Monday, June 10, 2024

The 20th Anniversary of A Shroud of Thoughts

Last Tuesday marked the 20th anniversary of A Shroud of Thoughts. I was planning to do a post for the occasion on that date, but Monday night I developed a runny nose and sore throat, along with a low-grade fever. By Tuesday morning the low-grade fever had turned into a medium-grade fever. I spent the next several days mostly just sleeping. I didn't even eat. By Friday morning the fever had broken, but I have spent the past few days regaining my strength. I cannot be sure, but I think I may have had Covid.

Regardless, it was on June 4 2004 that I launched A Shroud of Thoughts. From about 2002 to 2005, blogs were a bit of a fad. They had actually been around since the mid-Nineties. Jorn Barger coined the term weblog in December 1997 and Peter Merholz shortened weblog to blog in the spring of 1999. Regardless, it was in the early to mid-Naughts that the mainstream media began to take notice of blogs. At that point in time, it seemed as if everyone and their siblings had their own blog. Among the people with a blog at the time was a lady friend of mine. It looked like fun, so I decided to start my own blog.

At the time the fashion in blog titles tended to involve the word "thought" or some synonym thereof. I then took the title A Shroud of Thoughts from a phase from Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage canto iii stanza 113:

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.

If I had it to do all over again, I probably would have chosen a name more fitting a blog devoted to pop culture and nostalgia. As it turned out, by the time I thought to change the blog's name, it already had a small following. I worried that if I changed it, then my readers might be confused. It has remained A Shroud of Thoughts ever since.

A Shroud of Thoughts has evolved over the years so that it is a bit different from what it was back in 2004. It has always been devoted to pop culture and nostalgia, but in those early years, I wrote some posts of a more personal nature. Since I am a fairly private individual, I eventually dropped those sorts of posts. I also reviewed more recent television shows and movies, although those fell by the wayside as time went by. This was not a conscious choice on my part, but simply the case that I was much more interested in classic films and television shows.

Of course, the world has changed a great deal since 2004. As of 2004, television broadcasts in the United States were still in analogue. We would not make the change to digital for another few years. Furthermore, in 2004 only a small majority of Americans had access to cable television, a mere 58.7%.  This meant the broadcast networks were much more powerful then than they are now, although cable channels had eroded the sort of audiences they had enjoyed from the Fifties to the Eighties. Streaming as we now know it really didn't exist in 2004. It wouldn't be until 2006 that Amazon would introduce Amazon Unbox (which would evolve into today's Prime Video). Netflix entered the streaming field in 2007. Even then, it would be many more years before it would become prevalent.

Cell phones were around in 2004, but they were not nearly as prevalent as they are now. At that time only 66% of all Americans had cell phones, contrasted to 97% of all Americans now. Smartphones were only in their early days then, and would not become prevalent for many, many more years. In 2004 90% of all Americans still had landline phones. That number has since dropped to 25% in 2024.

Social media was still in its infancy in 2004. At the time I launched A Shroud of Thoughts, Friendster was a little over a year old. MySpace was a couple of months shy of its first birthday. Facebook had launched a few months earlier, although at the time it was only open to college students. Twitter would not launch until a little less than two years later.

My own life has changed considerably since 2004. I started this blog working one job and then quit it after I got another job. After many years of working that job, I was laid off from it. Since then I have published a few books. It was in 2011 that my best friend died at a terribly young age. It was also in that year that TCMParty, the collective live tweet of movies airing on Turner Classic Movies, was launched. Through TCMParty, I would meet many of my closest friends, including my dearest friend, Vanessa Marquez. Sadly, she died tragically in 2018 and I have missed her ever since. I have been on TCM, went to Hollywood, met Margaret O'Brien at a TCM event, and became friends with yet other celebrities in all that time as well.

I suppose that since 2004 A Shroud of Thoughts has become my life's work. My first book was largely a collection of posts from this blog. It has afforded me opportunities I might not have had otherwise. And I have met many friends through this blog. My life would certainly be poorer without it.

Anyhow I want to thank anyone and everyone who has ever read this blog over the years. as well as my fellow bloggers who have supported me in this endeavour. I really don't know if A Shroud of Thoughts would have survived the past ten years without them.

As I promised last Monday, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of A Shroud of Thoughts I would share a list of what I consider to be the 20 best posts from the blog over the years. After being rudely interrupted by Covid, then, here is that list.

"The NBC Mystery Movie" November 13 2004 

"The Rise and Fall of the Independent Television Station" June 13 2005

"The Most Successful Studio Never to Exist" June 11 2006

"Doc Savage's 75th Anniversary" March 1 2008

"Bus Stop: A Lion Walks Among Us" September 14 2008

"All of Your Toys: The Monkees vs. Don Kirshner" April 17 2010

"The CBS Late Movie" August 12 2010

"The Gothic Horror Boom of the Sixties" October 30 2011

"The 60th Anniversary of King Kong (1933)" March 2 2013

"The JFK Assassination's Impact on American TV & Film" November 22 2013

"Rock & Rule: Canada's Animated Masterpiece" October 4 2024

"The 60th Anniversary of The Phil Silvers Show," September 20 2015

"The 75th Anniversary of Archie" January 13 2017

"The 50th Anniversary of He & She" September 6 2017

"Stand and Deliver Turned 30" October 5 2018

"The Greatest Movies Hammer Films Never Made" July 18 2019

"The Wild Wild West: 'The Night of the Murderous Spring" March 20 2021

"The 50th Anniversary of Sanford and Son" January 14 2022

"The 30th Anniversary of Twenty Bucks (1993) January 22 2023

"The 30th Anniversary of State of Emergency (1993)" February 12 2024

1 comment:

Paula said...

Congratulations, Terry! Twenty years is an amazing milestone. I particularly enjoyed your recap of 2004 technology. I kind of miss MySpace. Thanks for all your great work on this blog, with TCM Party, and in the classic movie community. I really appreciate your support over the years, my friend.