Dear Friends and Readers,
It’s been 2 years now at Jewish Philosophy Place (JPP), and I wanted to thank you all for your interest and patience with what I know is a vanity project. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ll say it again. I started this blog because of boredom, and as a proactive response to the isolation I felt as a scholar working in at least four super-niche, super-marginal academic fields ==Religious Studies, Jewish Studies, Modern Jewish Philosophy, Jewish Philosophical Aesthetics.
What I wanted to do was to create a wide, free ranging platform to combine my working interests, particularly as they relate to art and images, place and space. As it turns out, this little matrix begins to include just about everything, among them religion, Judaism, aesthetics, politics, art, popular culture, ethics, God, technology, ritual, film, New York. Never afraid to look low-brow, I wanted to do all this at the sweet spot flitting back and forth between the so-called high-brow and middle-brow.
Then I joined FB, and then Twitter. Mostly to promote the blog, it turns out that social media has stitched together as a virtual presence dearest friends from my old life-world, new friends, family, and strangers from points near and far. And when some of you, from my old-life and new-life come together to “like” or comment on a single post, that’s a wonderful thing, this creation of a common thread out of multiple worlds.
I’m constantly in awe of the speed and serendipity by which social media platforms work. I am happy to say that has been almost no animus whatsoever in the comment section at the blog or at the blog’s FB-page, although that might just be a function of people either ignoring the posts or being polite about posts with which they find boring, with which they disagree, which they find stupid and/or offensive. On social media, polite civility is no small thing. I hope mine has been a respectful voice, even though I fear that I have created a too-controlling environment that does not encourage people to comment freely.
Extremely lucky in my professional life, I felt like I could something new, and go out on a limb. In my late 40s and now 50, I feel like I’ve learned a new trick. With tenure, I can say and do what I want without having to care too much what other people think, even though I do, which makes the whole thing a little or not just a little pathetic. The blog is a new way to do what I do and to share it with others. Sometime, probably before the summer, averaging between about 100 to 160 “views” a day, more when I write about something topical or mildly incendiary, I expect to have marked 100,000 “views.” I can’t thank you enough for putting up with me and JPP.
As a fellow who just happened across your blog on a whim, searching for those very “super-niche” discussions you mention, allow me to say I’m extremely grateful for your work here. Everything from detailed discussions of Rosenzweig and Mendelssohn to one-offs about your Jewish experience or a photograph has been a joy to read, and I look forward to more.
thank you and happy bday to yer blog.
Thanks for providing the forum
Many thanks for this blog, Zachary. I also appreciate the range of topics that you discuss (from Husserl to the country fair)–and especially your willingness to examine politically sensitive topics in a way that avoids predictable decisions or party lines. I suspect that the civility that you have seen in the comments on your blog is an effect of your thoughtful approach to these touchy issues and not of a “too controlling environment”. You’re providing an important service!
Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day 🙂