May 12, 2009

"No one wakes up in the morning and asks: What's the latest finely tuned observation?"

I observed. And he said: "Well, I do, so I write it to find out."

10 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Althouse Blog could be taxed since it is designed to be consumed obsessively. You are one wild and crazy Professor.

k*thy said...

It's the same thing I tell my husband - for the most part, you so don't want to be in here. Sometimes I shouldn't even be in here, by myself...

And if I could sit still for 5 minutes? Wow, what the heck is that all about?

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

K*thy: Experiencing someone else's mind would be the greatest high, as long as I could get out whenever I wanted to. But none of us are in here by ourselves. We've got all our multiple personalities with us.

Traditionalguy: That Althouse, she's one sharp cookie.

Paddy O. said...

I do too.

I don't think it's all that rare, really. It's why morning papers were so popular for so many generations. The whole formation of editorial sections depended on it.

Only, the observations became less finely tuned over time, and almost entirely predictable. Why pay money to read someone write what you already know they'd say.

Finely tuned observations can be quite popular, but only if they're on a narrow range of subjects. Politics, for instance. Politics is why a lot of the (all of the?) big blogs are popular. That some have something to offer besides politics mixes up the audience and keeps things fresh, but it's still the politics that drew people in.

Observe other things and unless there's an obsessive fixation on a particular niche the audience is hard to find.

My love for a finely tuned observation on a morning is probably why I ended up pursuing theology more. Get regular doses of finely tuned observations on matters that stretch the bounds of language, sometimes pushing for ideas that are outside the bounds.

The ability to write a finely tuned observation is its own special high, one that allows the folks who do it to avoid other sources of occasionally illicit stimulant. If others are interested in reading it, that's a bonus.

Lem said...

At my meetings I notice people saying “no disrespect” almost constantly.

My father used to have a subscription to Readers Digest.
At the end of every story there was a finely tuned observation. I used to look forward to them.

Over the years it seemed to me that the better observations were anonymous.

“no disrespect” ;)

Is it possible to observe w/o letting something else get in the way?

Bissage said...

No one wakes up in the morning and asks: What's the latest finely tuned observation?

I did okay in law school but I knew this guy who got straight As and I admired his success greatly. I asked how he did it and his answer was simply: “Good work habits.”

Paul Zrimsek said...

What have we gotten from wild and outrageous? Billionaire bankers ruining the economy with their wild, outrageous new derivative securities. Draft-dodger politicians wildly and outrageously invading countries that pose no threat to us.

If this is what passes for finely tuned observation then for the love of Christ give me sensationalistic rubbish, and quickly.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I prefer a mix, if only because it keeps the blogger from becoming too heavy in their blogging style. I suppose it depends on the type of audience the blogger is trying to attract. Is a blog successful if its commenters are all trolls but there are lots of them?

It's like with Twitter; some people are obsessed with getting as many followers as possible. They have lots of followers, but nothing interesting to say. I call them "follower whores" and I suppose there are blogs like that too, only saying outrageous things to attract attention.

I was reading a book on the early history of tabloids and the phrase "unhappy echo of other people's failings" struck me. I think that's the kind of thing blogs need to guard against becoming more than anything else: an unhappy echo of other people's failings.

traditionalguy said...

Sharp cookies are rare treats. If one wakes up thinking about sharp cookies, is that a sign of an obssesive/compulsive disorder, or just a sweet tooth?

tim maguire said...

You beat me to it, Paul. He's got the simplistic BS down pat and looks to have arrogant twit covered as well.

Would wild and outrageous really be an unmangeable stretch?