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I've decided that I need to write a disclaimer. People often don't understand why I spend time complaining on here, and oftentimes don't necessarily care about ponies or the silly little things I get obsessed with. I understand all that, and really, it's fine. Other people's lack of understanding doesn't necessarily constitute an imperative that I change or explain things. I've just decided that it's come time to clarify why I'm doing this, if only for myself.

I started out with this mainly because it's an endeavor of Austin's. Austin endeavors often bring power, among other things, and besides that, it's good to work with someone who respects me enough to grant me such power. I also happen to like doing things with Austin—anyone who'll rip my papers to shreds and challenge my ripping apart of his own papers, then get into a mock argument with me in the lunch line is definitely deserving of my attention. Austin's one of the few people I know who can not only make sense of my ideas, but who also provide useful criticism of those ideas.

About the power-seeking thing, though, I've mentioned it before, and I'll say it again: I do like power. In all honesty, who doesn't? A lot of people will villify those who make it obvious that they're seeking power, claiming that everything they do henceforth has a "shady" motivation. I don't think that one thing necessarily follows from the other. A lot of times, you've only got to look to those who cry the loudest against the acquisition of power to find the ones who either already have power themselves and are pretending not to or who don't have power at all and really want it—else why yell about it so loudly? My enjoyment of personal freedom and power doesn't preclude my having virtues and following a code of morality, nor does it preclude my having something interesting to say or being good enough at what I do to warrant holding a position of power.

Anyway, you're probably not going to find every word I say fascinating. And whether you love me or you hate me, you may find yourself wondering at times why I'm so, as Nate puts it, angsty. Unfortunately, a blog gives me a place to write down whatever I deem relevant to my continued existence, so a lot of times the words you're reading are the result of a short-term burst of thought. As happens online, I sometimes write strong, judgmental opinions that I'd probably never bring up in face-to-face conversation.

While I'd like to claim that I don't do this blogging bit for the audience, entries on here have to be, to a certain extent, geared toward the idea that I do have one. Those who know me pretty well will generally understand where I'm coming from on things, but I'd suggest taking the things you read here in context. Think before you react.

If you're not having a good time reading some of the things I say or if you just stumbled upon this without knowing who I was, you might not look at it that way, but what I'm getting at is that I don't have to let anyone know what I think about things. Pretty much everyone I know is on a need-to-know basis, as they say in The Rock, because I like having personal space and privacy and the freedom to keep my own counsel. That might seem paradoxical, given that I keep a public blog, but I don't "tell all" or spill my guts here. Basically, it's not necessary that anyone read this, so if you see something you don't like, remember that no one forced you to read it.

I also understand that not everything I write about in here will seem relevant or interesting to everyone that reads it. An idea I garnered from fiction writing is that even if a certain subset of things go together by virtue of their being collected around a given person, those items don't necessarily make for a good story. In this case, though, I'm not so much telling or making up a story as narrating what happens, purposefully only including things in this blog that are representative of 1. who I am, 2. what I'm really interested in on a level a bit above the superficial, and 3. what my tendencies and predilections are. I'm trying to gradually build up a cohesive picture of who I am and why I do things, partly as a self-realization exercise, partly to let some relevant people know how my life is, and partly to entertain you silly people reading this.

Then there's the fact that I've become highly curious about and invested in the future of Jablog—so I stick around and keep writing so I can keep in touch with Jablog's current members while attracting new ones.

So that's why the blog is here and why you're reading it. The blog is not here so that you can take my words out of context, twisting them into something I didn't mean. The things said here are generally said here, rather than in the opinion section of the newspaper, because they're works-in-progress. Preemptive conclusiveness is a hallmark of ideas that I'm actually not so certain about, as some of you may have noticed. This is kind of an online testing ground for my theories and generalizations about the way certain things work. When I'm wrong about something, people usually let me know, which has become useful to me.

This blog also isn't here so you can assume things about me from reading it and use those things against me. I might sound paranoid on that count, but the fact is that people have on several occasions tried to use my words against me, taking things I've said out of context and inflating my already inflated positions to ludicrous proportions. xj and benmazer come to mind as users who've fallen out with me to a certain extent over positions I've decided to argue out and defend. I can't fault them for that, as it's their choice as to who they talk to and socialize with, but it's still a shame that they've lost interest in what I have to say because of my positions on certain issues and/or my caustic sarcasm.

Then there are legal issues. Certain students, for instance, tried to use the university's judicial system against me, figuring they'd play a little trick on me by citing statements of mine out of context in dual complaints to the judicial administrator. [shrugs] These things happen, but I'd just like to make it clear that having a difference of opinion with me (or anyone else, for that matter) does not constitute due cause to bring charges against me or sue me. Why not just talk to me about it if you don't like something I've said? For the record, my reporting what I've seen with my own eyes or heard with my own ears on this campus can never constitute a breach of medical confidentiality, as I'm not a licensed medical practitioner. Similarly, my opinions about someone else's actions do not constitute libel, as they are simply my opinion, not statements meant to be taken as fact. My opinions about other people also don't constitute harrassment, as I'm not putting forth such ideas with the intent to harm another person. I'm simply calling it as I see it.

Further, I don't believe that my use of a university-provided Internet connection should necessarily make my updates to this blog subject to the university's jurisdiction, as there's no sure way, short of obtaining my Jablog logs via subpoena, to determine what connection I'm using to update the blog. (Perhaps the probability that I'm using my connection for Jablog purposes is high enough that it's really a moot point. But I don't think anyone knows that for sure.)

Anyway, these legal disclaimers surely don't apply to everyone, but I wanted to make my positions on such issues known. There's no reason why anyone should feel like they can't talk to me about stuff I write in my blog. If you talk to me like I'm a human being before calling upon some higher authority, at very least I'll have more respect for you.

While I often seem blunt, I do know how to be subtle. My bluntness often hides a subtlety that only certain people will pick up on. Even good friends of mine don't necessarily know as much about me as they think they do. This is probably as close to a statement of purpose as I'm going to get. I definitely reserve the right to revise it in the future. I reserve and frequently employ the right to revise everything—hence why links often appear after a given post is entered into the record of my existence. This blog isn't a democracy—while in a given situation it might prove either cowardly or noble to remove or change something, I view this as a bit like the world of 1984—anything featured in this blog could go down a memory hole at any time.

I also make no guarantees that every post will be scintillating, especially considering my penchant for making lists.

Have I disclaimed enough yet?

1:41 am, December 07, 2003 :: the jablog years

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