What? Who? Why?

Obscurity of the title aside, this is a post of practicalities, not a series of “deep” and ultimately meaningless musings. What follows is a list of questions written by me but phrased as though they are being asked by some entity out there, presumably “you.” I chose this format to rebel against the discursive prison of individual subjectivity.

That was sarcasm.

What is this blog about?

This blog is not about me. This blog is entirely about me.

I won’t be writing about my trip to the mall or the library, or what I’m wearing today, or how I do my hair — unless those anecdotes become relevant to more broadly meaningful issues. A crucial word, issues: I write about them; I have them. I try to write about “meaningful” issues, but the things I write may not be meaningful: if you want to extract meaning from them, that’s your prerogative.

Today I have come up with five words which describe some of the issues I often think about. Listed in alphabetical order because I’m a dork and a pedant, they are philosophy, politics, rhetoric, science, and society. These topic areas lack clear boundaries. They overlap almost completely. I’ll probably replace them soon — almost certainly with equally vague and overlapping categories.

This blog is not about me because I write about broad issues — but this blog is entirely about me for the same reason that any piece of writing is entirely about its author. The thoughts are mine.

What does the title mean?

Analysis of variance is a statistical process used, for example, in social research. The phrase, interpreted less technically, also hints at a way of thinking.

“The separation of an intellectual or material whole into its constituent parts for individual study.” (American Heritage Dictionary, 4th edition, 2009)
“an investigation of the component parts of a whole and their relations in making up the whole” (WordNet 3.0, Princeton University, 2006)

“the state, quality, or fact of being variable, divergent, different, or anomalous.” (Dictionary.com Unabridged, 2009)
“The fact or state of undergoing change or alteration; tendency to vary or become different; variation.” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1996)

I chose the title through the rigorous process of typing the first thing that entered my mind which wasn’t either extremely vague or extremely stupid. Needless to say, many atrocious titles entered my mind before that happened, including the word “Thoughts.”

What is the capital of Assyria?

I don’t know that.

Referencing Monty Python reveals at least two things about me: first, I am sometimes unoriginal; second, I am a big fan of satire and sarcasm. There will be satirical posts.

Who are you?

I am a student: institutionally, I’m a social psychology student, but I also study many other types of ideas, from epistemology to English grammar to political ethics. I am a scientist, a feminist, a writer, a musician. I live in the United States, and as such my discussions of particular political issues will sometimes (but not always) focus on this country.

Why are you doing this?

I need to write. I like to discuss controversial topics. The internet is a great place to do both.

Why should I care?

You probably need to justify to yourself the questionable decision to read (or skim) over 500 of my words. Here are some examples of how to do that.

Maybe you think I’m silly, and you enjoy making fun of me. Have a blast.

Maybe you’re interested in what I have to say. Maybe you disagree, and want to express that disagreement. I welcome extensive discussion and debate in the comments. I will participate. I will even admit when I have been wrong.

Maybe you hope I make arguments which support your existing views. Maybe I will. Feel free to employ them strategically.

Maybe you care about some of the same issues I care about, and you just want to see what a few other people think about them. Give others the same opportunity: comment.


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