A New Beginning

· Posted by Joshua in Miscellany

Only two years ago this month, I registered my very first internet domain name: Acceity. It was acceity.com back then. I made a website there, just for laughs. I meant it to parody the corporate websites of various media conglomerates: Time Warner, NBC Universal, Viacom, that sort of thing. To be funny. I sent all my friends a link to the site. One of them liked it! Most of the others never responded. One said, “I don’t get it. It just seems to be a site with a bunch of random things.”

Well, two years have now passed. Over that time I’ve launched three new websites, including the one I’m beginning with this post tonight. Among the changes, my site has moved from www.acceity.com to atreeleftstanding.com. But some things never change. Although this website has a brand new design, new content, and even a new focus, it will still only be “a site with a bunch of random things.”

You might still wonder, what is this site about? I think that’s a silly question. It’s like asking your friend, “what is CBS about?” I don’t regularly watch CBS, but I know enough to tell you that its about all sorts of things. It shows news, drama, comedy, sports, documentaries, programs of all kinds. Each of these programs is generally about something. But CBS, as a whole, isn’t about anything in particular. In effect, it’s just a TV channel with a bunch of random things.

Why shouldn’t this website be the same? Each post I write will surely be about something. There will be many one-offs, and perhaps a recurring series or two. As a whole, however, Acceity isn’t about any one thing at all, except perhaps the interests of its author, myself. Why should I narrow my writings to one topic, when my interests are far broader?

I admit, it does seem that narrow offerings are the trend today. Lots of narrow offerings. Each and every subject is strained out from the others and served à la carte, in a magazine, channel, or website dedicated solely to it. Thus we can pick and choose just those topics we like, and not bother with the rest. We subscribe to magazines about fashion or cars or computers, we flip between TV channels dealing in history or science fiction, comedy or news. We bookmark the websites that focus on what interest us each the most. It makes sense, I suppose. So why a website like this, with a little of everything? It has to be about something.

I admit, perhaps I am going backwards to make a blog like this. Maybe it is stupid to follow the decrepit old network television model used by ABC, NBC and CBS. They offer a bit of something for everyone, but it is only because they are remnants of an early, limited time before technology let each person choose exactly what channels and genres and topics she or he wanted. What is to stop you from doing that now, online? What is to keep you from simply clicking away to the websites that consistently interest you, and leaving this one behind in the metaphorical dust?

Nothing. The doors are always open. Go, if you like. It’s your choice.

Maybe, though, this endless choice isn’t all its cracked up to be. It’s true, I can skip to just the websites that interest me, and set the DVR to record only the shows and channels I already know I like. All the other stuff, I could ignore. I have the power to choose what I do with each moment of my free time. I can make my world conform to my own personality. But if I limit my experience only to that which I already know and appreciate, how will I ever discover anything new? How will my personality grow? How will I learn?

Think of your favorite food as a young child. Imagine if that was the only food you ever ate, if you never dared to try anything else. Think of all the other foods you love today that you never would have tasted! You wouldn’t limit your menu to one or two dishes, so why limit yourself to a one or two genres, one or two topics, one or two ideas? What good is abundant, overwhelming choice, a billion websites for a billion topics, when you’ve never experienced most of what you have to choose from? There is nothing wrong with turning on the television and catching a glimpse of something new. At worst, you’ll find that it is a terrible show—but on the other hand, perhaps you’ll love it. So, by extension, why not load up this page every few days and read a new post, just a “random thing,” which might on occasion be quite boring to you, but which on the other hand might just as easily spark a new interest?

That’s my goal for this site. I will write about all manner of things, as they come to me. Some will interest you, and some in all likelihood will not. Hopefully, however, some of the topics will be new to you, and although I doubt you’ll learn something that changes your life, you might find yourself with an interest you didn’t have before. If my writing can manage that for anyone, then this website has been a success.

I hope you enjoy what the days ahead bring forth.

As always, comments are welcome and encouraged. I will read them all, and perhaps you can introduce me to some new interests too.

If you have a good feeling about this site, please tell your friends.

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  1. Do you think the narrow mindedness way of our interests is why colleges make students take General Education courses? Is this narrow mindedness why students also seem to spark a dislike towards General Education courses? If you were to find a person who liked General Education courses, could you link that person to the way they watch television, whether they click through the channels to find what they like versus finding new things to watch? Do you think that the “General Education” person would like this site for the fact of your site being random like General Education courses and liking new things?

  2. Eric,

    Thank you for these thought-provoking questions.

    Yes, I do think that part of the reason universities require Gen Ed courses is to give students an academic foundation broader than whatever their immediate interests might be, and to encourage them to develop interests in new things. Whether or not this is why some students dislike Gen-Ed classes is difficult to say, as there are other factors. For instance, even if students do grow to find such classes interesting, they may still dislike being required to take them because they make college more expensive and more time-consuming.

    I don’t know if there is a link between people’s preference for Gen-Ed courses and their TV habits, but it’d be an interesting hypothesis for a sociology project.

    Finally, I would certainly hope that gen-ed fans enjoy this site, and that everyone else does too. However, people’s liking for this site rests not only on their interests, but also on whether or not it is any good—and I’m too biased to conjecture on that.