Masson’s Blog is old enough to vote. It’s tough to decide how much has changed since 2004 or remember exactly what that was. One cultural benchmark I like to use is the Dazed and Confused measurement. That movie was released in 1993 and depicted a day in 1976. The cultural shifts between 1976 and 1993 were enormous. It might be due to my age, but the differences between 2004 and 2022 don’t seem anywhere near as pronounced. 1976-1993 gets you from Gerald Ford to Bill Clinton. 2004 to 2022 gets you from George W. Bush to Joe Biden. 1976-1993 gets you from no computers basically anywhere to desktops in a lot of homes. 2004-2022 gets you from flip phones to smart phones. What do we have in the latter time period that even compares to Evel Knievel, Muhammad Ali, and KISS? Probably something, actually. Back in the late 70s, I was a little kid, finely attuned to all of the pop culture phenomena. Now I’m a middle aged dad, probably not far from AARP solicitations. I’m oblivious.
I started this blog in the last days of a Democratic governor. Joe Kernan had just lost an election to Mitch Daniels. There hasn’t been a Democratic governor in Indiana since. Now we’re so far gone from purple to red that Indiana was the only state to elect an election denier to Secretary of State. And not just by a little, resoundingly. They did so in spite of the candidate’s poor past job performance, questions about personal enrichment from campaign funds, questions about whether he complied with residency requirements in past races, and a very qualified Democratic candidate. Back then, Democrats and Republicans battled it out for control of the House of Representatives. That ended following the 2010 election where the Republicans enjoyed massive gains and then leveraged those gains through favorable electoral maps.
Republicans might not have needed those maps to maintain their majorities however. Another thing that changed has been the media landscape. Blogs were in their infancy and traditional media was still relatively strong. Over the years, blogs rose briefly and then fell as Facebook and Twitter became ascendant, algorithms directed attention, Google Reader was killed, and RSS feeds became unused relics. Meanwhile, traditional media was consolidated and hollowed out. More emphasis was placed on cheap wire feeds and opinion pieces rather than local reporting. Those feeds and opinions – along with the classified ads – were easily co-opted by non-local sources. People’s attention is fractured and, to the extent they get news, its usually national in scope and often biased toward the reader’s tribe. I don’t know if the average citizen ever had a lot of patience for detail and nuance, but if they did, they no longer do. Create, like or share a nostalgic meme complaining about kids these days and call it good.
I stopped posting as frequently over the years. I’m probably as guilty as anyone about jumping over to social media. A quick hit on Twitter or Facebook largely scratched whatever itch got me blogging. And those quick hits usually got a lot more attention than the detailed stuff I post here. Even here, I learned that a quick post about Daylight Saving Time got a lot more attention than some nuanced explanation of tax legislation or whatever. As people who have stuck with me this long know, my subject matter has become painfully focused on education issues generally and West Lafayette schools in particular. My kids are nearing the end of their days there, however, and I wouldn’t be surprised if my focus changes. I think schools are extremely important for communities, whether you happen to have kids in them or not, but I can’t imagine I will fee that as acutely when those public schools are no longer part of my family’s day-to-day life.
And I guess that brings up some more big changes. When I started this blog, I was in my early 30s. I had a very young family. I was only a few years removed from working with the Legislative Services Agency and a good deal of my day-job was tied up doing collections. Now, I am in my early 50s and am nearly an empty-nester. I have not done collections work for a decade, and my main focus is municipal law as county attorney for Tippecanoe County. When I started blogging, I was a relative newcomer to the area and, in fact, lived up in Monticello. Now, I’ve lived in West Lafayette for over a decade and feel deeply tied to the County and the city.
I guess I don’t have any big thoughts about What It All Means. The Internet is awash in hot takes, so I suppose it can do without one more for the moment. I’ll keep blogging when the mood strikes.