Blogs are like microwaveable burritos. They’re ubiquitous, popular, unhealthy in even modest immoderation and totally unnecessary. Also, any fool can have one almost completely regardless of his or her financial status or education level.
And I don’t like them.
I don't like self-aggrandizement -- which is what a lot of blogs seem to be around for. That's why I've never had my own website or blog, still don't (never mind how much my career likely suffers from the lack). I don't like how off-topic most blogs seem to get. I don't like the aggressive, often insane rants that pop up in the comment strings. I don't like the word "blog", which is like a portmanteau in decline -- as if two syllables take that much more time to say than one (though I would love it if these things were called "bdiaries").
But I'm getting off-topic already.
When I was asked to begin contributing to this blog, I had to ask myself the same question I would if I were being offered a microwaveable burrito: why should I?
While my junk food camparison has lost all traction by this point, the questions begin to multiply.
For whom am I writing this?
Are they the same people who will read this?
Am I helping or hurting the subject by furthering public scrutiny?
Why should I add any more noise to this noisy and noisome web of a world?
And so on.
Obviously, when a blog is about oneself, these questions can be easily fobbed off with a glib answer, or never arrive in the mind at all. But when the blog is about someone else -- someone who wouldn’t ever have a blog himself -- the questions, if the blogger is a critical enough thinker, or ethical enough feeler, what have you, make themselves ever present.
Anyway. Short story long. I care a lot about the person behind this bizarre situation. I don't like blogs. However, what I dislike more than blogs is the weird and confused tone that the current conversation has adopted. So, here I am, a little more noise.
For the simple record:
I was a student of Perry Mills in the late 1990s.
I took every single class he had on offer.
The only reason I didn’t take more was because they were finite in number.
I owe him a debt of gratitude for saving my educational career.
I owe him a debt of gratitude for encouraging me along the road toward my professional one.
In the years since graduation, Perry has become a dear friend.
I think I can provide some background color to this terrible story that might offer, if nothing else, a little context.
In case any of these points triggers a response in the reader, such as:
He won’t be objective!
He’s a Mills lover! He's brainwashed (if he has a brain at all) and can’t be trusted!
Well, I can only reply:
- Yes, I am biased. Done.
- I don’t believe in being objective here -- I’m neither a journalist nor a forensic lab technician -- I’m a friend and former student of a man who’s being vilified in a hysterical, runaway-train fashion; the accusations being made against him, and the reasons for his suspensions and the subsequent court cases have fallen well out of sync, especially in the comments of many people who seem to be half-heartedly following the story on various blogs, and I think I might at least offer a slightly more informed, slightly less hasty, somewhat less aggressive response to it all.
- Who among us is not "brainwashed" by the comments, suggestions, urgings, unfulfillable wishes, and comings and goings of the people we respect, appreciate, and love? If, indeed, "brainwash" is the appropriate word for it?
(And why should you trust me? You don't know me. If I sound untrustworthy -- don't.)
In the 12 years or so that I have known Professor Perry Mills, I have not agreed with, appreciated, nor digested every last thing he has said, done or cooked. Have I agreed with a great deal of it? Perhaps. Have I appreciated the majority of it? Certainly -- at least for the intention behind the actions. Have I digested with full gusto? I’ve tried, but the roasted garlic that one time really did me in.
Intention. I think that’s going to be the bottom line in any and all of my future posts here. I wish, if nothing else, to offer a chance to look in at the intentions at play within this story.
We don't prosecute intentions in this country, we prosecute the crime!
I'm not a prosecutor either. Add that to the list.
Intentions. Something worth examining, often overlooked when fear of the unknown comes in to play.
So, what are my own here? Or, back to the fundamental question or questions...
Why am I choosing to add my own voice to this noise? And for whom am I writing this stuff?I hope that in successive posts that will be as clear to you as it is for me.
Jakob is a professional playwright living in New York City, working as the assistant to a much more famous professional playwright also living in New York City. He’s married to a woman whom he met at WWU 11 years ago, who has managed to brainwash him as thoroughly as Perry Mills has.