Death to Zombie Contentions!

There are a number of things we could do if we wanted this blog to become “more” than it is.  I’ve frequently considered writing posts on the subject – proposing new site features or initiatives, exploring ways to bring back some former participants, to recruit new ones, and to raise the blog’s profile – but the ideas never felt right.  I’ve come to realize that the main reason I’ve held back is that I don’t think I’m not sure that building up the blog – this blog – would be worth the effort the right thing to do.

Even if we could  revive the ZC of a year ago, I wouldn’t want anything to do with it.  It was a place where a relatively big bunch of politically conservative people felt comfortable, welcome, and, in a bloggy kind of way, important and full of potential significance, and where a few others sometimes enjoyed tangling with them.  I’d be interested only in a very different ZC than that thing was – different content, different people for the most part, different circle of connections,  different sense of context and direction.  And I’d prefer a different blog title, too:  Though I eventually grew accustomed to “Zombie Contentions,” I’ve never really liked it very much, and it’s lost resonance over the year and a half of the blog’s existence, since I don’t think any of us think much about, or of, the Contentions blog anymore.

I’m mostly fine with things, so this isn’t a complaint.  I like having an all-day coffee klatch and sanity-tester.  I enjoy working with you all, seeing what you come up with.  I prefer relatively intensive dialogue with people I know – in the way we know people on the internet – to the alternatives offered at high-traffic blogs and major commercial web sites. Also, for the first time in a long time, I have some other writing/editing projects going on, so I feel much less driven than I might have otherwise felt to “make something” of this blog.

In the last connection let me emphasize that I don’t see a zero sum contest between pursuing those other projects and pursuing a blogging project.  To the contrary, useful and unique synergies can develop between seemingly separate and divergent writing interests, and, for my purposes, have done so already on the level of material that I’ve tried out here and been able to plug in elsewhere, and vice versa.  We may eventually see some community synergies as well.

Still, I said “mostly fine with things” rather than just plain “fine,” because I’m not completely confident that what I’m saying goes for the rest of you, or applies well enough to keep the blog going.  In fact, my sense is that, in the life-cycle of small blogs, ZC is well into old age – if not already dead, just dragging itself along in an appropriately zombified form.  Either way, I suspect it will soon – probably not next week, but likely within a few months at the most – cease to exist in its present form.

That eventuality doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all.  The next “thing” may resemble this “thing” in numerous respects.  Maybe it’ll be almost the same thing, just at a different location and under a different name.  I’m open to suggestions, and I expect I’ll have further ideas of my own to share as well.


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37 comments on “Death to Zombie Contentions!

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  1. Sic transit gloria mundi…

    Mortality is fatal —
    Gentility is fine,
    Rascality, heroic,
    Insolvency, sublime!

    For my part, I find ZC workable, which is quite high praise. But I have wondered about the issues you raise here. I hope the morph is also something I’ll be able to participate in. In the meantime, I’ll be sticking around..

  2. @ miguel cervantes:
    The blog wouldn’t be the same without you, Sr. Cervantes, but your ability to misread plain English never ceases to amaze. I’m not going anywhere, and, if I did go somewhere, I’d leave a trail of bread crumbs. I’m just calling things as I see them.

    @ fuster:
    Well show some spirit if you disagree.

    Like I said, I’m happy to have a small band of blog brothers. Doesn’t make any difference whether you call it “Zombie Contentions” or “Painful Rectal Itch” under that concept. If you want “this” to be something “more,” then there are things we’d have to do, and somewhat aggressively.

    For instance, I have the e-mail addresses of everyone who’s ever commented at the blog. I’d be happy to contact some or all of them, and to beat the bushes for other contributors. As I indicated in the post, there may be other “community” opportunities down the line. My sense is that an initiative to do a higher profile, livelier, busier, and potentially growing thing would probably be better under a different name, and with a clearly articulated mission and plan.

  3. Take heart, mates. Going all astrological on you–Scorpios always rise up from the ashes. It’s the Phoenix in us. CK’s just announcing the going down into the ashes now because he’s beginning to sense how gloriously he’ll rise up.

  4. I love the name Zombie Contentions. Furthermore, changing names frequently leads to confusion.
    In 1945, New York’s 6th Avenue was renamed Avenue of the Americas. The new name never caught on. 60 years or so later, the city put up double signs at the corners, so that those looking for either 6th Avenue or Avenue of the Americas could find the addresses they sought.

  5. @ fuster:
    Whenever I run into tourists from Holland, which I often do, I refer to the city as Nieuw Amsterdam.
    I will grant, however, that conquests do lead to successful name changes. We say France and not Gaul.

  6. Ok, now I am ‘confuzzled’ , will the Blog ‘cease to be an ex parrot’ or will it be a new entity entirely. OT, now that Holden and Callies are both on “Walking Dead” I’ll have to watch more diligently, except during
    the first run

  7. Amended a sentence near the beginning that I realize may have given the wrong impression. Sorry about that.

    I meant that pouring effort into re-building or newly building this blog under the ZC name with ZC’s history might not be the right thing to do. ZC to me = “refuge from Contentions for JE Dyer, Zoltan Newberry, Sully, Peter Shalen…” and the other dear and not necessarily so dear departed. bob and Scott had nothing to do with that. The rest of us are a distinct and not very representative minority of the Original Gang. We are the burnt embers of their inability to stand up for themselves.

    Moving wouldn’t be anything at all.

    Zombie Contentions just feels wrong when you’re writing so-and-so about his or her latest article on this or that, unless it’s a review of the AMC series I got the photo from.

  8. By the time I arrived in late April, ZC was no longer, to this outside observer “refuge from Contentions for JE Dyer, Zoltan Newberry, Sully, Peter Shalen…” . That would have been quite uninteresting to me. At the same time I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

    The lack of focus suited my needs so I stayed.

    Implicit in your post Colin, is I think an ongoing evaluation of both your goals and those of the blog. I only know you through ZC so I only have mostly inferences of the former and a series of posts like this one on your views of the latter.

    I suspect you are doing what I’m about to suggest to a meaningful extent anyway, but maybe not. So I’ll risk stating the obvious, or overstepping my bounds or…

    Figure out what you need to do for your life and get to doing it. If that includes some rebirth of ZC great! Let’s go!

    If not, I hope we keep in touch, but life is too short…

  9. bob wrote:

    That would have been quite uninteresting to me. At the same time I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

    It turned out to have been inadequately interesting for everyone. So the specific inspiration – gather together the critical readers of Contentions – got lost, and became a more generalized “critical readers of everything” – not “the Contentions Zombie,” but “contentions that never die, that roam the world seeking brains to eat, spreading the infection.” The popularity of the zombie genre (which I think has just about finally been done to death, but I’ve thought that before) actually speaks to this notion. Yet at the same time it was anti-“Zombie Contentions”: Find someone else’s stupid zombie contention and put an axe through its head.

    But whichever way you see it – we’re the zombies or zombie-makers, the fellowship of the dead, or we’re the close-knit group of survivors in a world gone-zombie – it becomes a very generalized, apocalyptically negative, and also obviously morbid as well as “low-culture” symbolic center. It takes on a lot of awful, but nothing very particular. It was destined sooner or later to take on itself, which it eventually did. It was a process well under way, but not yet fully surfaced, by the time you showed up.

    So, yes, you hit on the problem as I see it, right on the nose: Lack of focus – lack of hitting anything on the nose. It’s all quite fascinating to me – how the critical yet at the same time nostalgic attitude toward Contentions paralleled the stance of a certain kind of insurgent conservatism, how the insurgent conservatism gave way you might say prematurely to political opportunity for some (them), isolation for others (esp. moi), as a microcosm of what was going on in the real world, but I don’t want to go on and on about a matter of such little significance to anyone else.

    The other thing that happens when the sense of mission fades is that the operation is revealed as personal. If the band of brothers aren’t fighting for king and country, they’re just a gang, and sooner or later they turn on each other. Like in all the better zombie movies. Us vs. the world (of zombies) becomes a mere “normal,” and all that’s left is me vs. you vs. George vs. Scott vs. fuster vs. miguel, with mutual differences inflated. We write “as though to the world,” but we are the only world. We’re back in the house with the boarded-up windows… The zombies out there have no human interest in us… they’re just a principle of destruction…

    Which is OK, to maintain an anti-zombie refuge or recourse from our real primary activities in the world, but also moribund, for the reasons stated and others. On our present course, each of us will end up getting busier with his own thing until this place is just a seldom-visited substitute for an e-mail circle. No big. No hard feelings. Good experience, etc. And one or another of our personal individual things might partly or wholly re-constitute this thing.

  10. That would be too easy, or premature… the slightly less easy thing to do would be to e-mail selected “friends of the family” just to let them know that ZC is “on the roof,” but I’m willing to see how this discussion goes “just between us.”

    If and when ZC goes dark, we should at least host a wake. Invite Howard, and JED, and JEM, and Zoltan, and the rest to come dance on the grave for old times’ sake. It would be the honorable thing to do, might even be interesting…

  11. You’ve been reading too much Hegel, that is clearly the problem, Zombies are the rage now, the unstated ‘Rough Beast Slouching toward Gomorrah’ all the four horsemen rolled up in one, The real world is tapping on the cave, that the SRM has made for us, where it is perpetually ‘recovery Summer’, where it is our misunderstandings of
    the peaceful nature of public Islam, that provoke what happened in Mumbai a year ago, where those who try to rebuild are painted as destroyers and vice versa.

  12. From my personal perspective, there’s one excellent reason not to let this go dark. It will feed my narcissism. I will, indeed, have broken the blog. You guys had this thing going fine until I came along, and this always happens when I come along. The last child. The last yoga teacher. The last, last, last…yes, the last zombie. You guys can’t possibly be okay with me thinking I broke the blog. That thought has to piss you off enough to keep going.

  13. @ fuster:
    I just tried to post the Aerosmith song, Last Child. Since Colin always has to help me with all the computer stuff, I thought if he saw me trying hard to that extent he might reconsider. That should make him cry. Nothing sadder than a child trying to be good so the end of something doesn’t happen.
    If my lack of computer skills hadn’t gotten in the way, my point was going to be that Steven Tyler beat me to the punch on the Last Child stuff. It’s just the kind in the song. I still have siblings, so not much of a bit there. “Just a punk on the street,” and I really was a good little punk. No trouble. Boring.
    But as a last child, through and through, I have seen a lot of things die. I realize one of the things that appealed to me about this blog was its perceived inability to die. Zombies don’t die. But it was kind of worth it to read Colin’s explanation of blog zombieness. Brilliant as always.

  14. I think this is the point where we take control of ourselves, put on our adult full attention faces, look little Scottie in the eye, and explain that, yes, it really is all his fault, that Daddy’s going away because of him and, never really having loved him, is taking the good TV and the PS3, too. Furthermore, Mommy’s going to have a lot less time for him now, he’s going to have a hard time making friends at the new school in the new dangerous neighborhood, miggy and Georgie won’t likely be coming over to play or be his BFFs, whatever they say, and, generally speaking, it’s going to be even worse than he thinks, he’s going to be on his own with it, and no one loves him.

  15. @ CK MacLeod:
    There’s a whole lot of commas in that comment. I was hoping one of them would be misplaced or something so I could do what I did with miggy that last time, but none of them stood out.

  16. Seriously, I want to have an internet thing going on that’s good for me, and has the potential to work with other projects or even become the main project, and I want to be BFFs with you guys. I also want to see those of you who have gotten into authoring posts continue to improve your web-authoring skills, and, more important, get wider audiences and your own synergies going. I don’t see that happening as things stand now, and I wonder why. I don’t think the fact that I stink like the dead and am a bad boy is the only reason, but I think I can do something about the former at least.

  17. No, you didn’t break the blog, Scott, Highlander, is just kidding you, he is doing the dialectic version of” crossing the streams,” so sometimes this feels like one of those over padded Python sketches, now is it evolving like the Companions from Earth Final Conflict into the Atavus,
    or merely like the Gua’, after a salt bender

  18. CK,
    You designed a fantastic blog for the original purpose, at least as I saw it; which was to have freewheeling continued discussions with a relatively small group of acquaintances whom one could come to somewhat know. And the blog worked well for that purpose for quite a while.
    Given what I’ve seen of comment (lack of) functionality at other sites I think that there are a lot of places you could give advice on that score.

    On another note there’s a question I’ve been meaning to ask you. We have a giant vinyl movie poster, I think from the last star wars picture, (folded up) that’s been in our garage since our son brought it back from the movie theater where he worked about ten or twelve years ago. I’ve been considering cutting it up to use as rain tarps for wood piles. Do such things have enough value to make that inadvisable.

  19. @ Sully:
    The folded-up part is a little problematic, but if hung out for a series of warm days it might recover. If it’s REVENGE OF THE SITH, the best-liked of the three “prequels,” and possibly the one that shows Obi-Wan and Annakin in light-saber duel, it might be worth around $200 or more retail (i.e., in a store like mine), and be auctionable by you on eBay for some fraction of that – I’d guess around $100. There’s currently a British seller who has a French one up for ca. $216 (probably VERY expensive to ship to the U.S.).

  20. @ CK MacLeod:

    Thanks. I should have thought to look on ebay myself. I’ll unfold enough of it one of these days to see what it actually is. It’s much, much larger than that one the guy is holding up at the ebay link. I’m guessing it’s something like 10 or 12 feet on a side at least.

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