Friday, January 23, 2009

Because I said so, that's why

And now, a question from my Mom:

Question: I'm not sure, John, why you're keeping political comments off your blog. You generally have interesting opinions. I would much rather have read some of your observations on the innauguration the other day than the item about your lunch.

Short Answer: ‘Cause I don’t wanna.*

Long Answer: There are a lot of reasons, let me list a few:

1) Because I am a public official and this is a public forum. Essentially, whenever a politician (no matter how low on the totem pole) makes public comments about politics, it usually comes off as either self-serving or as the repetition of entrenched talking points. I found that when I adopted my year-in-review summary that I felt obliged to remove a couple of comments from the e-mail in which it originated. I don't want to go through a continuous process of self-censorship as I write this thing because it is in some ways an experiment in autobiography. (Heck, I don't even want to proofread these posts, as I'm sure my eagle-eyed readers have already noticed.) You may have only gotten my thoughts on eating lunch in my cube, but rest assured those were my uncensored thoughts on eating lunch in my cube.

2) Because genuine political thought and discourse is complicated and requires a commonly understood frame of reference. Putting together items on that level takes a lot of time and effort, which is why the Internet is full of people calling each other names and attacking each other's positions without much effort to understand why the other person is saying what they're saying. And a blog isn't a good format for that sort of thought, unless it's genuinely dedicated to political thought, in which case it has enough time to develop a full framework and context around specific items. I'm not trying to build a political framework here, I'm just capturing a few random thoughts in words.

3) Because I already have more than enough opportunity in other venues to discuss my opinions on matters of both local and national politics. I also have more than enough opportunity in other venues to have my opinions on matters of both local and national politics ignored by people who aren't really listening, but just want to make their own points. Just because I won't be blogging about it doesn't necessarily mean that I won't be thinking about it or even possibly writing an e-mail about it.

4) Because I'm mostly doing this for fun as something other than work or politics, which already take up a big chunk of my time.

5) Because I'm likely to occasionally comment on aspects of politics, anyway, despite items 1-4. For example, I'm sure that I'll put together a post on the fact that our village is honoring Jim Donahue and Gene Matkowski for their years and years of service on our village's water board. That'll be a political post, but hopefully it will discuss something not obvious in politics and something that isn't being discussed elsewhere on 100,000 political blogs. I guess another way of saying that is that I didn't have anything particularly new to add to the public discussion of the inauguration or the election.

*6) Because I flat-out stole the short-answer bit at the top of this post from Ryan Claytor's FAQs at his Elephant Eater Comics site. I put it to you, gentle reader, would you trust political commentary from a blogger who steals his best bits from Ryan? I also put it to you all that you should go over to Ryan's site and order "The Collected And Then One Day - Vol 1" which is really a much more entertaining and insightful read that this long bit of metablogging. Plus, I won't feel guilty about stealing Ryan's comment if somebody buys a copy of his entirely excellent book.

7) Because Patioboater and Patio Boat Blog (TM) reserve the right to change any of the rules they've made up about this blog at any moment. We're just winging it, folks.

(Offer to keep my commentating nose out of politics may not be valid in your state or metropolitan area. Consult with your attorney for full details. Side effects include indigestion, insomnia, inflammation of the lower extremities, and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Please consult your doctor of political science before taking Patio Boat Blog political comments internally.)

P.S. That "public forum" bit up in #1 is also why I probably won't post much in the way of specifics about my job in here, either. The word "Dooce" has meaning to me!


  1. The nice thing about being at home is I get to comment on my job fearlessly without any worry of being Dooced.

    SpeedyMac is one of my good friends from Saranac Lake. The kind of friend who would loan me her only car to make the crazy commuting trip from Wilmington to Saranac to Placid and back again at the end of the day when my car was out of commission. We carpooled before carpooling was cool and green!

  2. Another good thing about being at home is that putting your location and job together makes a nice blog title.

    Nobody wants to read a blog titled Wolverine Lake Manager of Indexing and Metadata Tagging. Heck, I almost fell asleep typing it.

  3. I totally forgot I loaned Sue my car - and I'd do it anytime!! The Tupper 300 all the way!!

    Sue's Awesome Friend, Speedymac

    I also deliver breast pumps.