So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

It is with excitement and regret that I announce today that this will be my last post for Anthrodendum. I’m leaving the blog.

It’s hard to leave something you love, especially when you’ve done it a long time. So I feel a certain regret in leaving the blog. But I’m excited too. Academics very rarely have the opportunity to un-volunteer themselves from a service position, and these days as I hit my mid-career stride I face serious demands on my time. A lot of those demands come from my private life — community and family — but they also come from obligations to the academic world as well, including my students and colleagues. All of these people are ultimately more important than a blog.

These days, of course, this may sound a little bit like “I’m resigning to spend more time with my family”! To be honest, I am hoping to do more with my newly-won free time than just preparing powerpoints for my lectures. Now that I am into my middle career, I’ve been thinking about about what I want to accomplish now that the future that no longer stretches away into infinity.

On the one hand, I’m interested in keeping the public anthropology going. But key to pursuing your interests across the course of a whole career is finding a way to keep working through the issues you think are important without getting stuck in a rut. There would be something very noble and impressive about getting up every morning when I’m 81 to write a new post for Anthrodendum… but at the same time there’d also be something unhealthy about it. I’m having a lot of fun with my tumblr of anthropological portraits, and I’ve never been super active on Twitter or other social media…. there’s podcasts and Instagram, and next year there will be something else that we haven’t even heard of yet… I’ll always have a personal blog and, who knows, maybe I’ll start another blog someday (perhaps entitled ‘Mythologiques’?). But there’s a lot to explore, and I can’t really do any of that exploration while continuing to write for Anthrodendum.

At the same time, I’d also like to cut down on my public anthropology and actually publish articles rather than blog posts. To most people I’m the “Savage Minds guy”. After a long stretch doing new forms of media, I’d like to try a spell of more orthodox work: Grants to support grad students, articles in mainstream journals, and more fieldwork. It might be time to be on the bottom of things for a while, rather than on top of them.  And these days, with so many new (and younger) voices, the ever-increasing velocity of social media, and my distance from the mainland US and its crises, people are less and less interested in what I have to say than ever before! I consider this a feature and not a bug of the Internet at present, so I’m happy to focus on scholarly work.

Now, I realize that I can’t experiment in new forms of popular writing AND take time to do deeper scholarly work at the same time. And indeed, its been a hallmark of my career that I’ve always been more of a fox than a hedgehog. In truth, I’m not sure how I will chose between these two options, but I am sure I won’t have time to make that choice if I am participating actively in the blog. But I do think that changing things up will help me write more, and more meaningfully, in the future.

Savage Minds was a great experience. I benefitted tremendously from it, learned tons, and massively expanded my horizons. I hope it did the same thing for you. The transition to Anthrodendum was also a learning experience, and the blog is now headed in its own direction without me. I wish you all luck, thank you very much, and hope we all keep the conversation going in the future. Take care all!

4 Replies to “So Long And Thanks For All The Fish”

  1. Rex, thank you for being here and for your contributions to Anthro{dendum} in both its previous and current incarnations. Please take it as a compliment that I have always welcomed the civil and serious tone of your posts and, yes, the thoughtfulness of your moderation, not least in moments when I was the one chided for going over the line. Most important of all, I can say with complete candor that, while I may be nearly twice your mid-career age, I have regularly learned important things from reading what you write.

  2. Oh Alex, your work was such a fun to read! You’ll be missed on AD very deeply.

  3. rex–we’ll miss seeing your posts here on anthrodendum, but i look forward to seeing your new work. don’t be an internet stranger (or as alex in real life, either)