Thursday, May 24, 2007


Been a blast writing this blog, and I'm only on my 10th day. But it raises issues that I didn't expect, and I think it worth addressing these from time to time.

So the first such issue is this: the name is Arod, rhymes with Herrod, nothing to do with A-Rod who came along decades after I was Arod. It was the given name of my paternal grandfather's whom I adored and who died when I was 10, and it is a name that is liberally sprinkled around in my family. It occurs in the Bible, Numbers 26:17. No idea of where it came from in the family. It is my middle name, and it has been my Internet handle since I first had an email account in 1994. My friends, however, call me Stephen.

A couple of issues relate to identity and identifying. Anyone who chose to do so could identify me by name pretty quickly, and I am not really trying to hide it. But I would rather keep my identity a little fuzzy on the blog itself, at least for now, and require that extra step or two of anyone who wants to have the actual moniker. Why? See below.

I have also chosen to identify my friends, acquaintances, and family rather obliquely by using initials that may or may not correspond to their actual names unless any of them tell me explicitly that they prefer that I identify them or, perhaps, link to their Internet presence. And I am going to identify the place where I work as a Major Research University or MRU. Again, you can find out where I actually work in about 3 or more clicks, but if you have to know it by name you will have to do that work.

Why? This blog is about my intellectual and ideational ramblings born of a lifetime of study, both formal and informal, but always passionate and involved. It is not about the specificity of identity either of me or where I am now or of whom I know or have known. The Internet paradoxically allows us simultaneously to be more identifiable and less unique. So if there is anything unique here, it is not in the naming of an identity but rather in what I might say and, more importantly, who out there is touched by it, whether that be a couple of friends or a self-selected cross-section of folks whose take on ideas and thinking bears come congruity with mine. I am not concerned about who or how many look at this, but I want whoever does look at it to do so because of some part of what I write, not some part of any specificity which I can identify or which they can identify.

I am a little suspicious of identity, anyway. You see, incongruity, ambivalence, and looking at the edges are features of where I came from, where I am, and where I am getting to. So the approach mirrors this.

I remember an anecdote about Stephen King who said, in response to the news that he has macular degeneration, that it was okay with him because he always looked at things out of the corner of his eye anyway. I like to look at things square on, but I prefer to turn my gaze not to the center but to the boundaries between things. And boundaries are usually fuzzy, not hard.

So, if this is a pile of steaming crap to you, then you will probably gag at my ramblings. If not, check me out.

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