Sunday, January 8, 2012

Most Popular Posts of 2011

A crowd. I don't think any of them read Arena-Man

Hey everybody! Today I’m going to reflect on the top five most popular (in terms of page views) posts on Arena-Man in 2011. The year was an exciting time for the blog. It’s the first time that I made a concerted effort to write something weekly (and usually post it). So here are the top 5, picked by you! Counting down from number 5:

I’ve long been of the opinion, first expressed by a pastor of mine, that any two Christian people can have a successful marriage. To disabuse me of this notion, a friend recommended I read this book. So I reviewed it and then critiqued it. Warren’s basic idea is that good selection is all-important, even more important than anything else you do in relationship. He’s got a lot of good ideas about what exactly needs to line up, and has since writing this, become the most successful matchmaker in the history of the world (via eHarmony). This post got popular because (in addition to it being totally world-stupifyingly brilliant like all my articles ;) not much is written online about Neil Clark Warren. This article got popular because (probably young) people were told about Warren, and Googled him.

When I was at home, I felt my ambition wane for a brief moment. It was a specific moment sitting on the back porch of my parents’ home, relaxing, spending a quiet morning with God and getting the warm feeling, “This is what life is about.” I think I’ve since shifted myself back into the stream of Action, but it is not to be forgotten that the domestic life is Good, and perhaps the ideal life. “My epiphany was that my sword will one day be beaten into a plow because there will never again be a reason for me to leave home. Man’s destiny is domestic.” I have stories as to why all my other stories got clicks, but I don’t know about this one. Maybe others are feeling the same way.

In this article, I summarized the condition of the present dating world and conclude that Fairy Tale Romance is impossible only because we believe it to be so. It’s natural and proper for men to make early and ridiculous promises and declarations of love, and this would work if men kept their word. But they don’t and so by the time we’re ready to get married, we have a lot of broken promises behind us. My assessment of the present problem is: “We have locked away our still-beating heart in a black coffin. The passions of the living heart seep out of the coffin like a vapor and drive Twilight sales into the millions, while the thick lid prevents any real corporeal Romance in. Perhaps it is irony that Edward, the great romantic hero of our age, is dead. Mr. Darcy has been replaced with a pale, cold, lifeless, blood-sucking, sun-fearing creature of the night (with really sexy hair).” If we are to find love, it will be a risk; prudence is not minimizing it, but in taking it. I love that this article inspired so much discussion. Some people agreed with it. Another made a heartfelt confession about a situation in her life. People were real and honest. It was the closest to web community that I’ve seen.

I was inspired when I took Solomon’s personification of Wisdom seriously, when I actually thought of Wisdom like a girl. I saw the passage afresh, and wanted to pass this experience on to others. But you can’t just say “Hey guys, think anew about something old!” At least I can’t say that effectively. So I decided to play a dirty trick on all my well-intentioned would-be matchmakers (and all friends who are concerned with such personal matters). So I wrote about Wisdom as if I just started dating her (after, of course, changing my Facebook status to “In a Relationship”. I fooled a lot of people and I hope (though highly doubt) many grew wiser by it. The length of time of the deception ranged from zero seconds (someone who figured it more likely that I would change my Facebook status for a teaching purpose than actually get a girl) to several months (people who read the first paragraph of the article, smiled, and never read the part about my explaining it to be a metaphor). It was rather awkward to explain about my girlfriend (in their mind) of 3 months who turned out actually to be a metaphor.

I never guessed at 3am when I posted this, that it’d end up my most popular post for 2011. I defended the racist girl at UCLA as her YouTube rant started to go viral on Facebook. It was a practical lesson in the tides of Internet opinion, shifting and fickle. In the gap between my UCLA Facebook friends freaking out and larger news sources picking it up, Arena-Man was one of the few websites to talk about Alexandra Wallace. And with so inflammatory a title, it got clicks. But more than a lesson on internet traffic flows, it was a lesson on human nature. Hers, mine, and particularly, on those who so violently and perversely hated her. What could have been righteous indignation was transmuted into licentiousness or raw rage evidenced by Googlers who found this article with searches like “Alexandra Wallace Porn” “Alexandra Wallace life is ruined”. This also marks Arena-Man’s first identified troll (message board dissident). A very enlightening experience for us all.

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