Saturday, May 21, 2011

Introductions and Commencements



Welcome!

Since I’ve never done this before, I’m going to set myself what I think is a reasonable starting pace: once a week, I’ll post an essay, or something less formally structured, on a topic that has caught my attention. Hopefully, these will spark some discussion among readers (which, obviously, presumes that there will be readers… so I’m clearly hoping for the best), as well as being informative – or at least well-informed.

In order to give some coherent narrative form to this whole affair, the first series of writings will be related to my senior thesis at Simon’s Rock, which was a study of the contemporary military and American foreign policy through the lens of the frontier imagination in the United States. A few posts from now, the reader should be much better acquainted with what I mean by this, and I’m hoping that it will provide a good foundation from which to proceed.1


A Note on Style

While writing here, I’m going to try some things out, stylistically – experiments with the medium of HTML, which allows one remarkable flexibility in playing with formatting and things that text can do. Some of these experiments may work well, and some will undoubtedly not work. Whenever necessary, I’ll provide a note explaining what I’m doing, and hopefully, if it proves useful or pretty or otherwise worthy of sticking around, it will simply become part of the common vocabulary of this space.2 Otherwise, I’ll let it slip quietly into the archives, and move on to the next experiment.

For instance:

There will be occasions when I want to add a footnote to a part of a post, and the citation style that I prefer and use also calls for footnotes to cite sources. Given that I want the reader to read the footnotes, and that I don’t particularly care if he reads the source-notes (nor, I suspect, will he often care to do so), I find it necessary to distinguish between the two.

To do so, I will visually differentiate between the two: a blue, underlined superscript character (i.e. 1) refers to a footnote and a black superscript character (i.e. 1) refers to a source-note. The footnote signifier will also be anchor-linked to the footnotes section, so that the reader may click it, read the note, and return to where he was reading.

Anyways. That's it for now. You can subscribe to my RSS feed in the sidebar to the left of this post, if you want to be notified whenever there are new posts. Or, as I said, I'll be posting at least once a week to start, so you can check back in each Sunday. Thanks for reading, and I hope to hear your comments as I get going. Let's see what happens.

Cheers,
Jeff

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Footnotes

1. This hope for a common foundation is indebted (like so much else, I would imagine) to my time at Simon’s Rock, where every first-year student takes First Year Seminar their first two semesters. Because of this common course, everyone in our class had read at least eight of the same books inside the classroom, and  could comfortably find a topic of discussion outside of it. Perhaps more important, though, was that the other classes had read them as well, which gave us grounds and excuse to talk to the often-intimidating upperclassmen, until we no longer thought of them as such. Return to reading

This experience was one of the most integral parts of my education at Simon’s Rock, and has given me great faith in the power of common experience. If every reader of this blog begins with some common encounter, they will be able to articulate their uncommonness, their unique addition to the discussion, in a more nuanced and a more easily understandable fashion. That is my hope, and that is why I open by providing some common ground on which to stand.

2. A vocabulary, it must be noted, that only I possess (Mwa ha ha), at least until such time as I figure out if there’s a way to enable HTML editing in the comments. Return to reading