It was a dark and stormy night …
Ten years ago, I started Barataria with that perfectly awful line. It was indeed a cold, dark evening in April filled with a sense of anxiety. Where has all this gone in ten years? You be the judge.
The stats are a bit overwhelming. In 1,614 posts this blog has accumulated about 1.3 million words. If printed out with standard fonts and margins, it would be a stack of paper about 8 inches tall double-sided. Over 21k followers, counting twitter, are notified of each post, most importantly over 2.2k informed via the wordpress reader. Over 17 million pageviews have generated 14k wordpress “likes” and 17.6k comments.
It’s been every MWF, 3 times a week, without a single miss. Barataria is the most reliable blog there is.
That doesn’t mean it’s reliable in terms of the subject, however. Careening wildly between the craft of writing , politics, economics, and sociology it seems to cover just about everything. The two most common complaints are that this has no theme and that I never talk about myself – that readers don’t know who I am. Both are wrong.
The basic theme is that we live in a time of great anxiety. The world is changing rapidly and the fear of loss easily overwhelms any hope for a brighter future. The only possibly solution is better communication between all of us as a free people learn how to work things out together. Liberté, égalité, and fraternité is the only real trinity of any consequence for a people whose catechism reads,
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
If that sounds far too Ameri-centric for today’s world, you may not realize that for much of the world Americanism and Globalism are essentially synonymous. That most Americans cannot appreciate this is the only truly dire problem of our time.
There is one central theme. Freidrich Nietzche once said that “There are two types of people in this world – Don Quixotes and Sancho Panzas.” With the Picasso illustration of the mad Don on the masthead many people believe that I am Don Quixote, ready to tilt at windmills. They are wrong. I am Sancho Panza, loyal servant to a world gone mad from believing its own bullshit. I am here to serve and make sure that it all stays out of too much trouble and serve as best I can. In the end, I only hope to receive the same reward that Sancho was given, the Kingdom of Barataria – the cheap lands, the swamp.
I grew up on the edge of a swamp. My path to enlightenment started with the realization that the smell of the Everglades isn’t the stench of death, but the beautiful perfume of life. I could never ask for more than Barataria for myself.
Who am I, then? I’m some guy who feels he has a calling to bring some sense of order to the world, and that’s as close to bragging as I ever hope to come. I have an dangerously high tolerance for chaos and crazy which has gotten me into a lot of trouble over the years. But it can’t scare me. I refuse to retreat into the comfortable bullshit which saturates popular culture and seeps into the thinking of far too many people.
Connections to the world excite me. Whether they are between people, ideas, or from people to ideas the world as we know it is nothing but a multi-dimensional ball of connections. If you want to know me I promise you that it is all in here, somewhere. If you can follow this you know me very well. The details are far less important than what actually propels me, the connections.
How dark and stormy are we ten years on? In many ways, only darker and only stormier. But I think I have learned something along the way. Sitting down and working through what I am grasping to connect is indeed illuminating, but the comments left by you, the readers, have been far more important. I have learned a lot and I hope you have, too.
The rest of this week Barataria will summarize just what we may have learned. Feel free to rip it apart as you see fit. Today please join me in a birthday party. Watch the videos, leave a comment, and if you’re up for it leave a contribution.
Thank you all for making this a great decade. Without readers there is no purpose in writing. This has all been for you and the gifts you give back to me. Thank you!