Ktismatics

5 September 2007

An Audience of Doppelgängers

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 7:57 am

If while walking along I happened to notice a somewhat ungainly 3-legged wooden display stand surmounted by a photo of an ominous 3-wheeled motorized vehicle, I would slow down to take a closer look. Cursorily examining the printed matter on display I would probably think it seemed interesting enough to take a copy. I would probably read the whole thing. I would probably think that the writer’s psychological practice sounded interesting. I would probably check out the blog. I would probably become at least an occasional reader of the blog in the future.

Why do I write blog posts? Partly because the topics interest me, partly because writing helps me clarify my thoughts, partly because I like crafting the prose. So why do I put it out there for other people to read? Partly because I think others will share my interest in the topic, partly because I think others might derive value or pleasure from what I’ve had to say, partly because I would enjoy engaging in online discussions about the topic with others.

So do I write these posts for myself, or for the others? I’d say that I write for the readers. If I wrote strictly for myself the prose would be less precise, the material less well organized — which is how I write in my personal notebooks. Does that mean I write for a particular audience — for the regular readers and commenters, for the somewhat wider audience who visit occasionally but who rarely if ever comment, or for all those who have never read my blog? When I first started the blog, before I had any readers, I consciously set out to woo an audience. I had just finished writing a nonfiction book, and I wrote blog posts that I hoped would attract people who might be interested in reading my book. But that phase of Ktismatics ended at least six months ago.

Now when I write something I presume that everyone is potentially interested in it. But I don’t consciously adapt what I have to say either to attract or to offend any particular sort of reader. I’ve also come to realize that, for whatever reason, not everyone cares about what I write or likes the way I write about it.

I can picture myself wandering haphazardly through the blogosphere and happening to come upon Ktismatics. I imagine that I don’t remember having written the blog, or that it was written by my exact double. Would I like reading Ktistmatics? I believe that I would. Now I imagine a complementary scenario: I write Ktismatics and launch it into a world populated by uncounted replicates of me. I suspect this is the audience I’m writing for: a version of myself who is entirely unknown to me.

A few posts ago I quoted the poet Wallace Stevens as saying that he wrote for the elite. I suppose I do too: an elite whose archetypal figure is myself. While I imagine a potential audience that includes everyone in the world, I’m actually writing for no one – a fantasized projection of myself that doesn’t exist. It’s a kind of schizoid move of self-alienation, separating myself-as-writer from myself-as-reader.

For whom do you write?

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37 Comments »

  1. Well, I write for myself and for my friends who have something in common with me. We don’t have to be exactly the same, because exactly the same would mean not the slightly shifted definition of the world that’s an enrichment. When I read the voices of writers of other decades, I always read them as myself. With my own mindspecs that is the resultante of my self.
    I enjoy reading you because I can learn from you.
    Sometimes it’s too difficult for me to follow, at those times I’m very happy. The Vygotski thing.

    Like

    Comment by Odile — 6 September 2007 @ 2:23 am

  2. That’s the first time I’ve ever thought that I may be a ktismaticized clone! Keep on writing as this alternate you is enjoying the read…

    Come to think of it, that’s probably also why I have such a small audience of my own, they’re all reading Ktismatics instead!

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 6 September 2007 @ 5:32 am

  3. “We don’t have to be exactly the same, because exactly the same would mean not the slightly shifted definition of the world that’s an enrichment.”

    Surely your outlook is more realistic and open-minded than my own. My doppelganger approach is more a confession than a recommendation. On the other hand, when writing blog posts I don’t usually try to anticipate the ways in which readers will see things differently from me. So I’m neither accommodating nor combative. That’s what comments are for — to find out where the differences lie.

    “That’s the first time I’ve ever thought that I may be a ktismaticized clone!”

    If you started imagining what I’m like and then imagined yourself as my double, would that make you a third-order simulation in Baudrillard’s hierarchy? I’d steer clear of it if I were you — oops, now I’ve become a 4th-order simulacrum.

    “they’re all reading Ktismatics instead!”

    Nope, my readership is down too. I think everyone’s headed to Erdman’s blog. Since he hasn’t weighed in, I suggest that he’s increasingly writing with young single Christian women in mind. I’ve never seen another blog that contains so many photographs of the blogger. He might consider changing the name of his blog from Theos Project to Chick Magnet.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 6 September 2007 @ 12:15 pm

  4. “Nope, my readership is down too. I think everyone’s headed to Erdman’s blog. Since he hasn’t weighed in, I suggest that he’s increasingly writing with young single Christian women in mind. I’ve never seen another blog that contains so many photographs of the blogger. He might consider changing the name of his blog from Theos Project to Chick Magnet.”

    Funny. I think his last three posts have been followed by a long trail of woman commenteresses looking to heal his pain, so to speak.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 6 September 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  5. It appears that yesterday evening I wrote for 120 visitors! reason for a celebration. I will come back after the week-end to tell you how…
    (now I feel like a marketing person)
    Something to do with me and education. I wrote a hot topic on my Dutch blog.

    Like

    Comment by Odile — 6 September 2007 @ 5:40 pm

  6. Hey, I’m just giving the people what they want!

    I’m sorry to leave you losers in the dust, but I’m going into the big time! Move over Scot McKnight there’s a new Jesus Creed in town!

    Women, money, and fame – religion is the big time:

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 6 September 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  7. “Move over Scot McKnight there’s a new Jesus Creed in town!”

    Erdman I alerted you to McKnight’s new book having been awarded free PR by Church and PoMo, and my attempts to unpack the contribution of McKnight’s underlying premise, viz that substitutionary atonement should be regarded as a “metaphor.” Sounds like some more of that “true myth” business used increasingly by neo-evangelicals as a way of turning apparent Biblical falsehoods, primitive attitudes, etc. into deeper and more poetic truths. Anyhow, I got down to the gist of it, pointing out that, grammatically speaking, metaphor doesn’t really work very well in associating Jesus’s death with animal sacrifice, when here comes the next comment. It’s from JKA Smith, the resident diva of Church and PoMo, who to my knowledge hadn’t commented there in months. Does he respond to my points? He does not. Instead he shifts focus to a post about art. Smith being a comment magnet, the discussion now has veered entirely away both from McKnight (a competitor of Smith’s in “scholarly” emerging circles) and from ME (who has impotently criticized Smith’s spiel previously). Neither McKnight, who wrote the book, nor Geoff Holsclaw, who wrote the intellectual-sounding online ad for McKnight’s book, engaged me in discourse. I don’t know why I bother; I must have masochistic tendencies to go on these blogs that I know are going to ignore my comments.

    All of which is to say, Erdman, that your general abandonment of Ktismatics EXCEPT when we’re talking explicitly about you has not gone unnoticed. I believe this ability to “leave you losers in the dust” is a strategy adopted by all the popular bloggers, Christian and non-Christian alike.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 7 September 2007 @ 7:58 am

  8. It’s interesting about Smith because I don’t think he even likes “Church and Po-Mo” all that much anymore. He has become a theological diva in Po-Mo and Emergent circles, but from what I observe it seems like that would be more of a cross to carry than an opportunity to grow and expand one’s horizons. It all really strikes me as hopeless, which is one of several reasons why I am so depressed about the state of theology on all sides of these debates. I don’t even go over to Church and Po-Mo anymore – haven’t even graced the site for months. I think it is a waste of time. They are confused b/c they are funded and maintained by a big time publisher (Baker) and yet they are posing as “postmodern” and cutting-edge and organic and free-thinking. In addition the essays are just not impressive to me. And the interaction in the commentary, as you suggest, just plain horrible. You know me as the dialogical guy in the spirit of Gadamer, and as such I am thoroughly unimpressed with the exchanges at church and po-mo.

    Additionally, I really haven’t heard much from you at my blog recently either. Are we at a stand off?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 7 September 2007 @ 9:08 am

  9. I have inside scoop that an EXCELLENT post — a theological meditation on architecture — will soon appear at Church and Postmodern Culture. Perhaps when the time is upon us we can spur on the Golden Ass to ever more profound mystical insights.

    “Additionally, I really haven’t heard much from you at my blog recently either. Are we at a stand off?”

    I believe this perception illustrates the sort of narcissism that’s characteristic of popular bloggistes. If you were to conduct a QUANTITATIVE study over say the last month, I suspect you’d find that, in number of comments and in word count, Ktismatics’ comments at Theos Project are at least double the converse. However, I presume you figure that in terms of QUALITY, you perceive that each of your comments is at least twice as weighty as mine. Hence the subjectively perceived standoff.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 7 September 2007 @ 9:21 am

  10. Guys, thanks for the laugh, especially as it’s been a while since i had a hearty laugh about anything!

    Actually, I wanted to comment on some of the Erdman’s musings but found myself too late on all counts. This is an experience that I had frequently on Scot’s site, so it looks like the Erdman is well on the way!

    Enjoying such different fare on the net at the same time implies that i am a somewhat schizoid clone, n’est ce pas?

    Like

    Comment by samlcarr — 7 September 2007 @ 10:29 am

  11. What do you get when you clone a schizoid?

    And we can all look forward to Odile telling us the secret of her new-found success.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 7 September 2007 @ 10:45 am

  12. Count ’em up, then!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 7 September 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  13. For the time period 8/1/87 until right now, 9/7/07 at 3:45 MDT, there have been 37 comments attributed to some variant of Erdman on Ktismatics. In aggregate these comments comprise 338 lines of text in the WordPress blog management archive, which is about 9 lines per comment. Lines include everything, even text copied from my posts. During that interval I wrote 24 posts, which means Erdman wrote an average of 1.5 comments and 14 lines of commentary per post.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 7 September 2007 @ 3:59 pm

  14. “I have inside scoop that an EXCELLENT post — a theological meditation on architecture — will soon appear at Church and Postmodern Culture. Perhaps when the time is upon us we can spur on the Golden Ass to ever more profound mystical insights.”

    Of the mythological variety, surely.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 8 September 2007 @ 2:56 am

  15. The stats are in. Note that I have provided helpful links so that information can be verified (unlike my opponent).

    A Living Hell and other Misunderstanding = 1 that I will count (the rest are lame attempts to pad your stats for this showdown)
    Random Photo, Random Story = 1 lame comment that I shouldn’t even count (not to mention zero effort at participation in an event designed specifically for you)
    Save the Lame Show, Save the World = 1
    Maintain an Effortless Cool = 1
    Spelling Kuiz = 0
    Meaning v. Significance = 9
    Easy Rider = 2
    Shiny Happy People = 0
    Black Hills = 0
    Towers of Babbel = 2
    Theos Love = 0
    How Hesiak Got Religion = 1
    The Metaphorical Ripley = 2
    Writing Forgotten = 17
    Cuneiform Erdman = 0
    Best Buy Warranties are Great = a mere 2
    Barry Bonds Stands Alone = 0
    Does Silence Speak = a disappointing 0
    Erdman Rides On = 0
    Ultimatum = 0 (out of 53, Hesiak and I had to anchor that one)
    The Truth about Bottled Water = 0
    Thiselton cites Hodge on Propositional and Non-Propositional Language = 0 (I repeat, 0)

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 8:02 am

  16. So, I have 21 comments, plus the 17 from Writing Forgotten, which brings the final total to 38.

    You have me by one comment….saved by the Writing Forgotten post!

    Note: I have yet to verify the authenticity of the stats provided by Ktismatics. Hanging chads? Voter fraud? Another Florida? Call for a recount???

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 8:25 am

  17. Hey wait, you eliminated some of my comments as “lame attempts”?! Those were profound psychological insights into the unconscious sexual desires driving the comment string on your post, along with what I thought was a quick yet clever deconstruction in which I suggested that fundamentalists are more acutely attuned to unconscious sexuality than most, but are also more likely to project their sexual urges onto others as a defense mechanism. Also, I regard your listing of each of your posts as a transparent attempt to get my readers to click away from Ktismatics and onto your blog.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 8:33 am

  18. 1) I’m not saying your comments weren’t good. I’m just saying that they came after you started whining about me not visiting your site. Your subconscious (or, perhaps, your conscience) stabbed you a bit with the realization that you haven’t really been over to my blog all that much….and this during an obvious crisis of the identity at the Theos Project.

    2) So what if your readers go over to my blog??? They can get some better content! Don’t you want the best for your readers?

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 9:07 am

  19. …and speaking of lame, look at some of these Erdmanian posts: “Save the Lame Show,” about some tv show I’ve never seen, yet I managed to come up with a comment. “Maintain an Effortless Cool” — yet another photograph of Erdman, this time explicitly presenting himself as a model. “Speling Kulz,” about spelling errors on an ad. “Shiny Happy People” — a music video and the lyrics for the song. “Black HIlls” — more photos of Erdman. Among these rather pop-oriented posts we find two worthy offerings: “Meaning v. Significance,” on which I offered 9 comments, and “Easy Rider,” on which I commented twice. On both of those posts my comment was the last in the string — I’d probably have continued the conversation if you hadn’t dropped the ball.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 9:10 am

  20. That’s it. I’ve had it.

    I challenge you to a dual, sir.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 9:19 am

  21. By the way, K, I provide links to help with spelling and vocabulary so as to help you improve. Currently your side bar reads:

    “Still, Mozart had to work his ass off to make a gulden, and he died pretty much pfennigless.”

    What, may I ask, is “pfennigless”? Right, right….a French word transliterated…..

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 9:21 am

  22. Not French but German — references to Austrian currency during Mozart’s time. So begin with the American idioms “make a buck” and “penniless” and make the culturally-appropriate substitutions. Amusing yet educational — one of my trademarks.

    And speaking of spelling, just what is one supposed to do when challenged to a “dual” — as opposed to, oh, say, a DUEL?!

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 9:40 am

  23. That’s it. I remove my proverbial glove, and slap the face of your blog.

    I suggest a Duel to the Death: The loser must permanently delete their blog from the web, and promise never to show their face again on the blogosphere again!!!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 9:53 am

  24. Again!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 9:54 am

  25. Or even ever again!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 9:54 am

  26. Hmm, an intriguing challenge. What weapons do you suggest?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 10:11 am

  27. The weapons of the written word.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 8 September 2007 @ 10:31 am

  28. Oooh, so enigmatic! Will name-calling be involved?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 10:52 am

  29. Apparently deconstruction really is woven into the fabric of the universe.

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 8 September 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  30. So you think maybe I glimpsed a secret hidden behind the veil?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  31. I was referring to the standoff between the two different worlds of ktismatics and erdman, which I’m not even sure whether or not its supposed to be comedic. And…you may have discovered a hidden secret, but I’m not sure what it is (?).

    Like

    Comment by Jason Hesiak — 8 September 2007 @ 1:27 pm

  32. I’m not sure if it’s meant to be comedic or not either. Does the answer depend on the reader’s interpretation or on the intentions of the two combatants — er, I mean, the two discussants?

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  33. I can’t take the pressure. The death match is off! Theos Project is a great blog, and Erdman is a wonderful and loyal commenter. After today’s foray into more treacherous waters I will return to regularly scheduled programming.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 8 September 2007 @ 5:56 pm

  34. That is BS and just a ploy.

    Don’t think that I haven’t noticed that you are stealing my idea. I say, it was my idea to begin online analysis via the internet. Yes, you mocked the idea originally, but I see that you are now implementing that very idea and have claimed it as your own.

    Here is the link with the proof of your double-minded, backstabbing ways:
    https://ktismatics.wordpress.com/2007/09/08/online-analysis-case-study-2/

    Enough mincing words. To the battlefield for a Death Match, a duel to the death.

    You have turned your last trick.

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 9 September 2007 @ 6:24 am

  35. What online analysis? I clicked your link and there’s nothing there.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 9 September 2007 @ 8:25 am

  36. Ye art the deveeel, sir!!!

    I shall thoroughly enjoy kicking thine ass! If thou art man enough, that is – aye, art thou man enough!??! Truly, say I, thou art not!

    Thine time hath come! The reaper stands ready to sow. Yea, he shall reap a poor harvest, for verily this here blog hath produced a bitter crop!

    Like

    Comment by Erdman — 10 September 2007 @ 8:16 am

  37. “Thine time hath come! The reaper stands ready to sow. Yea, he shall reap a poor harvest, for verily this here blog hath produced a bitter crop!”

    If this is a foretaste of the trials I must endure, perhaps I had best run on my sword and so make an end of it.

    Like

    Comment by ktismatics — 10 September 2007 @ 11:33 am


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