Oct 062009

There’s a fascinating debate going on at Dave’s place, where I’m on the losing end and he’s quite clearly streaking ahead. I remember similar occasions from our Members Net days and truly wonder why I allowed myself to fall into the trap of engaging in a game I have neither the knowledge nor intelligence to play.

But, in a sense, we can see the lack of a meeting of minds in a different light. I find myself at a disadvantage – and am indeed clearly so – not because, as Dave would assert, I see myself on the wrong side of history but rather because I’m not all that interested in fighting historical battles; also – I have to admit – because I’m not up to the challenge of doing so.

History is very difficult. History requires a sharp brain, the ability to access and manage plenty of data and a certain degree of obtuseness – none of which I possess.

But history also has its limitations. History is important as a litmus test for the folly of the present – but it very rarely tells us much about our futures.

I can hardly call myself a failed historian – because I never really tried (though, as I’ve already pointed out, if I had tried then I’m sure I would’ve failed). I’m not a failed socialist either – because I never really invested too much of myself in politics, wary perhaps of the pain it could bring to both myself and my loved ones. I am, however, a failed writer – because writer is what I tried desperately to be for many years.

And where I have failed on the grandest scale is in trying to write creatively about our futures.

So, instead, I blog here and there in this uncomfortable mixture of tangent and half-baked thought, trying to write creatively and imaginatively, even as I am only ever able to write in opposition to what really happens.

And okay. So maybe I’m not a socialist after all. Maybe that’s why I’m kicking up such a fuss and going off on such an unproductive set of tangents. But if not, I really don’t know where else I should go.

Perhaps, as Dave himself once kind of alluded, it was for a while my destiny to be the Zeppo Marx of a unholy trinity of bloggers: the dumb one you needed to convince if you wanted to find out whether you’d be able to reach out effectively to Joe Public.

That is to say, if you could find words that explained it to me, you could – essentially – explain it to anyone.

The dumb one who was another kind of litmus test. Change him for good and you could change the world.

Maybe that’s what I should’ve stuck with.

Maybe that’s what I should’ve done.

Ah well. Socialism is a tricky beast. I still don’t like its furious attachment to the importance of capital. I still don’t like its willingness to be circumscribed by the very powers it alleges it will strive to oppose.

Such a tremendous lack of ambition, our latterday socialism of the web.

But, where it is open-minded, plural, reflective and – above all – approachable … then I am sure there will be a place even for someone as flawed as myself.


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