What do we say when we begin to blog? After an exhaustive survey this afternoon, I'm happy to inform you that, generally speaking, the answer is nothing. But damn do we ever do it self-consciously. The humble origins of future giants amused me most. Crooked Timber introduced itself with an apology for not apologizing and an admission of its insignificance:
The bringing of a new blog before the public is a practice now so common as scarce to need an apology. Nevertheless, such lists, assemblages, diaries, complaints, lamentations, polemics and records of triumph and disaster are now so common and so diverse that new entrants into the field must perforce struggle to be noticed.
Future Crooked Timber contributors but then unknown-expat-analytic-philosopher John Holbo and his AWOL ABD partner Belle Waring opened John & Belle by declaring that they didn't "want to look like big retards." They closed with a declaration of love for their "sole reader." Compare that to John's holbonic first post on The Valve and you'll see the effect minor internet celebrity has on one's once humble ambitions. (Not uninteresting are the identities of the Valve's first two commenters. Similarly not uninteresting is the Crooked Timber post which gave birth to the Valve. Who wants to play "Guess the Future Valve Contributors?" Half of them are there from the get-go. I'm surprised John didn't ask Adam to join.)
how long it will be until literally dozens of people are reading this on an almost monthly basis.
At 12:37 a.m. on 6 July 2004, Bitch Ph.D. informed the world that
The events are real. The thoughts are my own. But the names have been changed to protect the guilty and the innocent.
Is there some significance to these late-night beginnings? Do some types of people start particular types of blogs while suffering from insomnia? This particular pairing suggests the answer's a firm "No." (Then again, there does seem to be something to the fact that many conservative blogs are early morning births. They wake up one morning and decide to remake the world in their image. Someone has to make sure the trains run on time. Who better than them?)
I've gathered many more examples, but I'm too tired to list 'em all tonight. Instead I'll point to the first post here, entitled "Yes, But Is It Radical." In it, you'll note that my staunch support homosexuality had been temporarily overwhelmed by my loathing of hippies. An email had come over the departmental listserv indicating that there'd be a "Radical Faerie" retrospective on campus later that week and I couldn't contain myself. At the tail end of three months of chemotherapy . . . angry at the world and my place in it . . . I exploded. I threw up a test post from an older failed atttempt at blogging and haven't looked back.
EDIT: Comparing old Instapundit to new Instapundit depresses me. Where are all the one-liners? Whither the self-aggrandizing "asides" about his latest publication in a popular magazine or recently purchased gadget? He didn't mention working out once on that entire page.