If you stand at the corner of Mass Avenue and Vassar Street and look diagonally across the street at the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse, you’ll see what you see in this photo.

Rage Warehouse.
Ire Proof. 

And in my own head I play with the ideas. A warehouse is where you store things, so this is a warehouse that stores rage. At the same time, it’s ire proof. It isn’t vulnerable to the anger of anyone outside its walls. It doesn’t quite work out as a useful metaphor.

Except that today it works perfectly as a way to introduce what I’m trying to do with this blog. Or rather, it works perfectly as a way to describe how I see the world, its present danger. And what I am trying to do in response to that. 

I worked at MIT for 27 years. For the last 10 years I’ve been trying to do more or less a single thing. Improve how academic web development is handled to improve academic communication. Not in general but in regard more or less exclusively to sustainability, climate change, and all the rest of it.

I’ve certainly gotten nowhere, and I would argue that neither has anyone else. And yet I’m more certain than I’ve ever been that academic communication has a fundamental role to play. That it isn’t playing. And it’s that silence, that missing in action, along with a lot of unhelpful obstructions, that is undermining the contributions of elite universities like Harvard and MIT. 

Jane Austen observed long ago (in Persuasion) that we all inflate the importance of the goings on in our own small village, and that we’re all rightly humbled when we go afield and find out how little others share that sense of importance. Fair enough. I’m prepared to admit that’s true.

And yet, whether it’s only in my own mind or not, I believe that Harvard and MIT play a role in what is meant by East Coast. And I believe that, combined, they reinforce some of their worst ideas, strategies and goals. At any rate, beyond that, those two are all I only really know — MIT up close, Harvard from a bit more of a distance.  They’re doing well enough, god knows, but the world isn’t.

When Donald Trump was elected, I started picking up trash in the street. Not every little thing, just the big stuff. I’d always been too embarrassed to do that before, then suddenly I wasn’t. I feel the same now with this blog, in ways that I hope will unfold over the next two years. Now to the election in November 2020.

I’ll leave off here . Tom Waits once said you can kill a song if you work on it a minute too long. And god knows I’ve found that to be true.