, you can pull multiple all-nighters and be quite productive. I think they’re dosing 30-50 micrograms. Just enough to get you going, not enough to be seeing trails.
* I wonder where that blogging crowd went. Maybe they stepped on too big shoes. A media needs to be controlled. No place for dissidents.
* It’s a sad story. Andrew Sullivan has clearly swallowed the line about HIV no longer being a ‘death sentence’. OK, but the small print says that if you:
1. Don’t follow your medication schedule closely
2. Continue risky sexual practices
3. Over exercise
4. Embrace stress
5. Skip sleeping
…then all bets are off.
It.seems you can now live a full life with HIV as long as you live like a sixty-year-old vegetarian female yoga teacher.
* Andrew Sullivan has a problem, Andrew Sullivan struggles to deal with the problem, Andrew Sullivan quantifies the problem into a term, Andrew Sullivan says you probably have that problem too.
Maybe Andrew Sullivan’s problem is something else which he has transposed into an internet information problem? He attacks *that* problem and projects *that* problem outward whiles all the whiles he still has the same undiagnosed problem.
What is his problem?
Most addictions are definitely *not* the problem but an ammeloriation of the problem. The addict always attacks the amelioration as if it, itself!, were the problem, but all the while the problem remains the same. Most people transpose one addiction for another pretending that they’ve conquered it, whilst the problem remains the same.
I don’t think information overload is his problem, but I do concur that he has a problem.
He’ll move on from this problem to a new and more conducive to productivity, problem, is my bet.
* Steve, Trump has already created a media vacuum by destroy the cucks and their neocon masters. All our traditional dissident Right outlets are growing to fill that. He is in the process of creating a much bigger media vacuum by destroying the coalition of the fringes (yet another hat tip to you). Breitbart, Daily Caller and more are growing to fill that. Fox is changing. If Trump wins, and there is, of course, good reason to expect he will, you should be in yuge demand next year as the guy who made so many accurate predictions, fed the NYT so many great ideas and put so many HBD people together.
Hope you have a good agent. Maybe David Cole could point you in the right direction.
* There’s nothing about having work that lives up to high standards that will magically keep you going. Or, at least, not anymore than in other lines of work. Dostoyevsky, whom you mentioned, produced the highest of high art and lived a miserable life.
Writers of imaginary literature grind away, burn out, and are unhappy with themselves, too. Don’t believe me, read their books. They’re full of it.
* Z Blog: I’m not sure how much work it really takes to blog. I post an essay every day of about 1,000 words. I write them in an hour or so in the morning when I get up. My mind tends to be more open at that hour. I’ve done zero promotion and I have about 65,000 readers now and my traffic ticks up each month.
I think Steve is right that it depends upon your range of interests. Sailer enjoys big topics so there’s always soemthing to be said. Political blogs, on the other hand, eventually run through the laundry list of positions and objections offered by each team. There are only so many ways to call the other team a bunch of doo-doo heads. That’s what eventually broke Sullivan.
* When I tried to access Tyler Cowen’s website at George Mason, my Chrome browser gave me one of those security warnings. It appears Google is doing a lot more manipulation these days than just postings the names of Black Inventors.
* People with +3 SD IQs are about 1 in 1000 and generally have to go foraging widely to meet other similar minds. They will use this communications technology–or any technology–differently than the masses and the dopes.
* It must be even more of a burden to be friends with someone who blogs interpersonal issues. It’s like dating a comedian. You have no idea when your personal interactions will serve as a premise for material.
I had an acquaintance who was a successful comedian, and I began noticing him using phrases I used in conversation, onstage. Some issue I’d talk about casually, he’d turn into a major premise, including some of my observations. I saw him once on TV, and I thought, “holy shit. that’s what I told him word for word!” He didn’t tell me he was going to do it, he just did it. I never confronted him on it, because what would I say? Quit quoting me onstage without attribution? I’m not a comedian. It’s not costing me anything, but still…
Hard to be friends with a guy like that. Commoditizing casual relationships is… douchy.
* Steve Sailer: My wife pointed out a prominent comedian on his HBO special doing a joke I’d done on iSteve. “Oh, so that’s why I got a check for $50 from him!” I said.
I’m totally okay with that.
* Luke: “A lot of people won’t speak to me for this very reason and other people don’t have a care in the world about speaking to me because they trust I won’t publish anything that will cause them harm or discomfort.
I find that people with higher IQs have more trust and people with lower IQs are more scared.
People who need reassurance that I won’t use anything that might in any way identify or harm or embarrass them are never reassured no matter what I say or do. They’re just always on guard. And so I give them up.”
* Can anybody actually point to a single interesting idea that originated with Tyler Cowen?
* It’s disingenuous for Sullivan to turn his compulsive internet usage into some kind of perverse spiritual journey, to be overcome by will, when simply taking a serotonin reuptake inhibitor would suffice.
With the AIDs medication he’s presumably taking, all spiritual bets are off. It very likely could be a manifestation of the drugs.
A better essay question for him might be, if you’re head is loaded with prescription drugs, who are you? Are you who you say you are? Are you who you think you are? Are you what you think you are?
But no more than one page per installment, Andrew. We all have shit to do besides walking in your wonderland.
* Andrew Sullivan is what you become after decades of anti-AIDS drugs, testosterone and pot. Be warned.
I had a blog back then. It was semi-popular, as truly amateur, not-my-day-job blogs went: several hundred hits a day, a couple of thousand on some of my more timely posts. But it’s a lotta work for little “monetarization.” When Facebook and Twitter took hold, it just didn’t make financial or practical sense anymore.
Steve, your blog is good enough that you can ask with a straight face that people support it with voluntary donations. That’s rare. All but impossible for amateurs. Most bloggers burn out, even the more popular ones. Look at Instapundit. It used to be a true blog, like this, with items in the news serving as launching pads for extended essays. Now, it’s just a series of links with brief introductory comments. And Glenn Reynolds is so burned out thing had to get a bunch of co-bloggers to keep the thing running.
* And Instapundit is real good.
Tom Wolfe talked about how writing a newspaper column burned out guys who started out with a few years of good stories in them.
That’s actually a lot.
* Herb Caen was a well-known drinker. I’m guessing that plenty of his columns were written under the influence. That was the impression I got reading him for years.
* [Luke: I tried Herb Caen a few times. I never found him compelling.]
* My take on it is that the medium shapes you, almost irregardless of the content.
I guess it is very much akin to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis I think has at least been mentioned here before, if not discussed.
(I first encountered that hypothesis reading Jack Vance’s The Languages of Pao, BTW).
The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis concerns language of course, and has been in and out of favor for a while now.
But we do know that brain “circuitry” does rewire depending on what it is exposed to and what you ask it to do. I just don’t think it is a stretch to think TV viewing and Internet use are doing this.
* I think the getting-paid-for-it-or-not question is being a little underrecognized in this thread. As we all know, getting a paycheck makes it a lot easier to show up for work and punch out a little something productive. And as a news-type or opinion-type writer, if you’re being paid to cover a certain field or topic, well, many people can do that for years and years. You don’t always have to come up with something substantial to say — just covering a topic and being amusing about it is enough. Then onto the next thing. But if you’re writing for the love and fun of it, the inspiration, pleasure and love are likely to come and go.
Oh, another factor: many people don’t find writing to be an immensely rewarding thing to do in and of itself. You aren’t getting your hands dirty, you aren’t making anything … It’s a lot of mental effort instead. Cooking, hiking, and mixing cocktails are very rewarding hobbies — they give you back a lot of physical pleasure. That’s one reason painters can go on for decades — it’s a lusciously rewarding thing to do. The eye and hand get pleasure from it. Writing for me can be fun and it comes easily, but I can also often come up with things I’d rather be doing.
* 1 year ago: ”I should stop reading iSteve & comments non-stop. It’s a drug. I should quit and read books again.”
Now: “Ah, this twitter thing is *crack*! I should make a better use of my time and read iSteve.”
* Tyler Cowen is, quite simply, a *poseur*.
He constantly posts lists of what he’s supposedly reading, or viewing, or listening to, at the moment – but he hardly ever has anything even slightly interesting to say about any of it.
And on the rare occasions when he does say something interesting, it turns out to be thoroughly incompetent. As in the present case.