I started this blog a week ago. Few people have read it. If I had posted the full texts of any one of these pieces on Facebook, more people would have read them, "liked" them, talked about them. It looks like a total of three people read my post on Meru that I wrote yesterday.
I just had my first peer-reviewed article accepted. I recently turned in what I think will be my final draft, barring any further requests for revisions. The journal is an open-sourced academic journal, available to anyone, even those without access to a university ID. Still, I doubt many people will read it. The article concerns an obscure Hungarian animator. Few people even in Hungary know his name. If more than 30 people read this article, I will be shocked.
I have written several essays and conducted several interviews for The Millions. I can only guess my number of readers based on the number of Facebook likes and Tweets. Have a thousand people read my essay on Spider-Man? Five thousand? Does it matter?
There is a great pleasure in being read. There is also a great pleasure in not being read. There is a great pleasure in dedicating hours of work, hours of thinking, hours of getting every sentence right, and every word correct when applying classical film theory to a Hungarian animator from the 1960s. There is a great pleasure in doing those things with the full knowledge that very few people in the wider world, including many brilliant people, have no idea what "applying classical film theory" actually means.
Children play with toys and create their own narratives with action figures. They don't need to share those narratives with anyone else. Those narratives exist for themselves. Adults can only ruin the pleasure by asking about their stories, by telling them, so condescendingly, that they enjoy their dreams.
Maybe it's arrogant, maybe it's just sour grapes, but at this moment, I am very happy in the knowledge that this post is available to everyone on earth with an Internet connection and that only three of those billions will read it.