The Return of the Prodigal Blogger to His Spurned Mistress
November 1, 2005 Leave a comment
Yes, I have been away. Trying to recover from the sickness, the addiction, that is blogging. On most occasions I sat still for any length of time, my jealous mistress, known to you all as African Bullets & Honey, would sound her plaintive cry: ‘you have not posted today’ she would whine. What was I to do, being weak of will and filled with opinions that my dear loved ones now listen to with sighs of resignation? I had to return, to blog, to bloviate and join the almighty clamour of noise and thought that is blogosphere. Problem is this, I find myself unable to write well academically and otherwise while I am blogging. The feedback loop is so immediate that it becomes more attractive than the other forms of writing which might actually present the tiny hope of paying the bills.
Now where was I when I left off a few weeks ago? Yes, I was in mid-rant about the usual utopianism of the Jeffrey Sachs crew. And I stopped, exhausted at the sheer stupidity of arguing about stupidity. So let me turn to something that I think is far more interesting: Jane Jacob’s studies on the nature and organisation of cities. I am ashamed to say that I first heard of her a couple of months ago; now that I am reading her book – The Death and Life of Great American Cities – I am stunned that I did not come across her sooner. How strange it is to now know what I don’t know after not knowing what I did not know. I grew up in Nairobi and always regarded the steady deterioration in its security to strictly be a matter of lax police work by a corrupt and dictatorial state. While that may be true, Jacob’s studies suggest that there might be more afoot in Nairobbery than poor policing, it could be a matter of the way public and private spaces are apportioned, the lack of mixed use neighbourhoods and the paradoxical impact of the ‘high walls for security’ culture actively reducing the ‘eyes on the street’ which are the key to urban safety. But all this is a post for another day, a flexing of disused blogging muscles…