Thursday, February 22, 2007

Welcome to Hepzibah!

I am glad you found your way to .

For those of you coming from my Hepzibah list, my heartfelt thanks for your encouragement to launch this project. You know who you are, and you should also know I would never have done it without you. I am grateful.

For those of you who dropped in from another direction, a word of explanation: Unlike most blogs, this blog is not yet a public forum. It’s not even a real blog, so far, but an archive of my past e-mails to friends.

I gave a lot of thought to what I’d display in the archive and what I’d hold back. In the end, I let a lot of things through that are far too personal to attract people who don’t know me, I suspect. But they cover shared space for me and many friends of the last fifteen years, my teaching and my former life in Japan, my responses to insults real and imagined by those in power I think should be talked back to, my efforts to record the progress toward same-sex marriage and the rights of gays and lesbians to dignity and civil equity, resistance to the war in Iraq and the need to address the failure of American democracy, and some analysis of the progress of the American Culture Wars. Some of it is flippant. Some of it overly earnest and naive. There’s lots of different strokes for different folks, and I expect few, if anybody, will want to roam the whole thing. Much (the Japan experience, for example) is personal history, not the stuff of discussion, although your thoughts on any part of it are always welcome.

Where I go with it from here I can’t predict. Now that I am retired and have more time to read, I’ve been saying far less than I once did when I was terribly busy. That’s not surprising, when you think about it. The more you read, the more you learn how much other people know and the more you suspect it might be better to talk less and listen more.

For all the risks of adding smoke but no fire to what’s already out there in this age of bloviation, I think there remain two very good reasons for writing. First, I learned a long time ago I don’t have the head for clean analytical thought. I need to get ideas out in linear form that would otherwise remain a jumble in my head. I talk to think, in other words. Secondly, I’ve discovered the world is a far less hostile place when you’re connected, and nothing connects you like showing what you know and don’t know at any given moment. My e-mail exchanges have been a major part of my life the past couple of decades and I don’t expect that to change.

Please pass things on freely to your friends and others you think might find something of interest here. Please write back often and without reservation and encourage them to do the same. In the past, I kept most e-mail exchanges confidential for the most part, although the exchanges were commonly more interesting than the original commentary. By putting things out on a blog, instead of e-mail, I hope I can avoid the dilemma of what to share and what to keep to myself. If you post to the blog, our exchange will be public. If you write me an e-mail, I will keep it private.

However you write, to agree, disagree, or to point me in another direction, be assured that I appreciate the contact with you.

The archived pieces have been put into ten categories:

1. Ain't Necessarily So (14 articles)
2. Applied Ethics (7)
3. Bitchin' and Testifyin' (7)
4. Film Reviews (3)
5. Life and Death (3)
6. My Life in Japan (21)
7. Relearning America (6)
8. Teaching and Learning (5)
9. The American Empire at War (10)
10. The Long Hard Slog to Gay Liberation (30)

The first, “Ain’t Necessarily So,” is my way of talking back to organized religion. The third one, “Bitchin’ and Testifyin’,” is a miscellaneous category of personal thoughts. The other categories should be self-explanatory. Since some of the pieces actually fit more than one category, if at first you don’t succeed, check elsewhere.

Other pieces may also be displayed, working back from the most recent. To see anything else in the archives, scroll down to the bottom and click on one of the ten category labels under View Posts Tagged. That will display all the articles in that category.

If the archived page you are reading is too unwieldy, and you want to read one thing at a time, find the date of the article you want, scroll down to Blog Archive, click on the year (toggle the arrow down) and then the month, and then the title.

Hope to be talking to you.


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