Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Antipodes activity and readership

My Antipodes blog is not a particularly gossipy place. I'm a rather reserved kind of individual, and I don't go out of my way (as other bloggers do) to encourage superficial chatting in the comments section. On the other hand, I'm thrilled to receive momentous feedback (through personal e-mails from friends) about subject that have been introduced into Antipodes, such as this fuzzy copy of a letter to the Australian engineer John Dickenson announcing a major US award, which establishes officially his role as a pioneer inventor in the marvelous domain of hang gliding.

My initial blog post on this fascinating theme, entitled Grafton in aeronautical history books, appeared in Antipodes on 16 October 2007 [display]. Since then, the subject has been taken up expertly and profoundly by dedicated researchers such as Graeme Henderson and my French neighbor Stéphane Malbos. To find my various observations on this subject (inevitably superficial, since I've never actually practiced this fabulous activity), put dickenson in the search box up in the left-hand corner.

Is my native Grafton likely to accept fully this amazing role in aviation history? Probably not. It's a silly city, a dull-minded spot on the map of northern New South Wales, which has failed all recent attempts to identify itself as a significant place… even to the point of no longer existing officially as a city.

Today, my Antipodes blog has moved into cruising speed. I've appended a readership counter, whose contents remain private. Funnily enough, I often discover that Antipodes is never better than when I don't write anything new whatsoever ! The readership keeps pouring in, as it were, on many different (and often unsuspected) old subjects.

All kinds of subjects bring readers to Antipodes. For example, crowds of readers from all over the planet have been intrigued by my comments on the fake videos of New Guinea natives seeing white folk for the first time ever. This has certainly been the most "successful" Antipodes blog post ever. But, as I tried to point out explicitly,  this subject was totally screwed up in my Antipodes blog, for all kinds of reasons, and I was no longer capable of joining in all the social-network fun on this theme. In a nutshell, I discovered that a French law court had condemned somebody who had alleged that this stuff was fake. As soon as I heard that, I dropped the subject immediately, like a smelly hot potato. (Maybe "nasty hot turd" would be a more appropriate comparison, except that nobody usually picks up turds. Any better literary suggestions? Anne...) I didn't want to be a hero in a domain that I didn't necessarily master.

Another readership success was a blog post on the theme of so-called "professional bias" [display], which has attracted many US readers. Other great favorites were my blog posts on Lawrence Durrell [display] and those on the Ephrussi family in Austria [display].

Recently, a kind friend (in fact, my ex-wife) noticed that I hadn't written anything new for at least a week, and she may have imagined that my everyday existential despair had brought me to the verge of abandoning all further activities of self-expression. Well, not exactly. It goes without saying that I'll let all my readers know as soon as my existential despair has reached such a point…

Let me tell you a secret. I evaluate regularly but discreetly, day by day (even—indeed above all—when I don't write anything whatsoever), the readership of Antipodes, simply because it's my personal "business". So, I know what's happening globally… and I also watch the statistics of similar blogs by Aussie expatriates in Europe. If ever I were to detect that my daily readership was dwindling, or inferior to the above-mentioned blogs, I would be saddened, if not alarmed. But this has not yet occurred. Antipodes rules the waves, as it were.

Now, if ever you happened to be reading Antipodes primarily because you're interested in me and my dogs (which is surely the finest motivation of all), let me say that we're all fine. Sophia is aging in the style of a noble old lady, and Fitzroy is a noble young descendant... not of Sophia, of course, but of archaic wolves and dogdom in general. (What a splendid genealogical concept!) As for me, my ceaseless contemplation and meditations (of a non-Buddhistic and non-religious pantheistic kind, maybe "spiritual" if you're prepared to stretch the meaning of such silly words to breaking point... in the style of my former friend and neighbor Franz-Olivier Guisbert, my former wife and neighbor Christine, and countless other superiorly-intelligent folk) are surely more "noble" (a great adjective for dogs) than I as an individual could ever be. Meanwhile, in the proverbial nutshell, I carry on living happily, in good health and spirits, here at Gamone...

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