Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Vision Statement, of Sorts

What is An Auditor and a Gentleman?
A&G is a general-interests blog produced in the spirit of a “commonplace book”, which were a common feature of intellectuals’ desk. The commonplace books were collections of the accumulated notes of the owner, on every subject of interest, from medical recipes to mathematic and chemical formulae to note-form dissertations on the parts of speech. No two were the same, and unless you found two people with identical interests, you’d be hard pressed to find one that was even similar.
Yeah, but why that name?
People who know me well have often commented that there are two of me, and whether they meant that in a nice way or not, the concept has always seemed appropriate. Often, people come up with two examples: the upbeat, whimsical and somewhat eccentric “bumpkin”, and the hot-headed, arrogant and cock-sure jerk. Experience has shown this idea to be more apt than not, and therefore, you have the Auditor and the Gentleman.
So, what’s the scope of A&G?
The scope of the blog is essentially whatever it wants to tackle and wherever it wants to go. Like many people I have a hard time defining a narrow band of my own interests, and it seems a tad overly impersonal to spend my time crunching the heck out of the traffic numbers Google provides Blogger users in order to determine what produces the greatest number of hits and write solely about that. Think of it as a sort of Commonplace Book, but instead of being my desk’s knowledge catch-all, it’s available for public pursuit. In general, though, expect to find a variety of material within a range of interest groups.
How much of this content is your idea?
There are any of a number of reasons why that question is hard to answer. If you’re asking how many of the ideas on the blog are totally original, it’s probably few. I mean, humans have been having ideas within varying definitions of complexity for about ten thousand years or so now, so there can’t be that many original ones left!
In terms of how much of this is fed to me, very little. Sure, I comment on other blogger’s work from time to time, or on news material, but for the most part, the process of finding that information is my own unguided whim. I’m not now, nor have I in the past, taken any sort of compensation from anyone for choosing what or what not gets discussed.
Which of “you” is which?
The Auditor’s the cranky one. To say he’s either from the manic or depressive end of aforementioned spectra would be dishonest, but he’s definitely from one extreme pole or another. If he was a night at the bar he’d be a double of Maker’s Mark and a cheap cigar. To put him in terms of a West Wing character, he’s the Toby Zeigler, best described as the “prickly, mumbling communications director”. That grumpy me is the one most likely to call someone to task, to drag out one social, economic, or political blunder or another, or to propose an actual, cited idea.
The Gentleman’s a bit more placid, from the middle of the spectra, certainly. He doesn’t go to bars that often, but when he does he’s the quiet guy with the beer in his hand making the… interesting choices of shot on the pool table. While we’re stealing Sorkin’s work, he’s your Jed Bartlet, your Sam Seabourn. The former is seasoned enough to know stupid when he sees it, the latter is young enough to stick to the ideal anyway. As it was once put on the show, “I know he screwed up, but I love the way he did it full speed… BAM… like there’s a Sam Seabourn-shaped hole in the wall somewhere”. The gentleman drags out the philosophy, the ideas unfettered by citations, and the brief moments of pique found in ideas like the perfect shave or the proper time for proper grammar.
And, where possible, I try to tag posts accordingly.
Well, what happened to all the old stuff… the Catholicism rants?
Well, rant was a good for it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily recanting. The idea, now, has had time to mature. I don’t think the public stage is a good place for those rants, and I’m not sure I’m still agree with even three quarters of what was said, but they’re what I said and I’m letting them stand until I can either be bothered to address them otherwise or I see a demand for it.
Mostly though, I’d really rather talk about other things. As a free thinking person, I am more than the sum of the things I believe, and those things don’t always have useful labels. To be honest, I don’t remember half of what was said offhand anyway, which is a pretty good sign I’ll be recanting at some point in the future. In the meantime, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for too much more of it. It’s a big world, after all. That doesn't mean no more religion and philosophy... just less soapbox.

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