Delete or not Delete
On December 11th 2011, one of my favourite bloggers retired with this postscript:
p.s. I also deleted everything on the blog from before the riots this year. Enough of all that callow crap from my 20s hanging around forever. If there was anything useful that I did delete (I dunno, the odd Badiou translation?), let me know and I’ll send it to you cos I cut and pasted everything into a word doc: 532,556 words from April 2004 onwards…now that’s a lot more than I would have guessed…feels good to ditch it though.
It was a minor world event as Steely Dan might have put it, I updated my blog, removed the link and in its place, added a link to DTRTP, but for one exception. When Nina Powers says that she ‘deleted everything on the blog,’ she means that not only did she wipe her copy, but she wiped everyone else’s copy too, in the whole wide world.
It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to her point of view. This is my 103rd blog, and although my verbosity falls short of half a million words, there is still plenty of ‘callow crap,’ to use the elegant phrase, floating in the archive. Right now, I’m putting together a publication for the inventory, which I started talking about in September 2009. I’m thinking about what I want to say about the work and how I view it. I’m also thinking that I have already said a great deal glibly, seriously, despairingly, which lets just say, strikes a different note.
It’s just that when I finish a book, and say that it hasn’t been a trial to get to the end, the first thing that I want to do is flick back and go over the good bits, and this kills that. And it reminds me that this online stuff, that I’m increasingly reading more and more of, isn’t a book, and although at the moment it’s in my flat, and I’m reading it on my sofa, there’s no guarantee that it will be there tomorrow.
In a separate instance, Google last year used its remote application removal feature (killswitch), to delete malware from thousands of android phones, without the knowledge, and explicit consent, of the owners of those phones. They too woke up in the morning and it was gone, but that’s a whole other story.