Friday, September 3, 2010

The Famous 1500th Post


This is it. This is the 1500th post of A Shroud of Thoughts. Even after having maintained this blog for approximately six years and four months, it is still hard for me to believe that I have written 1500 blog posts.While I must warn you I am extremely bad at maths, I calculate that for the past six years and four months I must have posted an average of 4 1/2 blog entries each week. Even having done it, I find this mind boggling.

Indeed, I find it strange to think I have posted so often and so regularly in this blog given the average lifespan of blogs. Several years ago the Perseus Development Corporation conducted a study of blogs. They found that 66% of all blogs at that time had not been updated in two months and many appeared to have been abandoned. About a quarter of them boasted only one post, made the day the blog was started. Given that it has been rare that I have even gone two days without posting to A Shroud of Thoughts, let alone two months, I guess I am must be an exception to the rule when it comes to bloggers.

Given that this is the 1500th post of this blog, I thought it might be a good idea to look back at the history of blogs and how A Shroud of Thoughts originated (okay, I realise I am sounding a bit narcissistic in this post, but it's not every day one writes his 1500th blog post...).

A Very Brief History of Blogs

Although many people think of blogs as a phenomenon of the Naughts, they actually originated in the Nineties. The earliest blogs were essentially online diaries, what we would today call "personal blogs." As to who started the first blog, that is open to debate. It could possibly have been Justin Hall, who was a student at Swarthmore College in 1994 when he began Justin's Links from the Underground. Another early candidate for the first blogger was Claudio Pinhanez,, who started publishing his Open Diary on November 14, 1994. It was published at the MIT Media Lab web site. Several personal blogs began in the wake of these two blogs, so much so that the 1996 online project and book 24 Hours in Cyberspace profiled many of the early online diarists.

It was in 1997 that early blogger Jorn Barger began his blog Robot Wisdom Weblog, coining the term "weblog" in the process. In either April or May 1999, on his blog Peterme. Com, Peter Merholz shortened the term "weblog" to the now familiar "blog." In 1998, before "weblog" would be shortened to "blog," one of the first blog publishing services would emerge. It would be Open Diary, which still exists to this day. The year 1999, the year the word "blog" was coined, would see even more blog publishing services emerge: Blogger (which hosts A Shroud of Thoughts and the majority of blogs of which I know), LiveJournal, and Diaryland.

By 2002 the mainstream media had begun to take notice of blogs. That year U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott was driven from office after bloggers found his remarks at Sen. Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party to be racist. In 2005 CNN's Eason Jordan was forced to resign after he made comments that suggested the United States military was targeting journalists. It was not the mainstream media that caught his remarks--it was bloggers. With blogs suddenly hot news in the early to mid Naughts, blogging soon became a bit of a fad in the years 2004 and 2005. Blogs were regularly mentioned in the news and were often the focus of news stories. It was during this time period that A Shroud of Thoughts was first published.

The Origins of A Shroud of Thoughts

I had been aware of blogs well before 2004, but it had never occurred to me to start my own, even as they became a growing fad. Ultimately, A Shroud of Thoughts was started because of a girl. One of my female friends had her own blog. Reading her blog, it occurred to me that a blog of my own would be a good way to express myself, to be able to publish anything and everything I wanted to. As to how A Shroud of Thoughts was named, at the time it seemed that the popular fashion in blog titles at the time were things like "Various Thoughts," "My Thoughts, and so on." I remembered a line from Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage canto iii stanza 113 in which the phrase "...a shroud of thoughts" occurs. I then borrowed it for the title of my blog. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage canto iii stanza 113 is quoted below:

I have not loved the world, nor the world me;
I have not flattered its rank breath, nor bow'd
To its idolatries a patient knee,
Nor coin'd my cheek to smiles, nor cried aloud
In worship of an echo; in the crowd
They could not deem me one of such; I stood
Among them, but not of them; in a shroud
Of thoughts which were not their thoughts, and still could,
Had I not filed my mind, which thus itself subdued.

Of course, even though at the time I wanted to write a blog, I was also wary of doing anything that might cost me my privacy. I then settled on using a pen name. Having always felt close to the god called Wóden by the Anglo-Saxons and Óðinn by the Old Norse speakers, I thought I would take inspiration from the interpretatio romana, whereby Wóden was identified with Mercury. I wanted my pen name to be Mercurius, but that was taken on Blogger, as was every other variation of "Mercury," except for the Middle English version--"Mercurie." The big irony is that while I worried so over having a nom de guerre in 2004, it seems to me now that I might as well not have bothered. Most of my fellow bloggers know me by my given name!

Here I should point out that I was not the only person who jumped on the blogging bandwagon in 2004. I know a lot of bloggers who did so: J. Maquis of Major Conflict, Jeremy of Popped Culture, Snave of Various Ecstacies, and Toby of Inner Toob.

I must admit that originally I had no real plan in mind for A Shroud of Thoughts. I knew I wanted to write about those things I liked, such as movies, TV shows, pulp magazines, comic books, and so on. Eventually it occurred to me that whether I had planned for it to be or not, A Shroud of Thoughts was a blog about pop culture. While I occasionally wrote about my personal life in the early days, I eventually ceased to do so, as I decided that the blog's focus would be that of pop culture. Too, I must admit that no one but myself was probably interested in my personal life anyhow....

Since then I cannot say that A Shroud of Thoughts has changed much. It was fairly early on that I started doing in depth articles on various aspects of pop culture and fairly early on that I even started doing series of in depth articles on pop culture. The blog has always been a bit of a pot pourri where I might review a movie one day, discuss music the next, and comic books on the day after that. The one major regret I have given A Shroud of Thoughts is that I do not write about literature nearly enough. I have written a good deal about pulp magazines and comic books, and even written about various works by Charles Dickens, but I think I should write more often on such subjects. Indeed, it's not as if this blog didn't take its title from a line in a poem by Byron....

Guest Bloggers

Anyhow, in celebration of the 1500th post of A Shroud of Thoughts, I thought I would invite anyone who wants to do so to write a guest post. Given this blog is about pop culture, it can be on any pop culture subject. Do you have a particular book you love? You can write about it here. A certain genre of movies you love? That could be used here too. Do you want to write about fashion? That also falls under the heading of pop culture. I only have two real ground rules. First, try to keep it clean. I consider this blog to be rated PG-13, so I won't use anything that graphically describes the sex scenes from Deep Throat. Second, please be civil. I won't post anything which attacks or defames individuals. You can feel free to offer creative criticism of various authors, directors, actors, et. al., but please don't insult anyone simply because you don't like them! In keeping with this, I won't publish anything that advocates hatred against various ethnicities, religious groups, subcultures, et. al.

Well, with that I will bring this 1500th post to a close. I must apologise if this blog post seemed a bit self absorbed, narcissistic, and egomaniacal. That having been said, it is not every day one writes his 1500th post!


WitchRuna said...

Congratulations for this 1500 posts I hope it will come 1500 more, I will read it with lot of patiencie , you know, my english is not too well, again CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! hon

Sarah Mann said...

Congrats Terry! :D

Raquel Stecher said...

congrats on reaching such a momentous milestone and for standing amongst lazy bloggers for being a hard-working, thoughtful, efficient and productive blogger and posting on a regular basis!

Terence Towles Canote said...

Thanks everyone for the congratulations!