My one-year anniversary of being a blogger happens next week, and in honor of that fact (and the fact that blogging is by nature a very self-indulgent act) I'm going to spend the next week revisiting some of my most controversial and popular posts, as well as my own personal favorites. It's great that blogs can archive all posts, comments, etc, but the truth is that most blog posts have relatively short life spans. The blogosphere—like the Internet in general—thrives on new content, new posts, and bite-sized pontificating. If there's a downside to blogging, it is that sometimes I feel like the things I want to say can't properly be said in this format, and that the energy I spend writing it down isn't worthwhile when in a matter of days it might fade into the digital graveyard of well-intentioned ideas.
Nevertheless, I've found it all a very worthwhile endeavor, and when I look back to the second post that I wrote, entitled "The Search" (July 19), I find that the principles and motivations with which I started this blog have more or less carried through and sustained me over the past year.
In any case, the following is an annotated list of fifteen of my personal favorite blog posts from my first twelve months of blogging. Next week I will post a list of the top ten most-viewed posts and top ten by number-of-comments posts, just in case you missed them the first time.
Harry Potter and the Christian Fear of Imagination: A post from last summer when the final book came out, and a treatise against the ridiculous Christian antagonism towards our beloved Harry Potter.
Memories of a Recent October: This was a therapeutic one to write, and captured numerous of my autumnal thoughts and feelings. Plus it was a chance to plug the White Sox!
No Country For Old Men: My thoughts on the Academy Award-winning film, from when it came out back in November. The Miramax website actually linked to this post in their “for your consideration” Oscar campaign site.
The Commodification of Experience: Inspired by The Darjeeling Limited, this post allowed me to articulate some things I’d been thinking about and writing about at UCLA the past year.
Mii, Myself, and My Online Identity: Inspired by a paper I wrote for a Videogame Theory class at UCLA, this post was one of many semi-meta examinations of online/blog identity.
The Case for Criticism: Not a Lee Strobel book! Rather, this is my attempt to legitimate the art of true, productive criticism at a time when everyone seems to be adopting the “critic” title.
Quarterlife Crisis: My thoughts upon turning 25; one of the rare times I wrote about myself and my thoughts in any sort of transparent way.
Incomprehensible Incarnation (Merry Christmas): My attempt to be as poetic as Linford Detweiler in describing what Christmas actually means. (Note that I quote Linford extensively in the article).
Does Jesse James Know Who He Is?: This is another article about—you guessed it—identity. This time it was inspired by the beautiful Assassination of Jesse James film from last fall.
Top-Down Populism: This one got me into some trouble with colleagues at UCLA, or at least sparked a discussion with them. But I stand by what I wrote, and I think it reveals a lot of my foundational political ideology.
In lieu of a real posting: An attempt at a free-written blog post; a thoroughly refreshing, existential exercise that may or may not reveal anything significant about life.
The Hills Are Alive With Confused Identity: There’s that “i” word again… This time it’s with respect to the MTV show, The Hills.
Paranoid Park: My favorite film of the year so far, and one of the most pleasurable reviews to write. I also like this one because I think there was some exceptionally productive dialogue in the comments section.
Saturday Art: In many ways this post captures my fundamental approach to the arts and to beauty.
Flight of the Red Balloon: A gorgeous film and another review I really loved writing. Films like this afford a critic the best opportunities to sound off on the things about cinema they really love: in my case, transcendental aesthetics.