I had a dream

Effluvia

It was a bad one.

There was a police state.

My dogs almost fell off the roof of a six story rickety slum structure that looked like Kowloon Walled City.

Massive trains pulling huge industrial equipment cut across the streets without warning.

A naked man took me hostage and grabbed me in a surprisingly intimate way.

Anyway, getting on to the part that was bad:

I voted.

All of which is to say that I've had a long-form blog post bubbling up for several weeks with a tentative title of "democracy: end or means? (why it should be neither)".

My hope is by making a public commitment (and thus shaming myself if I don't deliver the post by, say, 31 March) I'm going to goad myself into writing it.

Please feel free to mock me if the post doesn't arrive on schedule.

P.S. Don't do a google image search for "public commitment" where anyone can see your monitor. Trust me on this.

P.P.S. Seriously, I did have the above mentioned dream. It was freaky.

Last 5 posts by Clark

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Kirk Taylor  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:46 am

    Is it ready yet?

  2. Kirk Taylor  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:47 am

    What about now?

  3. Bill Stade  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:49 am

    I have heard that funny mushrooms can induce dreams like that.

  4. Anonymous  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:55 am

    This anonymous internet posting is a commitment to mock Clark if he does not complete a post about democracy by 31 March. If he does not, and no mocking occurs, feel free to harass me. To contact me, simply view random blog comments until you find one posted by "Anonymous", and point your ire in that direction.

  5. Clark  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:56 am

    > I have heard that funny mushrooms can induce dreams like that.

    There's nothing in the least bit amusing about the Whole Foods dried morels … particularly not the price. (ouch!)

  6. Lucy  •  Mar 21, 2013 @7:44 am

    I would never have thought to search "public commitment" of you hadn't mentioned it.

    How that phrase and those images go together, I will never know

  7. Clark  •  Mar 21, 2013 @7:48 am

    > To contact me, simply view random blog comments until you find one posted by "Anonymous"

    LOL!

  8. Joe Pullen  •  Mar 21, 2013 @9:31 am

    @Clark – I have this image of the pilgrims on the Mayflower asking "are we there yet" over and over again. And then, finally arriving dirty, hungry, and tired they decend upon the natives taking over their land, food supply, and spreading disease everywhere (much like my children after a long road trip to Grandma's house).

    May this image guide you in reaching your goal on time, preferably with your sanity still intact.

  9. Dan Irving  •  Mar 21, 2013 @10:30 am

    @Joe Pullen, interesting historical note: the pilgrims pulled the Mayflower over to replenish their 'supplies'. The 'supplies' they needed to replenish was beer.

  10. mcinsand  •  Mar 21, 2013 @10:41 am

    I didn't miss the article about voting, did I?

  11. Joe Pullen  •  Mar 21, 2013 @10:43 am

    @Dan – what a coincidence! That is exactly the same "supply" I require in copious amounts after said road trip.

  12. mcinsand  •  Mar 21, 2013 @11:23 am

    @Dan, I will have my revenge, if you will cooperate. After your post, I now have the novelty song 'Beer Run' going through my head, and it just won't stop. Find it on the Internet, listen to it, and share my suffering!

    (' B double-E double-R U-N… Beer Run!' )

  13. darius404  •  Mar 21, 2013 @11:25 am

    Lucy • Mar 21, 2013 @7:44 am

    I would never have thought to search "public commitment" of you hadn't mentioned it.

    How that phrase and those images go together, I will never know

    Wonder no longer! According the the image link, the piece it's from is called "Public Commitment Strict Observance". Mystery solved.

  14. En Passant  •  Mar 21, 2013 @11:27 am

    Joe Pullen wrote Mar 21, 2013 @10:43 am:

    @Dan – what a coincidence! That is exactly the same "supply" I require in copious amounts after said road trip.

    After? That's the problem with kids these days. The True American Tradition Rooted in History ™ is to use the supplies profligately before and during the road trip, then restock after the trip.

  15. John_Barleycorn  •  Mar 21, 2013 @11:29 am

    I certainly hope elevator music wasn't playing in the " I voted" segment of the dream.

    "democracy: end or means? (why it should be neither)"

    No we are talking! Democracy, the germination stage of the next Hegelian Leap of Consciousness?

    If you put an "I voted" sticker on your lapel after the voting segment I truly empathize with the horror.

    Don't go down the enabler path Clark it's a trap.

  16. neight  •  Mar 21, 2013 @12:49 pm

    Odd. I frequently have a Kowloon Walled City type setting for dreams. Labyrinth-like urban area that confounds my attempts to get somewhere in particular that I need to be. One of mine was a floating city of barges.

  17. Clark  •  Mar 21, 2013 @1:28 pm

    @neight:
    > One of mine was a floating city of barges.

    Sounds like one (or both) of us has been reading too much China Mieville.

  18. Bryce  •  Mar 21, 2013 @1:59 pm

    Actually, there was an awesome infographic of Kowloon that just popped up in my feed today.

    http://lasombra.blogs.com/la_sombra_del_asno/2013/03/kwc.html

  19. ChrisTS  •  Mar 21, 2013 @2:23 pm

    @Clark:

    My first thought was that your dream sounded like a blurb from a Mieville novel.

  20. neight  •  Mar 21, 2013 @2:28 pm

    @Clark – I had not heard of Mieville, but the wiki description of his stuff sounds on point.

    I wish I could capture the post apocalyptic Imperial Palace Casino vibe that I get from the dreams well enough to take a crack at a writing novel (or even a long form blog post) with that as a setting.

  21. Clark  •  Mar 21, 2013 @3:54 pm

    @neight

    I wish I could capture the post apocalyptic Imperial Palace Casino vibe that I get from the dreams well enough to take a crack at a writing novel (or even a long form blog post) with that as a setting.

    I've been writing for non-fiction magazines on and off for 20 years, and have been working on fiction for two and a half. My advice:

    1) start
    2) continue

  22. Zack  •  Mar 21, 2013 @4:58 pm

    Textwall incoming. May be rambling. Related to title he gave for the piece.

    Ultimately, (at least from my point of view) the foundation behind democracy is self-determination: the right of an individual to determine how they are governed, and otherwise make their own choices (semi-synonymous here with 'free will'). If this right is individual, then it is infinitely divisible, meaning any individual can reject governance and create their own form of it- assuming they are prepared to be completely self sufficient (non-reliant on purchases or services from their former country), which does impose a practical lower limit on the size of community that can actually sustain that rejection of governance.

    Essentially: democracy is neither the means nor the end meaning that we have chosen that as a methodology for finalizing and expressing our decisions related to self-determination. If a superior methodology can be found- to create a way to allow a more individualized expression of self-determination without destroying the ability to make the necessary collective agreements to pool resources for specialization of production and mutual defense, then I'm all for it.

    But for now, I think a democratic republic with a set of 'set in stone' checks and balances is the best system we've found so far for balancing the competing interests of government, with it leaving admittedly some gaps.

    "/textwall"

  23. Jabberwock  •  Mar 21, 2013 @5:00 pm

    This is unusually cruel! Why do we have to wait till the end of March to mock you? I can't wait! Can we start mocking now? Pretty please?

  24. Rob  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:15 pm

    P.S. Don't do a google image search for "public commitment" where anyone can see your monitor. Trust me on this.

    Jesus, dude, you weren't kidding. I mean, there were pictures of Harry Reid and Rick Santorum. What kind of sick bastard posts images like that?

  25. Merissa  •  Mar 21, 2013 @6:45 pm

    That's why I don't eat green curry as a midnight snack anymore.

  26. John Fast  •  Mar 21, 2013 @8:44 pm
  27. Anonymous  •  Mar 22, 2013 @5:27 am

    RE: Public Commitment image search

    . . . well that sure is an image.

  28. Clark  •  Mar 22, 2013 @7:21 am

    @John Fast:

    I would recommend, among others:

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/20/why-the-logical-response-to-a-financial-crisis-almost-never-happens.html

    http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2013/02/political-failure-modes-and-th.html

    http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2013/02/charles-stross-discovers-cathedral.html (and the rest of Mencius Moldbug's oeuvre)

    …and, of course, The Myth of the Rational Voter by Bryan Caplan.

    Don't steal all of my thunder, dude.

    But, yes, it seems we've got almost identical reading lists.

  29. Wayne Borean  •  Mar 22, 2013 @9:11 am

    As to the writing, Clark forgot one part.

    Continue continuing continuously.

    Seriously. The more you write, the better you get. The better you get, the more likely you are to make a sale.

    It's curious. No one would ever try to run a marathon without practising, but everyone thinks they can write a novel without practising. Does this make any sense?

    Wayne

  30. John Fast  •  Mar 23, 2013 @8:34 am

    @Clark: Why shouldn't I steal all of your thunder, since you did it to me with your article "Intellectual Honesty Compels Us to Ask a Question"?

    Anyway, "great minds and smart shoppers," and all that.

  31. Rich Rostrom  •  Mar 25, 2013 @2:53 pm

    Clark • Mar 21, 2013 @3:54 pm
    I've been writing for non-fiction magazines on and off for 20 years, and have been working on fiction for two and a half. My advice:

    1) start
    2) continue

    Many years ago, science-fiction master Robert Heinlein was invited to give the Forrestal Lecture to the Brigade of Midshipmen at the Naval Academy (he being a graduate). He talked mostly about "The Pragmatics of Patriotism", but at the insistence of the midshipmen, he also talked about writing for a living. He laid down four rules, and said that everyone knows of who has actually followed these rules has succeeded as a writer.

    1) Write.
    2) Keep writing.
    3) Send your writing out for sale.
    4) Keep sending it out for sale.

    He did note that not everyone could do this.

  32. Rich Rostrom  •  Mar 25, 2013 @2:54 pm

    Rats!

    …"that everyone he knows of… "

  33. Lucy  •  Mar 28, 2013 @4:52 am

    Looking forward to that post. Ken's been hogging the floor lately. ;-)

  34. Louisa  •  Apr 3, 2013 @11:11 pm

    Should we send the police state out to search train stations for naked men with dogs to figure out where Clark has gone?

    (I first posted that as asking where Ken has gone. An excusable slip after Clark's abscondment and Lucy's comment. Perhaps Ken is convening the public flogging ceremony.)

  35. V  •  Apr 4, 2013 @8:52 am

    How's that post coming, Clark? Was that March 31st 2013?

  36. Anonymous  •  Apr 5, 2013 @11:13 am

    ಠ_ಠ

  37. Wayne Borean  •  Apr 5, 2013 @3:27 pm

    No, it was April First. This was the April Fools Day joke…

    Wayne