I just checked my blog today, and found that my last post was on July 18th 2010. Two months ago! I used to be a lot more prolific. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out what happened to the constant stream of thoughts followed by a lack of concern over what people would think, leading ultimately to a blog post. I noticed this slump around a month ago, when a blogger friend casually commented that I have become sporadic. I replied that I was too busy right then, and immediately got drenched in a wave of guilt as five google chrome tabs (facebook, google-chat, google reader, nytimes and stumbleupon.com) stared back at me. At that time I decided that writing regularly was a matter of priorities, and that one needed to make a snap-decision to set aside some time, and come up with a blog post.
And so, one month later, I am sitting at a computer, actually penning a draft, which might (and that includes the possibility that it might not) materialize into a post. Right now it is a piece of literary fetal tissue (thank god for Roe v. Wade). I am eager to see how it turns out though.
Not that I haven’t been trying. I first got a Plinky membership, which means I now get free ideas everyday to get rid of my writer’s block. That was as effective as my mother telling me to study hard during school days. Who knows what she was thinking! Anyway, Plinky was a dud, and then I decided to glance through my drafts section. There were some ideas there:
My magnum opus (blog version) on religion: I am risking getting scooped here, the plot of that post was a courtroom where a civil case for plagiarism was being filed against Mohammed, Jesus, Brahma, Yahwei and there were many co-defendants. Apparently they sued each other for lifting lines and ideas. There was no way to determine who copied from whom, as all could adroitly bend the space-time continuum at will. Actually, I did not run out of ideas on that one. I have to admit. I was afraid. Afraid of writing something humorous that would offend Muslim readers. (I know that with my current modest readership, I’m giving myself too much credit thinking I would actually offend someone, but these things travel faster that one imagines.) The problem is that when I offend Christians, Hindus, Jews and people of any group (be it religious or anything else), I never fear for my life. I fear censure, ostracism, many many arguments, but never death. When I criticize anything Muslim on a public forum, I do fear for my life. I know I am not nearly (nor will I ever be) as famous as Theo van Gogh or the creators of South Park, I do have the right to fear the lack of respect of some Muslim fundamentalists of the sanctity of the written word. So, I guess I will not be returning to that draft very soon.
The extremes of freedom: Here I was planning to explore the ambit of a free society. Anyone who merely skims this blog knows that I value freedom more than anything else, and every sacrifice of freedom and civil rights in the name of some greater good scares me a lot. I wanted to play Devil’s Advocate with myself, and wanted to think if there was any truth in the Indian laws which actually inhibit some free speech as that which can hurt national sentiments as well as national honor. Now that I think about it, I don’t remember what points I had accumulated in my head, or what prompted me to even think about writing that post. So, for the record, until I say otherwise, freedom is paramount, especially free speech!
The Obama presidency: I have always been a bit critical of President Obama, and I have received more than my fair share of rebukes. I do live in New York City, land of the free and home of the liberals. I do, however, want Obama to make some moves one way or the other. I lean slightly to the right in my politics, and wedge issues like minimum wage, stimulus plans, cutting spending, raising taxes, school vouchers etc are keywords that can get me onto a soapbox for days, until I run out of material or voluntary listeners, the latter being more likely. I have been thinking of a reason for not writing that post yet, but the sad truth is that I have not done enough legwork. I promise to return to this issue soon.
My dissociation from religion, Hannity, Limbaugh & Beck: As I said before, I tend to favor small government, but I would like to vent disgust at the immediate association with religion. As and when I go to economic blogs with a libertarian perspective, I find some or the other jagweed complaining about how liberals aren’t moral enough, or do not have enough faith. Those people who equate religiosity with center-right politics are as loony as religious people themselves. Those who know me personally also know that I do not endorse any religion, and sincerely hope that there will be a time in my lifetime, when we look back at our religious pasts with shame, like the way we look at times when we believed the earth was flat, or that it everything revolved around the earth. Let me also use this opportunity to explain the difference between libertarianism and what Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and lately Rand Paul preach. They are nuts. They are not libertarian. They believe in imposing their rules on others, just not others’ rules on them. Add Bill O’Reilly to that list while you’re at it.
Clinical trial ethics: I wrote a post with a similar topic a year or so ago. This one was prompted by a news piece I read yesterday of a clinical trial where two cousins with melanoma were included. One of them received only a placebo, and thus felt shortchanged. The truth is, placebos are required in a clinical trial, to ensure that any improvement from taking the actual medication is significantly superior to that which would result from the patient merely knowing that he took medication. The FDA states that in some cases involving patients with dangerous illnesses, where a placebo treatment could actually harm the patient’s chances of getting cured (as we would be wasting valuable time that could be used for treatment), it is actually unfair to keep people on placebo once we know that the drug does work. It makes some moral sense too. I mean, come on, even though the pharma companies are technically covered (patients sign an informed consent form where it is clearly stated that their taking part in an experiment) , but we must not forget that these are real patients, who could die. While I think that, the scientist in me reminds me coldly that clinical trials are experiments, the success of which could lead to the saving of millions of lives.
Morality: There was no such draft, but I have been thinking of writing something on this topic. Not religion, although that would need to be discussed, just morality. The genetic roots of moral thinking, the need to preserve one’s genetic identity, and social conditioning, all of which are inextricable from one’s moral values.
So, there! These are all the ideas in my mind. I do realize that rambling on about not getting enough ideas and then appending some drafts I’m too lazy to finish is a bit of a con-job, and I apologize. I will write something more. And soon.