This blog is old enough to vote

Eighteen years ago tonight, the first post appeared on this blog. It addressed how George W. Bush was the only president other than Nixon to cause me so much anger and fear.

Before Dubya, I never thought I could despise a president more than Nixon. I certainly never thought I could hate a president more than Dubya. Guess what? It took very little of 2017 to disabuse me of that idea. In other words, as I think modern America reflects, politics have gone from bad to worse to “OMFG.”

I’ve written more than 2,600 posts over those 18 years. Until March 2005, the blog was devoted mainly to politics. Then, it moved largely to books and music because I was — and now am even more — fed up and sickened by 98 percent of politics. I avoid watching the news because party now means more than principle and the proliferation of QAnon idiots, anti-vaxxers, and the like. (Not to mention Kristi (“free-dumb”) Noem.)

In 2006, though, the insane and frightening Judicial Accountability Initiated Law (JAIL) appeared on the ballot. I wrote nearly 100 posts on it. That led to some harassment and legal threats by some JAIL supporters but also the pleasure of being interviewed by NPR’s Nina Totenberg. Fortunately, 89 percent of South Dakota voters rejected the measure.

I took a lengthy hiatus from December 2017 until January 2021. I attribute it in large part to President Trump Stress Disorder impacting my and so many other lives. While I’ve resumed blogging, much of my current effort is going to a couple of history publications at Medium. I’ve averaged around two posts a week there, some of which I’ve reposted here.

So what’s been showing up here for the last 18 years? Excluding the four-year hiatus, it’s averaged more than 185 posts a year (some 3.5 per week). The largest number, 409, has been in the A Reading Life category, which I described as “Anything remotely connected with books and reading.” The Weekend Edition collection of linkage is second with 396, followed by Politics (381) and Book Reviews (350). The reviews (many of which appeared elsewhere) were between 2005 and December 2018, so I averaged a book review roughly every two weeks.

Even at 18, the blog is kind of an anachronism. Today it’s “influencers” and social media. In that regard, I believe social media is one of the worst things to happen to the world. I dropped my Facebook account, have a Twitter account I look at only if a link in a story takes me there, and have Instagram only because my kids occasionally post pictures there.

Whether the blog will make it to 21 is an open question. That’s in part because I, too, am somewhat anachronistic. I’ll be 65 next week, and I doubt many curmudgeons (“You kids get out of my yard!”) have a blog. Regardless, I hope the handfuls of readers have gotten at least some information and enjoyment from my efforts.

Writing is the only way I have to explain my own life to myself.

Pat Conroy, My Reading Life

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