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January 01, 2008


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patrick j. mullins

"And, what if the friend for whom or in whose behalf we are wishing has a sense of happiness that we find ill-conceived or distorted? A sense so contradictory to our own that it can damage the happiness of our new year? What do we wish then?"

The friend is neither a friend, one does not with in his behalf anything but an Unhappy New Year, or even misfortune, sickness and death. Isn't that rather rudimentary?

'Happy New Year', like 'Merry Christmas', is for toughies.

patrick j. mullins

'with' should be 'wish'.

All desire is based on making personal necessity less pressing, hence 'Happy New Year' to people one does not like.

I've never made a single New Year's Resolution. Those make no sense whatever, and are just sort of like setting timetables for blogging, I guess. If you post them that way, you might be able to get out of the blogging racket and get an op-ed, because they will be less intimate, which you both want and don't want, it seems.


You are right about wanting and not-wanting.

On resolutions: Paul was intrigued by the resolution of a Miley Cyrus (as she spoke with Ryan Seacrest at Dick Clark's "Rocking New Year's Eve"). She said that she 'can't wait to continue doing' what's she doing. That's such an odd statement; it's difficult to discern the temporality, the gaps and continuity--what does it mean to wait for continuing to do something? Is she then in a gap of non-continuity at the moment of utterance? Or, is she saying something about the absence of a gap, the absence of the gap necessary for desire? so, really, she's stuck doing what she's doing; waiting is impossible. It's almost like resolving not to resolve.

patrick j. mullins

I'm glad you put that 'resolution' in, because,like me, you tend to parse things to a fare-thee-well. My first impression is that the 'I can't wait' was just not very careful speech, and that she just meant 'I just want to continue what I'm doing'. As such, it is one of the happiest resolutions I've ever heard.

I think she may be talking about (without my having the other affects to look at, facial expressions, etc.) not needing a gap usually pre-requisite for a desire. Rather, she has not stopped desiring, and particularly delicious is that the Magnificent Opportunity of a Ryan Seacrest Interview has not stopped this growth of desire. There WAS that gap necessary for desire, but it had happened long before the inteview; now she's just allowing it to blossom--or at least that's how a most exemplary 'resolve not to resolve' would ideally appear for me. That's what I want it to be like for me, because 2007 was a much 'better year' (I agree that there's some stupidity in comparing in kind of sense of personal or collective satisfaction based on mere 'year change) than 2006, which I hope you will let me know you found out in my lengthy message.

In the meantime, I can sometimes wish someone a Happy New Year and really mean it, and so I wish you one. You're very special.


And, I also wish you a happy new year! I'm going to contemplate Ryan Seacrest and the gap of desire, but for now, 'lengthy message'? Am I missing something (in other words, did you send me an email in the last week? if so, I didn't get it)?

patrick j. mullins

I sent you a handwritten letter from Los Angeles on Thursday, December 19, just as the 'enlightened hospital', as Christian calls it, began to finally kick in. I sent it to Hobart and Wm. S. Smith Colleges, so you've probably just not been over there. If you don't get it, I'll call the hotel, as they will have kept it for me, but it also has my NYC address on it.

I like the idea more and more of things like media interviews being utterly unable to interrupt IN ANY WAY one's concentration on what one has to do. People like Ryan Seacrest and Mary Hart are not very interested in this, but that's why they were hired to go to Tom Cruise sets and actually ask 'Well, how's he doing?' I actually heard Ms. Hart do this on one of her shows, as if deeply concerned, but I don't know when the aging is going to show, because as far as I can tell, she looks exactly the same as she did 25 years ago--and knows how to look like a new celeb news item is somehow different from the one she talked about 3 minutes ago...


ooh! now I have something to look forward to when I go back on campus. that's great!

I want to pick up on--and hear/read what you think--the idea of things that don't interrupt even as they might appear to. I don't have anything to add right now, but I think I will soon.

shag carpet bomb

Rather, I've enjoyed not reflecting on my thoughts to see if they might be blog fodder. I've felt oddly free of self-imposed surveillance, of the patterns of reporting to which I have subjected myself. Over the past months, I've felt like I want to write, to blog, but that I don't want others, readers, to know that I'm blogging. In other words, I've found myself stupidly resentful of being read, even as I count hits and readers and all the other available stats and rankings. I think, 'oh, I should write about X...but if I write, then A, B, and C know that even though I haven't had time to answer email, finish the review, write the tenure letter, I've had time to blog.' This is something bloggers writing under a pseudonym avoid. How can I resolve this little dilemma? One approach I might consider in coming weeks: instituting a posting time so that posts will appear at set times rather than as I write them.

*this* is something I've felt. Frequently. Over the summer, I reviewed Audacia Ray's Naked on the Internet. The sex bloggers in that book, including me, have all had this experience. And they don't avoid it by being anonymous since they end up in an online community where they do the same thing: blog instead of answer email or engage in a debate with friends. They start out anonymous, but increasingly come to have an online identity that now needs another place to blog anonymously -- as someone who isn't known as that online identity.

I've been thinking about this issue on and off since June, but haven't had any sustained time to write about it and flesh it out.

I hope you'll find the time. Then I can just buy your book. ha.

patrick j. mullins

'And they don't avoid it by being anonymous since they end up in an online community where they do the same thing: blog instead of answer email or engage in a debate with friends.'

Thanks for the warning, shag. I googled then Ms. Ray's interview with Regina Lewis, in which she talks about how much safer internet meeting is than other kinds of meeting, which I can see why would seem either important or irrelevant (as in my case, I don't care if it's 'safer', I don't like doing it over the internet and never have). There's a lot of emphasis on technophobia, as if people didn't have plenty of good reasons for it. But so what. People do sex while typing, so obviously they'll talk on flat screens for days and even send a pic before it occurs to them to talk on the phone. It is as though a 'garden were prepared' by all this 'checking out' which is predicated on suspicion to being with, that just because it might be physically safe it would follow that it would be psychically safe. Be your guest, of course, but I do always appreciate warnings, because it keeps me on the alert for tunnels if I might need them. Sex info sites on real sex clubs and cruising sites are good, too, because you can find out what the cop-appearance quotient is--for example, the going doctrine is that cops are over every square inch of the Central Park Ramble, which is good for me to keep in mind--on the other hand, they AREN'T. I know from serious experience there this past summer.

shag carpet bomb

Hey patrick --

Just to correct the misperception. Sex bloggers are a broad category. it includes Audacia Ray's own blog or Mistress Matisse -- who I bring up because she just wrote about why she turned off comments in a post connected to what jodi wrote: She both wanted the readers and resented them.

the women who Ray writes about aren't typically part of or using or blogging about online sex communities. the sex bloggers I was talking about were more along the lines of Figleaf's journal, Being Amber Rhea, Renegade Evolution, Violet Blue, Mistress Matisse, Cherry Bomb and Made for Metal. Some are sex workers who blog about sex work, but also many other things. Some are people who just feel they are sex radicals.

But they are primarily there to find community, intially, and also find themselves engaged in argument. (I am reminded of Ange's (archive.blogsome.com) brief essay about blogging in public and private space -- how the term was deployed by men. I'd look it up but I am lazy. :)

As for the issues you raise, I couldn't agree a whole lot more. I have never understood the claim of safer on the internet issue and I like the phrase, 'as if a garden were prepared'.

Since I start intertubing back in 1992 -- I was teaching at Jodi's uni for a couple of years and had students who regaled me with stories about her courses -- I have been fascinated with the preference people have for seeing a picture but taking a long time before they realize you could talk on the phone. And even then, there's this odd desire not to talk on the phone but to type at each other. Back in the mid-90s, this might have mattered in terms of cost. But these days?

And I'm not even talking about sex forums. I'm talking about academic and intellectual discussion groups I've been involved in.

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