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Looking backward

This is not about Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel of the same title, but some thoughts about this web site.

It’s a little difficult to get my mind around the fact that there have been 2,895 articles published on this web site since it began in December of 2008. That’s a lot! I have to admit that I enjoy reading some of my own stuff and I think some of it is surprisingly good, at least for an amateur. Some of it could be thrown away at no great loss.

I’m in a retrospective mood perhaps because I was at a funeral yesterday, the second in just over a month. I joined Civitan International, an organization that promotes good citizenship, about a year ago, and the local chapter members are on average older than the folks I usually hang out with—more funerals. Ms. Conspiracy and I talked about our legacies yesterday and what people would say about us at our funerals. This blog is not something I would put on my life list of virtues–the issue is just not that important. Rather I would like to be remembered for the the non-profits I’ve helped to get their web sites up and the seniors I have helped to get their email working again.

That said, there are arguments to be made for the value of web sites like this, such as this:

Even the most convincing critical appraisal of the most farfetched theory will, inevitably, fail to convince the most deluded. Yet, not subjecting conspiracy theories to sharp scrutiny is a serious threat to society. Because they discourage critical thinking and moral accountability, and instigate the most pernicious human instincts, conspiracy theories must be resisted in a world already ravaged by the consequences of fundamentalist mindsets.

— Beverly Ballaro and Chuck Goodwin
Points of View: Conspiracy Theories, 2011

What was that thing I had to memorize in high school1?

The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;

That may not be true about our friends’ funerals and dead US Presidents, but Mark Antony was probably on target when it comes to Obots and birthers.


1William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene II.

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9 Responses to Looking backward

  1. avatar
    Benji Franklin July 25, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Doc, when elections can be decided by a few percentage points, and lies and rumors now explode across the Internet, don’t underestimate the value this blog may have had in effectively debunking the Birther lies sufficiently to make them moot for Obama’s reelection.

    And to honor your prose appropriately, I think a suitable epitaph for you engraved in granite should contain nothing less than the complete text of your blog.

  2. avatar
    Keith July 25, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    Benji Franklin: And to honor your prose appropriately, I think a suitable epitaph for you engraved in granite should contain nothing less than the complete text of your blog.

    Actually, I think that could work.

    It could be stored on an SSD and hooked up to a solar powered Arduino with a WIFI shield. Hey why not?

  3. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2013 at 11:24 am #

    You should patent that.

    Seriously, funeral homes these days make DVD’s of the deceased with personal photos and remembrances. They show them at visitations and sell copies to the family.

    There’s no reason why a cemetery couldn’t put out a WiFi network and provide tomb-based content. Folks could scan a bar code on the grave. It wouldn’t be any different from audio/video museum tours.

    Keith: Actually, I think that could work.

    It could be stored on an SSD and hooked up to a solar powered Arduino with a WIFI shield. Hey why not?

  4. avatar
    Majority Will July 26, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    You should patent that.

    Seriously, funeral homes these days make DVD’s of the deceased with personal photos and remembrances. They show them at visitations and sell copies to the family.

    There’s no reason why a cemetery couldn’t put out a WiFi network and provide tomb-based content. Folks could scan a bar code on the grave. It wouldn’t be any different from audio/video museum tours.

    Oakland Cemetery Self-Guided Tours

    “For those with an iPhone we have two free audio tours available in iTunes.”

    http://www.oaklandcemetery.com/plan-your-visit/self-guided-tours/

  5. avatar
    misha marinsky July 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    “This blog is not something I would put on my life list of virtues–the issue is just not that important.”

    What you are doing is a mitzvah – מצווה.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/mitzvahHebrew: A worthy deed.

  6. avatar
    Jim July 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Seriously, funeral homes these days make DVD’s of the deceased with personal photos and remembrances. They show them at visitations and sell copies to the family.

    Have one for my father…wonderful memories. Save all your pics, digital and paper, your families will love it.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy July 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    I tend to feel uncomfortable about compliments, but that is one I will accept. Thanks. (I learned that word on an episode of Law and Order.) Mitzvah also carries a sense of obligation, and that goes to the reason for the site, to see the good and to do it.

    misha marinsky: What you are doing is a mitzvah

  8. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter July 27, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Yes, we need to think about how people will remember us. Because you never know when an earthquake or tornado will just WHOOOSH! you away. I hope they put, “The keyboards of the world are now safe from coffee, tea, and coke” on mine. That is the most fun about what I do, make people laugh. Plus, I could have swore it was Green Lantern who said:

    The evil that men do lives after them;
    The good is oft interred with their bones;

    Good to learn different.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  9. avatar
    Lupin July 28, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Thanks to this blog, I learned a lot of new things including some I found by researching myself. (e.g.: Madison being a French citizen.) You have done tremendous work and are entitled to well-deserved thanks from many quarters.