As of today, Larvatus Prodeo will cease publishing.
After a couple of test posts, the blog began to wend its way through the online world on March 17, 2005, so it’s a very old beast in internet years.
We collectively feel seven years is enough.
I think LP played a significant role in stimulating political debate over the course of its life, and acted as something of a catalyst for a lot of good things in the spaces of new media and public discourse.
To large degree, though, the caravan has moved on.
There’s no longer the same need for a hub for political discussion, as lively debate has migrated to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and as the space for opinion and analysis around the shop has widened. The fact that the ‘blogosphere’ in Australia is no longer a term that makes much sense is an indicator of that change.
To a large degree, LP was a victim of its own success, adopting a role as a sort of ‘blog of record’ where the daily political news could be analysed and dissected. I think this was an important thing for some time, particularly during the last of the Howard years. However, LP bloggers, I think, became increasingly uneasy about this focus, wondering whether we weren’t inadvertently feeding the media cycle beast.
I am convinced there’s a role for a more curated and conciously counter-cultural focus on policy, shifts in the lived experience of our public culture, and serious examination of flashpoints in the battle between reason and untruth.
Some of us tried something in that vein with our recent collaboration between FAQ Research and Crikey, Coal Seam Gas: Behind the Seams. I think we’ve also contributed meaningfully to the achievement of those goals through our coverage and analysis of climate science and climate policy here.
We have come to the conclusion that while we’d like to reorient our perspective as writers and analysts, LP is not the place to do it. The blog has its own momentum (and its own inertia), and it’s not an easy thing to turn around.
Several LP bloggers will be striking out in new directions, some as yet in the process of coalescing. If you’re interested, and I hope you will be, in following and participating in our individual and collective efforts with others, I’d encourage you to ‘like’ our Facebook page, where we’ll direct people to other things we decide to do.
Anyone interested in what I might do media-wise might also like to sign up to the FAQ Research e-newsletter, and ‘like‘ us on Facebook. I think there’ll be a new media project down the track, combining research articles, multi-media and blogging and social media, but, again, spadework needs doing. I think it’s important to focus on some very profound issues of science, change, policy and risk, and the massive impacts on our society and culture they shape. I also think a sharper focus on the dissemination and production of social scientific and cultural knowledges is key.
Should you wish to make a donation to support such an endeavour, there’s an IndieGoGo fundraising page here. Any serious media effort requires funding, covering hosting fees, design, and most importantly, some small compensation for the time of the contributors. You may also wish to express your thanks for our work over the years since 2005.
In the meantime, when I have the impulse to write, I’ll be updating my personal blog, Sed Probates Spiritus, and other LP bloggers who start up new projects may update this post while comments are open. If you’re looking for other places for independent Australian political commentary, you can’t go past John Quiggin and Club Troppo (where my own blogging trajectory began) and Crikey and New Matilda. And of course, there’s the excellent Hoyden About Town.
I don’t think it’s appropriate to the history and spirit of this blog to just keep it ticking over while our energies are directed elsewhere (and it does take a lot of energy to do this sort of work).
Many, I suspect, will feel sad at this blog’s closure, but it simply isn’t and can’t be the vehicle for what the times demand now, and into the future.
It remains for me to thank, from my heart, all those who’ve shared the journey: bloggers, guest writers, commenters, all. Your enthusiasm and talents have been, and are, wonderful and the archive of this site, as well as your future endeavours in working towards a much better standard of public discourse in this nation, are their own tribute.
It would be wrong to thank people by name, but you know how grateful I am. This blog has been a large part of my life for a very long time, and it’s hard to say goodbye, but new beginnings are also an important thing in life.
Comments will remain open for a short time, but then be closed permanently.
Peace be with you all!
Update: Robert Merkel has a new blog at A Bent Ghost.
Update: [by Kim] The Pirate Queen’s Panopticon is moderating your interwebz here. I’m also hoping to be part of the new media venture Mark refers to in this farewell post.