One Year


On October 14, 2004, I posted my first Movable Type entry on, thus making my entry into the “blog” universe. After making the effort to write something every single day, my mt.cgi file weighs 4.5 mb! Okay, that does not sound very impressive. Let’s try again: All the essays and comments on neomarxisme add up to 741,437 words. That’s 2,455 pages of text if written in Courier 12. Nice work everyone. Our collective vitriol and bile will be stored on the Internet forever.

This time last year, I was reading a lot and wanted a place to apply that knowledge to my observations of Japanese pop culture. The blog provided a perfect place to throw out those ideas and have them critiqued and reshaped into more appropriate forms. Despite all the bopping and bashing, the debate process has been a pleasant experience overall. On a professional level, however, I’m not sure the effects are so clear. Blogging is supposed to help you develop a “name” for yourself, but all my freelance work comes from personal links to other magazine editors with high social capital. (Traditional networking: 1, Internet: 0) All this intensive writing probably improves my prose to some extent, but the more I write, the more I get disappointed by my repetition of certain sentence structures. And moreover, I’ve always felt the blog to be a horrible detraction from my music: Who would want to listen to a song by a guy who uses the word “aggregate” on a frequent basis?

From the beginning, I’ve said that I have no missionary goal about this blog. Even though I discuss Japan’s problems in great detail, I am not personally fighting for the adoption of my solutions. I like Japan, and I’d like to see Japan work to protect the areas in which it excels. So far, my only goal has been to increase foreign understanding of Japanese culture — warts and all. I’m not sure I’ve succeeded here either, but I do feel that I’ve been able to derail the usual conversation into interesting, foggy areas like organized crime involvement in art, music, and fashion; institutionalized payola; the decline of mass subcultural sophistication; qualms about “Gross National Cool”; and the social meaning of bear posters.

But, my voice was too loud — some of you have confused me with an actual authority — and now I can’t just throw stones from the outside. I don’t like wearing these pessimistic clothes all the time, and I’ve been unsuccessful so far inventing faux optimistic ideas for the sake of balance. Last fall, I was happy to spend time crafting essays, but now I am too busy with the last stages of actual research and album production to really have the time. I have less fun doing the blog, and I’m sure all of you have less fun reading it. I don’t want to pull something as dramatic as a hiatus, but I warn you that the low-quality and muted rhetoric will probably continue until January. Next year, we’ll see if I really have anything left to say.

Thank you to all the readers and all the commenters. I’ve never understood how several thousand people could be interested in the very specific content of this site, but then I realized that they’re all probably just skimming.

W. David MARX (Marxy)
October 18, 2005

Marxy wrote a lot of essays back on his old site Néomarxisme. This is one of them.

20 Responses

  1. r. Says:


  2. Rory P. Wavekrest Says:


    Congrats on a year, and thanks for giving me something interesting to read every morning while I avoid my duties and concentrate on yogurt, coffee, and the deeper meaning behind Top Gun



  3. marxy Says:

    what’s weak?

  4. Luke Says:

    Hey marxy — I’ve been reading your site for a while and recently read the entire archive while procrastinating on my ling thesis … so at least one of your lurkers is reading in depth. I appreciate a glimpse into a world rarely documented in English. I enjoy the depth of your approach. Also, your running ideological melee with momus is extremely entertaining. Keep up the good work.

    You’ve also confirmed for me that, in fact, (my fellow swattie) Justin Hall knows absolutely everyone.

  5. marxy Says:

    Go Garnet Tide!

  6. saru Says:

    Hey Marxy,
    Thanks for some good reading. I started reading this blog after leaving Japan and missing it a lot. Don’t remember how I originally came across it. I really appreciate the “warts and all” critical approach–it shows you care enough to take it seriously. I really do think it’s a shame that the comments often get sidetracked by parties I don’t need to mention by name here, though I admit that a couple times I couldn’t help but respond to the trolling.
    I wouldn’t mind listening to music by someone who uses the word “aggregate” frequently, but then again I am a big autechre fan.

  7. jasong Says:

    In the beginning I found the “I know what’s wrong with Japan” tone and the whiff of sycophantism off-putting, though now I think it wasn’t intentional. The early Momus/Marxy debates helped flesh things out and questioned statements that needed to be questioned, but lately it’s gone a bit “flame war” (very ’97-’98).

    The best thing about this blog is that it motivated me to do my own research and think more about the country where I live — Japan.

    When you’re done your thesis about collusion in the music biz, I hope you can put it up for download.


  8. channing Says:

    yeah, whatever, Antonin. ah ah umm no

  9. alin Says:

    oh no, everyone getting nostalgic.
    have you ever thought of having two separate blogs?

  10. Carl Says:

    “Hmm, what if I had TWO blogs!”

    “Blog A entry: Man, my blog B entries are really crap. I’m almost ready to post my point by point dissection of it. But first, here’s a detailed online quiz that proves that if blog B were a Road of the Ring character, it would be ‘Gandarufu.’ …

    “Blog B entry: I ate some toast today. But it seems like I never have to time to do that… what with all the time lost on that crappy blog A!! Is anything it says ever even close to right? Allow me to explain in exhaustive detail.”

    Or is it possible to imagine a world of non-self-referential, rivalrous, and argumentative blogs?

    Anyhow the moral of the story is if Stereolab had a song about aggregating, that would actually be pretty cool, I think.

  11. r. Says:

    …and speaking of that album title, i:d just like to point out to everybody (i:m sure marxy is already aware of this) at this point that ノスタルジア and 郷愁 actually have pretty different nuances in japanese. can we start a thread about that?

  12. marxy Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but “郷愁” is a sentimental yearning for your hometown. And nostalgia actually seems to be “ノスタルジー” more than ”ノスタルジア”. What’s the nuance of the katakana one?

  13. Carl Says:

    Looks like another case of German katakana medical words to me.

  14. nate Says:

    I like marxy as a curator. I have just enough interest in the things he talks about to read an english language blog about them.

  15. Chris_B Says:

    marxy: that whole blogging will make your teeth whiter meme was KoolAid from the beginning. Anyways its been a fun year!

  16. Drew Says:

    I’ve only been lurking for a few months but thanks for keeping this up and entertaining, Marxy. May the endless bickering between you and Momus never end.

  17. st Says:

    I think I started lurking a few months ago… but I went back and read the archives. Interesting stuff about music and entertainment in Japan that I wouldn’t have found elsewhere. Sad that the more pointless of the comment volleys get you down so bad, it seems to detract from the content and purpose somewhat.
    Some people aren’t ever going to stop telling you they’re more right than you, it’s no reason to PC everything to the point where your own prose is being forced out of you in some unfamiliar shape in constant retalliation.
    As for “understanding of Japanese culture”, wouldn’t be here for any other reason. No need to “quieten the voice” because some people misunderstand and put words in your mouth. The others are here for the good stuff.

    Say, I can’t read them but the Japanese posts were a cool idea, especially when they were getting Japanese responses. What ever happened to that?

  18. marxy Says:

    Thanks for the words of kindness. I would love to do more Japanese posts, but I get self-conscious about my own Japanese. Maybe more next year.

  19. over_under_around_through Says:

    What started me lurking were the album reviews. I enjoyed the Aprils, Mac Donald Duck Eclair and Plus Tech Squeeze Box very much after reading about them here.

  20. Cash Advance Says:

    Cash Advance