I need to lower my standards enough to let out a few half-baked ideas.
If you read my last post (on the crime rate in Fairbanks), you may have left with the feeling that it was not the most thorough piece of argumentation you’d ever read. Frank Cox called it a “rough and ready first cut at analyzing the crime situation in the city and the borough.” That was fairly kind.
The causes of crime in an urban area are a topic that deserves quality research — and a topic for which a lot of quality data are probably available. What’s more, when I start trotting out the suggestion that crime is related to income and possibly race, I’d like to present a good case . Many of us may have that intuition or may have read some such statistics, but when it comes to the possible appearance of denigrating a class of people, I’d rather be cautious and thorough. My last post was neither.
However, by demanding the most thorough research and brilliantly crafted arguments for everything, I could completely paralyze myself. I already feel that I’m not posting enough. Instead of having few postings of spectacular scholarship, I would rather post often, on a wide variety of topics, and (with luck) initiate more discussions.
I’ll save my scholarly work for scholarly publications, cut a few intellectual corners where needed, and try just to get some ideas out there.
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If you’re already a reader of The Fairbanks Pedestrian, you may not have looked recently for an “About this blog” link. But now there is one — look, at the top of the page! Chances are, you know the kinds of things I write about, so you won’t learn anything new about the blog’s themes. But there’s one passage I’d like to highlight:
While for now I write all the posts to to this blog, I am always eager for readers to participate. I do not claim to have all the answers to the questions raised here, nor are all my stated opinions unchangeable and final. I encourage everybody with another perspective or a question to leave a comment. For example:
- “Here’s another example of what you’re talking about…”
- “How would your solution apply in this difficult circumstance?…”
- “Here are some facts you didn’t consider…”
- “One of your premises is faulty. Here’s what I’d say instead…”
And, of course:
- “Great ideas! What can I do to help?”
(I hope it’s not tacky to excerpt one’s own writing.)
The fact is, friends, it’s mighty quiet here in blogland. My broader goal is to start a community discussion about city living and civic life — but most of the time the discussion goes only one way.
I’m not interested in your flattery or your insincerity. But I do hope that, if I ever say something that changes your mind, re-affirms your position, brightens your day, gives you a new idea, or pisses you off, you’ll leave a comment and let me know. My hope for The Fairbanks Pedestrian is that it be interesting, useful, or in other ways worth your while. If it is, I’d love to know how.
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