Veni, Vidi, Voltaire

Over the years I have used many excuses for neglecting this blog, but I bet invoking Voltaire is still a new one: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” The various other distractions in my life have meant that I haven’t been devoting as much headspace to writing blog entries as I used to, with the result that I have a bunch of incomplete ones lying around which I started, felt dissatisfied with, and never finished. Of course, this means that rather than deciding to either work on improving those entries or trashing them and starting anew, I became hopelessly trapped in a quagmire of guilt and inertia.

In my defence, while I admittedly lack this basic life skill of Not Being So Freaking Neurotic, I did spend the time away somewhat usefully. I’ve done some good cooking, taken photographs I’m proud of, stencilled my own T-shirts and made a photobook of our January trip to Laos, among other things. It may not seem like much, but when you’re not very artistic it can take up a lot of time and energy to design and lay out a photobook which doesn’t look like it’s been authored by Stevie Wonder.

Anyway, where I’m going with all this is that this blog turns ten – ten! – years old on November 7th, 2010, and I couldn’t bear the thought of letting that anniversary pass with the deafening silence that’s been the norm here lately. I love this blog, and I regret that I’ve let it slide so much over the past few years. I update my Facebook profile often enough with random observations and drunken Youtube odysseys, but obviously that will all disappear into the ether when Facebook’s star fades and we all move on to the next big social networking thing. And whatever transient warm fuzzies I might get from a few “Likes” there, nothing really compares to the joy and satisfaction blogging has given me – the internal ordering of thoughts that writing always forces me to tackle, the intrigue of other people’s responses, and, years later, the invaluable experience of being able to look back in time with far more clarity than memory alone will allow.

So all this has been a convoluted way of saying I’m back, really. Cross my heart, pinky swear, back. I can’t promise that all my posts will be humdingers because I have embraced Monsieur Voltaire as my new yogi in this regard, but they will at least appear more regularly than they have been. And because another quote attributed to my new yogi is “The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out,” I’ll end here for now. See you soon. 

I Wasn’t Made For Diplomacy

The reading on cultural relativism I’ve been doing for my comparative human rights course has been boring me so far. This isn’t because it’s especially tough or dry, it’s because it’s just so earnest and civilized. Human rights are important. Social and political cultures are complex and diverse. It’s really, really difficult to figure out how best to protect everything and everyone, but we must keep trying. GROUP HUG!!!

In contrast, Voltaire once said he would rest in peace only when the last king was strangled in the entrails of the last priest. Philosophical discourse must have been so much more fun in those days.