Ten years ago today, I introduced my blog as an informal forum for my thoughts on movies, culture and ideas. Then and now, this ‘web log’ primarily exists to advertise my writing. The blog serves my purpose.
By July 20, 2008, I knew that I wanted to acquire new knowledge, so I enrolled in extended writing and philosophy studies and, later, a course by my former boss, author, talk radio/podcast host and philosopher Leonard Peikoff. Having declined an offer to write and edit for a website owned by one of the world’s largest companies, I instead pursued my goal to write in a variety of genres and formats, from stage, science fiction and short stories to serious speeches, interviews and articles.
The blog, which I never named, became an outlet. Within weeks after my first post, the U.S. economy had taken a historic plunge and America was unceasingly attacked by Islamic terrorists. During this time, amid a surge of surveillance statism and new technology including mobile devices, the media rapidly downsized, sensationalized and splintered. America was in turmoil. My blog was less of a bugle in this sense than a refuge, chiefly for myself. The blog became a means of exercising free speech on issues which were being distorted, neglected or evaded and ignored in the press and among intellectuals. One of the posts I pursued was an interview, which was granted and turned out to be one of his last (and I think one of my best), with author, historian and scholar John David Lewis (read the worldwide exclusive here). One of the bits of wisdom the then-ailing Dr. Lewis (who was my friend, reader, teacher and patron) gave me was to write about matters of personal interest, if warranted in first person, which is frowned upon in academia.
Obviously, I took the advice. I wrote about losing a friend to suicide — another downward trend, which seems to be getting worse — following Obama’s re-election. I wrote about finding the good, whether posting the first review of Olivia Newton-John’s first headlining show in Las Vegas, the first OCONs in Pittsburgh and Chicago and new reviews of good and, in some cases, exemplary movies. I have since praised TV shows, apps, movies, products and books — even a kiss during a North American riot.
I was among the first writers to praise Edward Snowden as an American hero. I did so as a warning against American dictatorship. I was among the first writers to scrutinize and denounce George W. Bush (and his father), Barack Obama and Donald Trump (by the same standard and principle). When the worst single legislation in my lifetime threatened to destroy the health care industry and what was left of the medical profession, I wrote on the blog. While others were galvanizing around flawed premises, saying and doing nothing or campaigning for fracking, fuel and genetically modified organisms, arguably good causes if not as urgent as the looming danger of the Affordable Care Act, I defended individual rights in health care, denounced ObamaCare on the proper grounds and forecast its disastrous impact — in newspapers and online publications. But always here on the blog.
So, I’ve observed, named and examined the good and the light as well as the insidious and ominous darkness. I write here about the truth as I see it, which is all a decent reporter can do, especially in a perceptual media age. With a relatively small readership of influencers, I’ve been able to write about what I regard as the fundamental conflict of our time: the individual versus the state. I exalt the individual.
Ten years later, my posts or archived articles are cited, referenced or reprinted by Stevie Nicks, the Cato Institute, Mental Floss, Wikipedia, Rolling Stone, Salon, The Hollywood Reporter, Turner Classic Movies and the New York Times. I get feedback on the posts from entrepreneurs, students, activists, scholars, artists and readers across the world.
One university professor assigns my post on the Obama administration versus free speech every semester as required reading for students studying freedom of speech. I’m told that my post criticizing Starbucks with specific solutions, posted days before this year’s fiasco in Philadelphia, was distributed by company executives in the days that followed. Top artists, such as composer Alexandre Desplat, whom I’ve interviewed a few times, post links to our interviews on their sites. The blog attracts clients. One screenwriter read one of my posts and subsequently asked for help with his screenplay.
I’ve fulfilled my recent pledge to add previously published articles to the site’s archive. This way, readers can browse and discover other articles of interest. Posts may soon or eventually be removed and appear in another format, as I clear space for new posts and make site changes. Feel free to subscribe to my e-newsletter, which is currently on hiatus. The blog, as I’ve written, is mainly a means to help me develop, pitch and write in a variety of arts and communications, including screenplays, books, social media, marketing and branding, on assignment and as work for hire (read about my method). This is why I accept support, which sponsors my writing.
If you read and gain value from my blog, please let me know. I appreciate criticism and correction. Above all, tell me what you think. Contact me if you think that I’m qualified to add value to a project (if I agree that I am able to do so, I will). The Federal Trade Commission requires that I disclose that I receive unsolicited invitations, review copies and gifts, whether an iTunes gift card or a donation (which I do not expect). Like other commercial-free blogs and independent sources, I do accept and appreciate the support. I value your readership and I am grateful for your social posts, especially when rendered with a comment, so please like, share and link to my blog posts. Any of these actions matter and directly support this blog, this writer and this life, mine and yours. Happy 10th blog anniversary and happy reading to you.