The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


There's a song by this woman called Jill Sobule, titled "Bitter."

I originally heard it when Channel Z was very first launched in Auckland and was ad free (I also discovered Fiona Apple at the same time, two excellent finds I feel). Anyway, "Bitter" became something of a private anthem for me, in particular the chorus which goes:

I don't want to get bitter
I don't want to turn cruel
I don't want to get old before I have to.

And I don't want to get jaded
Petrified and weighted
I don't want to get bitter like you.

At the time when I was heavily involved in student politics, I decided that this would be my yardstick for when I would pull out - when I started to feel bitter about things, when I started to get twisted and cynical, that would be the time to move on. I made that decision, back then, but external circumstances changed and I felt I had to continue - it was a mistake, although not one I overly regret now, it was really only a mistake for me (and my health).

But now I find those lyrics running through my head again - I'm getting bitter, and oh so jaded, about this blog and the kiwi political blogosphere in general. So, by my rules, that's time to leave, or at least to take a significant break.

Since I wrote my hiatus post I've actually sat down to post, on a couple of occasions, but each time it has been to be reactionary - as I commented over on MVT's own musings about whether (and how) she should continue, I felt like I only wanted to write to tell right wing arseholes how very very wrong they were about something or other. Sounds like a descent into bitterness to me.

And there are a lot of right wing arseholes out there. Of course I'm highly biased, and I've had this debate before, but as a left wing Pakeha woman I feel a lot of the abuse hurled around is both unnecessary and unhelpful. I believe there are many individuals blogging who deliberately craft their posts and comments to hurt and to enrage - and far too often these posts are dignified, and indeed encouraged, by links from bigger players.

If I'm brutally honest I've been disappointed also by the attitude of some of those bigger players to other blogs - when I first started blogging there was a much more collegial atmosphere; hat tips and links left, right and centre (boom boom). But these days I feel as if, politically, many are retreating into their own bunkers, and there isn't the cross-discussion (through links and commenting around the traps) that there used to be. I've been depressed that often I've written something good and it's got bugger all in the way of links or comments, and then my throw away post about the wonders of Viggo Mortensen became a raging debate about imperialism and the like, for no apparent reason. I didn't mind the discussion, in fact I encouraged it, but it left me mystified about what is worth writing and what is not.

I just feel like about five people are reading (despite the hits being much higher than that) and that this blog isn't making a difference to anyone, except to make me bitter. Some of the comments to my hiatus post just reinforced that. My instinct is that many bloggers now are actually trying to be columnists instead - to write something, often sans links, to invite comment, sometimes to engage a little with that feedback, but not really interacting with the blogging community. That's fine, but it's not what I want to do.

There are of course some bloggers who are dear to my heart. Almost all of them I knew before I started blogging. For them I have a few parting gifts (and if I do return you have to give them back!)

For Mr Frank Stupid of Stupid Internet Name - I give you John O'Farrell. If by some chance I have already given you Mr O'Farrell (I have vague recollections that I may have) then you can exchange him for Tom Robbins. If you already have Mr Robbins then you read too much and need to get out more.

For Apathy Jack of Brain Stab - I give you the Social Nerve cartoon page, with which I intend you to inspire your cartoonist within, and also aid you as you continue with your nefarious plan to subvert the tender youths of Hoodrat High (long may they reign!)

For Maia of Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty - I don't really have some clever or witty link for you Maia. What I want to give you is my heartfelt thanks. Your writing has really opened my eyes to layers of my own feminism that I didn't know existed. You have been a true sister, in the few months you have been blogging (not to mention before!), and you have helped me to evolve.

For Maria Von Trapp of the blog of the same name - For you, comrade, a review of the Sing A Long A Sound of Music at the Hollywood Bowl with over 18,000 people (scroll down). I still can't believe Nickname Pending has never seen it. I can't sing like you can, but I know all the words.

For Tze Ming of Yellow Peril - This wasn't really what I wanted to give you, but I couldn't find what I was after, so this will have to do, as the nearest approximate. I know it's very 1998, but I was feeling kind of nostalgic, and I thought it might remind you of days gone by in the No. 4 Alfred St Women's Club (although perhaps not as much as a picture of that heart throb, Raymond Miller).

For Make Tea Not War of her eponymous blog - I wish you a Sky Tower sized Get Well Soon, and also a bucket full of Serenity action figurines. I hope we can meet up one day when I'm in your part of the world, although it doesn't look like happening anytime soon!

Thanks also to the many other blogs and bloggers I have enjoyed and/or found particularly interesting - Just Left, No Right Turn, Joe Hendren, Ranting on the ROK, First Against the Wall, Philosophically Made and Kiwiblog (in Days Gone By, not so much recently). There are others too, but I'm too lazy (and cynical right at this moment) to type and link them all. If you feel offended by your absence, you can just assume you're in that number and I probably won't disagree.

I'm not going to delete this blog - I'm too vain, and there's a possibility I may return. If I do it will in all likelihood be in July. I will probably continue to (read and) comment elsewhere, although that's getting full of bitterness for me too. I'm so sick of the senseless nastiness (the only thing worse is the senseful nastiness, and I will delete comments on this post from peddlers of it - I've only ever deleted spam before, but I feel very strongly about this).

I'll leave Jill Sobule to bring this on home:

So I'll smile with the rest
I'll wish everyone the best
And know the one who made it,
Made it cuz she was actually pretty good.

Well I don't wanna get bitter
I don't wanna get cruel
I don't wanna get old before I have to.