Friday, June 02, 2006

The Long Silence

They say something about silence being golden, but that is so not so in the world of blogging, where hits are golden, and new content on an hourly basis is the most golden of all.

This site has been as silent — as moribund — as the lonely folks I wrote about in February who'd come to Barnes and Noble to die.

It's not that nothing has been going on with Self-Help, Inc. On the contrary, it's been a busy productive time, with a heated back and forth with WNYC's Brian Lehrer in March, and a dialogue with Ellen and Julia Lupton about life as a work of art at Design Your Life, and a chat with journalist Linda Formichelli about ending self-help addiction.

But certainly not so busy that I ought to have grown totally silent in this space.

So what happened? Why the lull?

I had been meaning to write about the deleterious effects of red-baiting after the Brian Lehrer interview — where the dialogue swerved toward a not very interesting (from my point of view) — discussion of whether this writer has a soft spot in her heart for the economic and social theory of one mid-nineteenth century political economist. When so much is at stake with the political apathy that self-help culture breeds, who cares — really, who cares? — what one sociologist thinks about Karl Marx? But that's the path we went down, and for some reason I just couldn't bring us back.

Red-baiting on The Brian Lehrer Show? What has this world come to? I guess it makes for better radio to go on the attack — Rush and the rest of those folks on the far right have taught us that.

All of this got me thinking about civility and silence — about how the bombastic and accusatory can silence (however temporarily) even those among us, like myself, who typically have plenty to say.

Does one need to know tae-kwan-doe to do a radio show?