Monday, July 17, 2006

the shelf mailbag

I guess you could call this segment: "Reader Mail", but that wouldn't be the complete truth. It is, in part, sparked by an email we received and a comment made many posts ago. We recently received an email from someone who asked us:
"Why do you cover so many unimportant topics like movies, etc. and only sometimes talk about the important things going on in the world."
This emailer, "Jim" we'll call him, also went on another paragraph or so with a diatribe about our politics (which we have never really revealed here, but never shy away from) and other assorted "talking points" that must have come from some conspiracy theorist lefty camp-site. I will spare you the rest (and kind of thinking it might have been part of a mass mailing I deleted it anyway). However, his first question is a legitimate one, and not too long ago one of our posts received a somewhat similar, yet more polite, question. I would like to give a very brief response that may or may not satisfy any of you who might ask the same thing.

When we started The Shelf, we had two distinct ideas in mind:
1. Everyone has a real shelf at home and a mental one. There on your physical shelf, might be stored books, CDs, DVDs, or whatever that is important and recurring in your life. Take a look at your shelves at home. What movies are there? What books do you read and reread? What music do you own that you listen to, again and again. There are probably photos, momentos of trips, and even artifacts from your family, or even just some change and car keys. Either way, it many ways what is on your shelf is very telling about what you choose to say about yourself and what you may not necessarily choose to say about yourself. Our "mental shelves" are the same way. The are the thoughts, pictures, and things that we have on our mind. The things we think about and we let simmer, or put on the backburner for later. They are important as well. It is our contention that popular culture, which is influenced by everyday people, influences current events and history as well as reflects our culture, our history and our philosophies. Those are things on our shelf and they are worth discussing.

2. We didn't want to set out to cover everything and to re-invent the wheel. Therefore- somethings would come at random, as the appeared on our mental shelf, as well as what might hit the physical shelf at home. We would discuss the things of popular culture, politics, history, and philosophy, etc as we desired. Yes, its somewhat eclectic, but human beings are eclectic. No one person is completely focused on one thing; other things enter and leave our lives. This site would be a reflection of that. Therefore, we don't always discuss politics. When we do, we tend to rant a little, but we try to back up as much of it as we can. No piecemeal or fodder here. I am trained as a historian, a researcher, so perhaps I tend to over analyze or overthink things. Ultimately, we give you what we think, why we do, and the very bottom line or the big picture. If someone else, like our friends at Maggie's Farm or Gateway has it covered and has said what we would, no reason to restate it- we just direct you to what we think is important any link you to them. Victor Davis Hanson said it best? Link 'em. Someone over at Cinerati or Greenbrier covers a film or DVD in way we don't need to top? Link 'em. Anyone out there have the good on something we're talking about, or a great site or article that we think you need to see? Link 'em. Get the picture?

So you see, we know full well that the world can be the pits sometimes. We know that there are frightening, life changing, and dire and important things happening around the world. We don't think you always come here for that or for a rehash. If we have a take that we don't think has been verbalized, don't worry- we'll spell it out. In the meantime, you can stick around for a bit for some refuge here at The Shelf. Enjoy our posts, read our ramblings, entertain yourself with our humor, satire, and sillyness. Visit our friends in the The Shelf Community. Inform yourself with Shelf Links. Check out What's On The Shelf, and see if there is something that might interest you. This is a place for all of that and more.

We believe we are fighting a good fight here at home, a part of a culture war in some ways. We've discussed the "cultural elitists" at The Shelf before. For some reason there are people who believe that A. Nothing is good unless me or some other of my ilk say it is good... and B. Nothing that occured before the 1960s is worth a damn. The enlightened life really started then. To the cultural elitists, like Jim if the rest of his email is to be believed, everything that came before is primtive, unenlightened, racist, myopic, or otherwise unworthy. To them we say a collective "Hogwash" and we will continue to feature classics, good stuff, and point out their hypocrisies and their own myopia.

We have plans for other things in the near future. We hope you will enjoy them. We've been encouraged to make this a full fledged site. We're thinking about it- we'd like to hear some feedback from all of you. Let us know what you think? What do you like, what do wish we would do more of and what do you wish we'd stop doing? It won't necessarily change The Shelf, but it will give us an idea of what's working and what isn't. So please stay tuned, and sound off if you wish in the comments sections. We appreciate your visits, your comments, and your time.

Stay tuned tomorrow for mega media roundup!

Oh, I know it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me. I worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

Well, there are some things a man just can't run away from.


Laura said...

I discovered your site during a web search a few weeks ago and have been visiting regularly. I'm struck by how frequently the items you discuss or list as "What's on the Shelf" are things I either already enjoy or would be interested in checking out myself. I think it's wonderful to have a "refuge" like this from some of the heavier news that's out there. I've been blogging a year and like you, I don't attempt to be comprehensive in my news coverage, I try to highlight some of the most interesting reads out there and share my opinions from time to time, and I also spend a lot of time on "fun" things like movies, books, and cooking. (Yesterday is a good example -- the world is at war so I wrote about Disneyland, grin.) Anyway, I just want to encourage you to keep developing the site and following your own path. It's important to "be yourself" and not attempt to be like all the other blogs. There are readers "out here" who enjoy what you're doing! Best wishes, Laura

Wolf Flywheel said...

Thank you for the vote of confidence.We have two simple rules we live by here at the shelf: think for yourself (which is the shelf slogan), and write about whatever you feel like. We find that this works for us.By the way, I noticed you live in Orange County,CA. Word to the wise: don't take for granted that you can get Henry Weihard's rootbeer there. I drank it all the time when I lived in Northern CA in the 90's and that is what I miss the most.

J.C. Loophole said...

Yes, thank you for your kind words Laura. Just to add to what Wolf said, we feel like if we enjoy it whether it be movies or books or discussing human nature it worth sharing with our friends, both old and new. We hope you'll continue to add to the discussion and the fun!

Laura said...

I'll definitely be back to visit again!

I'm looking forward to seeing my copy of THE BLACK SWAN soon. :)

Best wishes, Laura

Anonymous said...

Conspiracy theory camp-sites are no fun; they never roast marshmallows and sing songs. Plus, it's your blog in the first place, ain't it? Gul durn!
It would be cool to see something on Jimi Hendrixses(Jimi Hendrix's, Jimi Hendrix' ? ) Nashville,Tennessee days, though. MORE 60's STUFF!!
This is a fascinating internet site, nonetheless. Later, alligator.


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