First things

The occasion of doing a first of anything makes one prone to ponder infinity. But pondering infinity makes me physically naseous, so I won’t. I’m more inclined to say a little something about my own writing and how I think this might help it, and to do a little bit of explanation of what I expect this blog to do. That seems only appropriate for a first post, though perhaps a little hackneyed.

So about me, first, with a promise to segue into writing, with the thoughts behind the blog as a rousing conclusion.

I used to write effortlessly. In high school, the idea of tossing off a short story on a Saturday night was just about the easiest thing I could think of–at an age when I was really expected to be thinking only of tossing off. I even wrote an 80-page “novel” at one point. It was sort of a cliched James Bond-ish spy novel with lots of sex in it (so I wasn’t too far off from the expected behavior). But then something happened in college. Mostly, college happened. And fiction got left behind (and probably rightly so) for the (at the time) more important pursuits of papers and exams. And while I loved the writing I did for 34th Street magazine, which was the campus entertainment rag, I felt somehow like that should be the end of my writitng for fun. It was becoming time to earn a living. And somehow I ended up in journalism school.

There will be plenty of time to discuss my feelings on journalism school, I’m sure, so I’ll gloss over that, lingering just long enough to make it clear that while I love the job I have now, I don’t think that I was cut out to be a reporter, per se.

And yet then there’s this blog. And Blogging is something that was discussed at the convention of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) this weekend. I think that in the right hands, a blog could actually bring a return to the more experiential journalism that I most enjoy reading. The kind that’s written at a cafe table as the Nazis advance, but the writer still has a glass of beaujolais next to his Remington portable, Nazis be damned. I think that the blog has a real chance to return the meaning to the term “correspondent.”

But that’s not what I really want to do with this necessarily. Of course, I do hope that the blog will be somehow experiential. But I also hope, as the title I picked might suggest in its Lieblingesque way, to bring a critical eye to the world, and especially to the media. I am a journalist by training, and an academic by heart and by employment. So you can expect some journalism to show up in this blog, but you should also expect some ranting and raving–albeit informed ranting and raving–about the activities of the press, and well, anything else I damn well please. What books I’m reading. Movies I’ve seen. Politics. My friends.

Speaking of friends, I had started this blog several months ago with a completely different first post, and I dedicated that now-defunct, one-post blog to my friend Rachael, who is currently slogging through the first weeks of her second year of law school. I did so because she’s a fellow press junkie, and because she claims to enjoy reading my writing. But I want to make a fuller dedication with this revamped blog. So it’s to my Mom, who taught me to be questioning and critical (and more importantly, she instilled in me the love of a cheap pun). It’s to my Dad, who in many ways is my ideal reader. It’s to my sisters, one of whom is stubbornly opposed to the idea of critical thinking, on principle. The other is still celebrating her 9/11 birthday in the Central Time Zone.

And of course, everything has to be dedicated to Paul. Because he has to hear me spout all this crap first, and yet he keeps coming back for more.

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