A major part of my heady romance with the M.A.S. (my partner – Red, 10/29/08) is intense discussions about race, class, poverty, cities, and architecture (not an inclusive list). My friend Maureen has learned that when we impromptu call her up to grab a beer in Southie, we’re most likely in the ‘hood because of some urban history/geneaology field trip, and not just because the Harpoon IPA is especially tasty at the Beer Garden or Stadium. One of my favorite stories the M.A.S. told me about himself as we were getting to know each other was when he was at a party and realized people were wandering away from him and his preferred topics of conversation. “You’re depressing!” he loudly exclaimed, describing himself on their behalf. I cracked up, knowing my own proclivity to trap people in earnest, intense conversations they probably hadn’t anticipated as part of cocktail chatter (though my urban planning interests do give a wide range of people the leeway to ask me what I think about “the projects.” I’m not the only one fascinated by these neighborhood monoliths.)
That I’m depressing (or that one of my favorite topics, “poor people,” to quote NYC Weboy, is), is the message I’m getting in the last month. My good buddy Jake framed it rather diplomatically, asking last week when my blog got so “professional.” My web-addicted friend Tergie unintentionally signalled that the RP was no longer one of his list of must-see websites, when he responded in a recent phone conversation that he didn’t realize my grandmother had passed away. I also realized last Thursday I was transferring a lot of personal emotion and professional frustration into this blog, when this piece about Bloomberg’s homeless agenda derailed me for hours as I ranted like a disappointed parent or hysterical right-wing radio host. Generally, the emotion I bring to my work is an asset, but it feels less beneficial when it derives from two chilly, low months dealing with the loss of my grandma, career transitions, and the “what am I doing with my life” late-night anxieties such change inevitably produces.
That said, my monthly visits have been growing steadily (as has the spam), and I’m beginning to receive occasional policy-oriented comments and links from well outside the RP inner circle. And one thing I’ve learned in the braniac competitive world of academia, is that I am combattive, argumentative, contentious, and polemical. All in a day’s work…and no hard feelings, ok? Arguing is the nerd’s form of exercise.
All of this reflexivity is to say that the content of the RP is unapologetically here to stay, though as I emerge from the hibernation of the last couple months my tone should lighten up considerably. As Mama Dramas told me, my blog is (at least) intellectually stimulating. I can only hope, because without cable and only a PBS-loving boyfriend, New Yorker subscription, Netflix and Wikipedia to keep me entertained, there’s only so much yammering on I can do about pop culture (E-mail redstarperspective at gmail dot com for the password). So I’ll leave that to the experts. There’s plenty else out there that pisses me off.