The Journal of Ordinary Gentlemen


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

Related Post Roulette

49 Responses

  1. Avatar James K says:

    That sounds like fun.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I like the idea.  I’m in.Report

  3. Avatar Pat Cahalan says:

    I like the idea too.

    I say we donate the proceedings, though.Report

  4. This would indeed be fun. Might I suggest that the posts be selected in something of an anthology form, with roughly an equal number of posts selected for each of the three years we’ve been around? I suspect this would make the selection process a bit easier, and would help better show the development of the site.

    I’m thinking that it wouldn’t be too hard to narrow down to 15 to 20 posts per year to be voted upon, with the top 6 or 7 to make the journal. I would expect that Erik and I could take care of the selections for 2009, perhaps you and Jason or Jaybird could take care of the 2010 selections, and two of the more recently announced gents the 2011 posts.

    Unfortunately, Scott Payne’s post with the original site proposal on his old personal blog has been lost in the ether and is only partially recoverable on the Internet Wayback Machine (you may have guessed that I am starting work on that long promised history of the League post).Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      I definitely like the anthology format. I’m wondering if we could still crowd source the culling of good pieces for each year, since I’m not sure how many of us would have time to be directly responsible for going through an individual year. I could certainly start working on 2010, but can see how we might get bogged down that way.Report

      • Yeah, I’m trying to think of a better way than I initially proposed. The trouble with crowd sourcing for the first two years, and especially 2009, is that the site’s readership was just starting to develop, and I don’t think there’s a ton of current readers that can go back all the way to the beginning, or at least almost all the way so memories aren’t going to do a good job of coming up with candidates.

        On a personal and selfish level, there would be a lot of sentimental value for me in going through those early posts. There were some incredible exchanges in the first two or three months of the site’s existence when most of the posts were basically extended responses to earlier posts. That format eventually proved unsustainable for various reasons, but there was some stuff in there that was fantastic: a series on abortion where, IIRC, the contributors actually addressed each other’s arguments; a series on science, theology, and atheism; and the lengthy round one of the still-interminable liberaltarianism discussion.

        But now I’m starting to digress into that LOOG history post that I’m writing.Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. says:

          Well I can start going through 2010. It’ll just take some time. I do think the anthology idea gets us away from an obvious pitfall- we all best remember the most recent posts, right?

          Incidentally, it occurs to me that the posts might need an occasional footnote in a print edition, or maybe an introductory paragraph, if they’re referring to something specific. But that will probably make many of them less time-sensitive than they might otherwise appear.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

            Another thought – some of them might need minor editing.  I’m not sure that in a paper anthology having links and quick references to something that someone else “recently posted” works so well.Report

  5. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    It occurs to me that a lot of great posts are very, very time sensitive.  Would we shay way from those, or say “Damn it, people still want to read about what Glenn Beck said in 2010!”  The former seems better, which might help in the narrowing process.Report

  6. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    A self-publishing, book-on-demand site would probably be best. The product would wind up looking nice, and the product could remain available whenver someone cared to purchase it (no inventory for anyone to sit on).

    There are copyright issues, as I understand that each of the authors maintains copyright in the writing, with a license given to the blog for use here. I have no problem licensing anything I’ve written to Erik or Mark or whomever for purposes of the Journal of the Ordinary Gentlemen, provided that the proceeds are then used in an appropriate fashion.

    On that note, I suggest the proceeds go to defraying the costs of maintaining the blog. Anything in excess of that should go to a charity of some kind. I’m not insistent on that, but it seems like a logical thing to do.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

      This brings up an interesting question, Burt.  Would we be allowed to publish a piece in the anthology later, with another publication?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        My assumption is that if it’s a book-on-demand site, we (meaning the editor, presumptively meaning Erik) could add or take away from its contents as we liked. I’m not 100% clear on the nuts and bolts of that sort of thing, though.

        In terms of the legalities, that depends on the terms of the license agreement, but we’ve got a few lawyers here who could probably whip up something appropriate. I’d be happy to help out with that, in my copious free time.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      Yeah, I assume we would have to get permission and that probably not everyone would give us permission. Whatever happened to the Plumb Lines people, for example? I’d imagine there are some who would turn us down.

      I’ll look into the book-on-demand sites. I was thinking newsprint because it’s traditionally cheapest and sort of fits the aesthetics of the site, but with the publish-on-demand sites, other types might be cheaper.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I’d be down. My (purely selfish) problem is that my comments are much, much better than my posts.Report

  8. Avatar wardsmith says:

    I’d buy a book just full of Jaybirds commentsReport

  9. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Jaybird’s with a apostrophe that is.

    Title: Jaybird’s Juicy Germane Genius Genuflections on Gillions of Jazzy Jags

    Ok, the title could use some work. 🙂Report

  10. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    I’d suggest instead of or in addition to such a journal there be a segment in the masthead of “greatest hits” designed for new readers to get a feel for the site. There is such a section on Front Porch Republic that was extremely valuable for me to grasp what that site is all about when I first started visiting there.Report

  11. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Rufus – this is a good idea. Let’s start an email back and forth with everyone interested to piece this together and hammer out details.Report

  12. Avatar Roger says:

    Great idea. May I also suggest a different idea (which could weave in to the original one). It would be a great practice if the writer of the original opinion piece could do a summary wrap up of the discussion as it was played out.

    Obviously this would be an option, and would be inappropriate for some content (such as the ones that don’t lead to debates), but it would be useful if the original poster summarized their take — biases and all — on the overall discussion. Consider it more of a useful convention or norm than a requirement. This could possibly feed into Rufus’ newspaper. It wouldn’t be practical to list all 250 comments, but sometimes the comments are every bit as valuable as the original piece.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      Yeah, I’m sort of thinking of the compilations they do of famous writers’ op ed pieces, where there’s often a paragraph at the beginning or footnotes to explain the larger context. A paragraph afterwards would probably be good too.Report

  13. Avatar E.C. Gach says:

    That sounds awesome, I’d definitely buy one.  Sites like Blurb do on-demand printings, though something like that might involve more steps than necessary.