(Warning: Meta-content ahead.)

I feel guilty when I go a day without posting, and I’m not the only one. My friend Mark Riebling says that he considers skipping a day on his blog a moral failure, which gives him a lot to answer for, although in Mark’s defense he has book contracts to fulfill and a full-time job to hold down. Say what you like about Bill Buckley’s writing — the man, well into his 70s, still hies himself to the keyboard seven days a week to knock out the daily theme. We can all admire him for that, if nothing else.

Now why should I feel guilty when I don’t blog? Why, when my girlfriend comes home from work and asks, “Did you blog today?” do I feel compelled to mumble something about “working on a couple big posts,” all the while feeling cut to the quick?

It’s not as if I owe my readers anything. Don’t get me wrong: I love, I positively adore, every last one of you, but you get what you pay for, after all. Character is habit, as Aristotle says, and the task is the thing. You set yourself to write a blog. Mirabile dictu, a few people come to read it, but that’s beside the point. Maybe other bloggers are different, but I would feel the same way if I resolved to a keep a journal and then didn’t write in it every day (and I have) or if I tried to put up a shelf or assemble a piece of furniture and wound up punching some holes where none should have been (and I have). It doesn’t matter if nobody reads the journal or sees the holes. You know the holes are there, and it bothers you, or it should.

So will I be posting every day? Not necessarily. Poor Brian Micklethwait must rue the day he made that deal with the devil, although he has kept his end up impressively, if imperfectly, considering he runs another blog and contributes to a few more into the bargain. But I do promise you this: I will be wracked with guilt on the days I don’t.

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 7, 2003 @ 6:25 PM | Navel-Gazing

17 Responses to “Give Us This Day Our Daily Theme”

  1. 1 1. Ian

    I, for one, sir, get infinitely more than I pay for your thoughts.

    Blog at your own pace; I shall always read. 🙂


  2. 2 2. Deb

    Quality over quantity, big guy!

    I love your poetry posts tho I usually dont comment.


  3. 3 3. Will Duquette

    Hey, didja hear that? He likes us! He REALLY LIKES us!


  4. 4 4. Deb

    Yeah, Will! I dont think he’s nearly the curmudgeonly geezer he tries to make us think he is.


  5. 5 5. Aaron Armitage

    "I will be wracked with guilt on the days I don’t."

    Like they say on Christmas, it’s the guilt that counts.

    You mean they don’t? Wha…


  6. 6 6. Robert Birnbaum

    As Sam Levinson opined,"It’s so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then don’t say it."


  7. 7 7. James Valliant

    William F. Buckley is no way and on no issue "admirable." He is a liar and a (unearned) snob and an intellectual lightweight whose contributions add up to much less than nothing. It would have been better if he had never learned to write at all.

    Aaron, intellectual "tolerance" (or butt-kissing) doesn’t become you at all.


  8. 8 8. Aaron Haspel

    To be accused of "tolerance," of all things, really hurts. But I don’t see why one can’t admire the habit without admiring the results.


  9. 9 9. Aaron's sister

    I don’t know, Aaron. It’s bad enough that you blog about blogging. To blog about NOT blogging is, I think, beyond the pale.


  10. 10 10. Eric Scheie

    Glad to hear I am not alone in feeling guilt for not blogging.

    But count your blessings, for you are mentally far healthier than I am. I not only feel guilty if I don’t blog, but I feel guilty if I DO blog (because I am not at all comfortable with this process, and not at all sure I want people reading my tortured internal dialogues).

    Tolerance, however, is in my view one of the most important things in life — certainly not something anyone should feel guilty about.

    What is wrong with admiring someone you disagree with?


  11. 11 11. Aaron Haspel

    Sis: You’re in good company. The girlfriend said yesterday’s entry didn’t count either.

    Eric: Tolerance is not a virtue in the abstract. It is a positive vice to tolerate someone who, for instance, is bent on your annihilation. Ought Salman Rushdie to "tolerate" the Imams who issue an order to assassinate him? My point, however, was that it is possible to admire energy independently of the use to which it is put. One can admire Napoleon for training himself to sleep four hours a night and still deplore his attempt to conquer Europe.


  12. 12 12. Eric Scheie

    Agreed. I refer to tolerance of opinions, not threats of violence. But even tolerance of opinions is a two way street, and does not mean tolerating intolerant opinions. I am highly tolerant of everything but intolerance — as contradictory as that sounds.

    However, as the tolerant Americans showed the Nazis, the Imperial Japanese, and the cowardly Commies, tolerance has a pretty good track record of defeating intolerance.


  13. 13 13. Eddie Thomas

    I think I’ve seen the dangerous ground, and I’m standing well away from it. 🙂


  14. 14 14. Eddie Thomas

    Aaron, do you think you can arrange for your sister or father to blog on the days that you don’t? I’ve come to enjoy their comments as much as the original posts. I also have come to enjoy the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, neither my father nor my sister reads what I write!

    As to daily posts, I had hoped to keep up this summer, but have failed miserably as well. I don’t think it is an unreasonable aspiration, but it seems fairly difficult to pull off well.


  15. 15 15. Aaron Haspel

    Enjoying their comments is fine, Eddie, but that "as much as" puts you on dangerous ground.


  16. 16 16. Mark Riebling

    If Jimmy Valliant is going to accuse WFB Jr. of being a liar, he should give some examples of lies. That WFB allowed Whittaker Chambers to publish a reprehensible review of Atlas Shrugged, poisonously titled, "To a Gas Chamber, Go," is of course true; but it does not amount to a lie. That WFB is an intellectual lightweight is also true, in a sense: In his mean-spiriuted Obituary on Ayn Rand, WFB dismissed her entire ethical philosophy with the injunction: "It was all said already in the Sermon on the Mount." But it’s not like WFB lacks candelpwoer: as Miss Rand herself said to WFB, when they first met: "You’re much too intelligent to believe in God." So I would say to Jimmy: "You’re much too intelligent to take cheap shots at WFB." And what is "a (unearned) [sic] snob"?


  17. 17 17. Jim Valliant

    "Weebles" Riebling, of course, knows better (or should), but I will assume that other readers may not have read the latest "historical novel" by "WFB" called "Getting It Right." It, along with the outrageous lies "WFB" is saying on television in order to promote that book, is filled with lies. After more than 30 humiliating years of National Review having to be repeatedly corrected on the subject of Rand’s ideas and their influence, his persistent misrepresentation of those ideas–indeed, of the very points on which his rag had been painfully scolded over the years–can only be intentional. He uses the Brandens as source material for Rand’s life (uncritically), but only when it is convenient to his point. The context which even the Brandens had the decency to provide is entirely suppressed by Buckley. He nevertheless comes to conclusions even they would choke on. Buckley claims that the "history" in that novel has been "independently verified"–presumably by the Brandens–and then takes a number of factual excursions contradicting even the Brandens!! Allow me just ONE very recent example: during at least one televised promotion for his book, he credited the Brandens with personal knowledge of O’Connor’s alleged alcoholism, something, of course, the Brandens themselves forcefully deny. Can you really still blame this all on Buckley’s Alcohol-Induced Psychosis, Mark?

    Aaron will agree, I think, that, like "selfishness," the concept "snob" has gotten a bum rap. I excluded "WFB" from having earned the "good" kind of elitism.

    Conversely, Aaron, "tolerance" has had way too easy a time of it and needs to be associated with the bow-legged moral promiscuity of our Relativist Age.


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