I always told myself I’d never start a blog. Blogging seems to capture so many of the worst narcissistic tendencies of people in this day in age, with endless blathering about things that are often best kept to oneself. Not every trivial thought I have needs to be broadcasted to the world, and it’s probably a good thing that many of them aren’t. Twitter has only exacerbated these explosions of personal information, which drown out anything meaningful in a deluge of irrelevance. Apparently, it’s too much to ask people to keep a journal or develop a filter. The world must know.
But I’ve finally caved, and here I am. I have things to say; sometimes they might be interesting and original, sometimes they might not, but as long as I give them some intelligent thought before spewing them forth, I don’t have much to lose. Tailoring my writing to a broader audience will force me to edit my work in a way that writing for myself never would. I will try to avoid details of my daily life; in the rare moments when I do feel the need to announce what I’m eating for dinner or what the annoying person on the bus said, I’ll use social media or even—gasp—voice it aloud in conversation to another human being.
Instead, this blog will reflect on any number of my eclectic interests. I enjoy an afternoon of keeping up on world affairs followed by an evening of pacing about a hockey arena; I might spend the next day reading a novel and before heading out to reacquaint myself with college-era debauchery. The one constant through everything is writing: for work or leisure, I almost never stop pecking away at this keyboard. While I appreciate a witty one-liner, I’m more the type who needs to think about something for a while and perhaps hear another opinion or two before forming my own thoughts into something coherent. This blog will allow me to do that.
There will be plenty of sports—most notably some commentary on high school hockey, as I currently moderate the USHSHO hockey forums and am a contributor to mnhockeypropsects.com. Baseball should also figure prominently, and coverage will revolve around the New York Yankees, who always seem to be doing something newsworthy, no matter what one thinks of them. Other sports will no doubt creep in as well. And even if sports aren’t your thing, I’ll look for parallels between what’s going on out on the field and the world outside of those cleanly drawn white lines. It’s always more than just a game, if one knows where to look.
Still, I suspect the majority of my posts will talk about culture and politics, in some way or another. When speaking of such affairs, we can never escape our own roots; I was born in Minnesota and spent most of my formative years in the city of Duluth, so I have an awful lot of thoughts about the cultures unique to that part of the country. But I’ve also spent significant time out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel a decent amount, and I am a recent graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, which apparently qualifies me to speak with authority on any geopolitical issue. Georgetown, a so-called “elite” university with a Catholic identity and a global focus, certainly has its own unique culture, and I’ll reflect on that world and the worldview it instilled in me. I’ll talk about U.S. politics as well, though the horse race that consume the twenty-four hour news cycle tires me. My musings on U.S. affairs might better be called cultural commentary than anything political, though I won’t ignore the realities of contemporary government completely. Instead, I’ll look to tie it to some broader philosophical point, and hopefully do so in a way that doesn’t involve an overload of academic jargon. Call it whatever you want, but understand that this blog isn’t set up to be a call to arms for any cause or set of causes. If anything, it should do the opposite, and make the partisans stop and think a bit. The world is a complicated place, and while we can’t spend all of our lives in detached analysis, the world could use an awful lot more of it.
This brings me to the title of the blog, “A Patient Cycle.” This is, in part, a hockey allusion: I’ve always found the offensive zone cycle one of the most aesthetically pleasing plays in hockey. When run well, it generates excellent puck possession for the team on offense, wears down the opposition, and eventually leads to good scoring chances. The best cycles give opponents nightmares, and grind them into submission.
But there’s a lot more to it, too. The “patient” disclaimer is a nod to the need for perspective and skepticism, rather than a rush to black-and-white judgment. Instead of looking at events as isolated incidents, I’ll try to incorporate them into broader narratives. There is always more to the story, and stories tend to move in cycles. History repeats itself, life begins and ends, and on so many occasions, it oscillates between highs and lows, comings and goings, times of rest and bursts of activity. A virtuous life forces us to see these cycles, rather than grasping at one simple viewpoint and repeating it ad nauseam. I’ll return to this theme time and again on this page, and I invite you to yell at me if I ever fall off the wagon and start harping on some stupid issue.
So, welcome aboard. I welcome any comments, feedback, or prompts you might have. Time for the cycle to begin.