On October 14, 2004, I posted my first Movable Type entry on www.pliink.com/mt/marxy, 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.