Tag: meta

Casualties of thoughtfulness

Posted by – October 6, 2010

It might appear that I’m not interested in blogging anymore, but in reality I’ve been producing stuff at roughly my normal, sluggish place. I have drafts on:

  • “My inexistent field”, on the scientific discipline I’d like to study but doesn’t really exist yet
  • “On diversity”, where I try to explain what I think is an important distinction in cultural diversity, namely shallow diversity (which is mostly good) and deep diversity (which is mostly bad)
  • “Antimiscommunication”, where I claim that some important contemporary debates arise from intentionally using different meanings for words, in order to achieve status-differentiation by signalling
  • “Tolerance vs. acceptance”, where I suggest that one such misunderstanding underlies the misuse of the concept of liberty (in a philosophy-of-society kind of sense)
  • “Chomsky links”, where I read Chomsky’s marginalisation as evidence that neither the left or right is prepared for morality in matters of international importance, perhaps with good reason
  • “Democracy limiters”, about the differences in the ways people believe democracy should be limited, and what that might reveal
  • “Low growth apocalypse”, where I do some calculations to demonstrate that if a growth trend is not self-destructive, limiting it is practically and morally equivalent to a horrifying act of death and destruction
  • “Tale of two euros”, where I try to do some calculations to show that by Marxist eyes, capitalism has almost been removed from labour-intensive industries but dominates capital-intensive ones
  • “Freedom of speech in the west”, where I catalogue the many recent abuses of my favourite human right, siding with eg. David Irving, Mark Steyn, Geert Wilders, Mikko Ellilä and Jussi Halla-aho

It’s turned out to be problematic to leave things to rest for a while – after a couple of days I hear in my head all the counterarguments, qualifications and messy details that make it evident that anything I write is ultimately predictable, simple-minded and pointless. You could probably write those blog posts for me just from those brief synopses. So why bother?

You make your own Big Brother

Posted by – August 15, 2009

One of the quotes that randomly appear near the top of the sidebar of this blog is “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Whatever side of yourself you most want to present to the world is what your future self will be more like. I can feel that happening to myself right now, and I’m not sure I like it.

Blogging feels very different than it did when I first started on Livejournal. Back then it was a very personal, expressive, “teenage” thing. The vast majority of those entries underwent a Stalinist purge when importing material here. It was not very far from a true reflection of myself – not that it was purely a description of my personal life, but a form of self-broadcasting nonetheless (like self-reflection but outwards). Now I feel uncomfortably restricted, very aware that everyone I come into meaningful contact with will google me and make a quick judgement based on the first things they see.

The safest things from that perspective are technicality, glibness and distant commentary on something someone else thinks. The worst things are bubbly emotionality, being uninformed, honesty and being boring. As a result, I don’t suppose this blog is terribly representative of me as a person. In real life, I often am pretty expansive, impulsive and eager to sound out on things way beyond my expertise.

One might ask why I would want to “be myself” here – after all, the market for persons is very much a buyer’s market – but ultimately, I don’t have any reason to do do this but self-expression. Besides, the really fun things to read, even when they’re strictly business, always have a powerful personal flavour. I want to (learn to) write that way.

The weird thing is that when I meet people in real life, even the new acquaintances whose googling I dread, I don’t particularly restrain myself – and nothing bad happens! People like me fine, and the ones who don’t I usually don’t feel bad about. I haven’t had the experience of missing out on a job opportunity because of my personality or what I think, whereas the opposite probably has happened.

Still, when I’m alone, thinking about how to seem, the sterile, defensive self-projection comes through and is even gaining ground inside my mind. It’s like I’m being persuaded by what I think a person should appear to be like. Propriety is taking me over! On the whole, this conflict has made me less eager to blog or to really think about what sort of a person I am. I don’t know how to solve this yet.

Partly this is due to the widespread tendency to be somewhat ashamed of oneself deep down, something that for me goes away when I’m caught in the moment, socialising and trying to get everybody to like me. But another part is the clear message some other expressive people have gotten (and is also one of the quotes in the sidebar): You’re WRONG and you’re a GROTESQUELY UGLY FREAK. I’m not a truly ugly freak, but I have my ugly sides. Socially, I am almost proud of them, but they somehow become scary when written down in pixels.

As for the really ugly freaks – well, I have some reading habits I am wary of admitting to; widely excoriated things on the Internet I’m drawn to for whatever reason. I guess it’s often a simple curiosity of “dangerous things”, plus the fearlessness and force of personality of their authors. In Finland the writings in question have led to legal prosecution and conviction in some cases (most famously Jussi Halla-aho will soon be on trial for his opinions). In one fascinating case in Canada it led to public self-flagellation, humiliation and removal of the blog in question, one which I had happily (often disagreeing) read for years unaware of what a heinous thing it would turn out to be in a Canadian university.

Such things sometimes make me catch myself – it seems perfectly possible that I’m one of these sick, terrible people who deserve to be run out of civilized society. And then there’s the reality where I feel like I’m acting normally and get along with people. I don’t know which reality is more accurate, and it’s making be a boring coward and I want to break out of it.

Electric light

Posted by – November 2, 2008

I decided against threaded comments but added a way to reply to specific comments. The comments are internally numbered but the numbers aren’t displayed. I’ll eventually try to change that.

I moved to live with my mother and sister for a couple of weeks because I’ve been replaced by a dog for that period (don’t ask). I’d been looking forward to running in Herttoniemi/Viikki but today I found that a rather unpleasant stress injury from last year has recurred. It’s either tendinosis/tendinitis or some sort of neuroma – in any case a quite bad and worsening pain in whatever is the opposite of the insole (lateral plantar fascia?). Shit sucks! I’d gotten about as fit as I’ve ever been and now I’m going to have rest this for probably at least a week. Perhaps I need better shoes or a better gait or something. Well, there’s always biking.

Apropos of being in Herttoniemi, I’m available for human contact here. Tehäänks jotain Vadim?

I’ve been thinking about the best way to blog bilingually and it’s actually quite a difficult problem to solve. If I just tag all the English entries “english” the tag system is effectively useless for people who only want English entries because there’s no way to filter by multiple tags. Maybe I can use categories to achieve the wanted effect. Then again, I think I only have one English-only reader so far. But I do sometimes toy with the idea of acquiring a larger readership.

edit: getting the comment numbers was actually a matter of a single php expression in the appropriate theme file. I didn’t need the plugin after all. I shall now agonise over whether the handy reply and quote links justify keeping the plugin.

edit2: I added a strip of pictures. It kind of looks bad but maybe I just haven’t gotten used to it. I don’t know, maybe I could choose better pictures. I’ll leave it up for the time being. Also: tell me if it breaks css on your browser. I’m new at this stuff.


Posted by – November 1, 2008

I managed to do the unlikely: all my old lj posts are now imported. It is an epic story of xml and python which I may recount one day. Next I will delete some of the embarrassing old ones. They’re all untagged (this could change if I were extremely bored one day) and the comments aren’t there (this could change with an even more epic story of xml and python if I were extremely extremely bored one day).

Ok, so this will be my blog from now on. Let’s hope wordpress doesn’t turn out to suck because I would hate to go through all this again. I don’t know how commenting or user registration works yet, but it probably does work in some way. I’ll figure it out later. Of course I don’t really even need user registration for anything. There’s an openID plugin but I don’t want to have to figure it out. So just comment with any name you type in? I encourage impersonating other people, by the way. I don’t encourage spam, but there’s probably a good plugin for that.

Also, there appears to be an rss2 feed which may work.

edit: oh the hilarity: an unclosed html tag somewhere in September has caused that month and the rest of the wordpress template to be in italics when viewing that month. Gotta catch ’em all…

edit2: ok, registering users is actually super easy by default. So do that if you want to. It also looks like it’s super easy to spam.

edit3: my first wordpress wishlist item: the ability to disallow commenting for posts older than x days. My second wishlist item (I guess this is theme-dependant): folding archive view.

edit4: I set up a simple anti-spam scheme that requires commenters to have javascript and cookies turned on. Complain if this is a problem.

edit5: I added a link category for the blogs of people I know. I decided to include only blogs that are
1) of at least vaguely general interest
2) updated frequently
3) viewable by unregistered visitors
I have come up with one such blog so far. Note to people I know: you suck! But seriously, if you think you fill these criteria please point it out to me.