Remarks about this site
I tend not to feel particularly good about my writing most of the time, but I appreciate the kind things other have said. Please don’t fault them if I blow it:
Mills’ writing inspires many adjectives — intelligent, insightful, and beautiful among them — but one quickly gets the feeling that, rather than compliments, his true reward is in helping readers notice something amusing about the world that they didn’t see before.
He unpacks his thoughts so completely that it’s impossible not to emerge from hours of sifting through his archives a person who has something new to say, who’s been somehow altered… you end up spending a great deal of your evening following the breadcrumbs of Mills’ thoughts. Isn’t that what you’d like the internet to be like? What a wonderful present it can be, what great fodder for conversations you’d never had before, and how generous to share, so considerately, an idea that goes beyond himself and his own concerns. Mills has ideas, opinions, questions, and often they relate only tangentially to himself, which is of course the mark of a person who sees the world as endlessly amusing, befuddling, and beautiful.
He attains levels of exhaustive depth and sheer awesomeness that simply can’t be realized outside of fiction. Mills, inveterate student of psychology that he is, would no doubt find it interesting to learn that his persona seems impossibly singular, a subject incapable of being the sole creation of any one man. There are times when I wonder if “Mills” isn’t code for a collaborative of social scientists pulling the strings behind the scenes of the internet’s best hair.
Very little needs to be said about Mills that hasn’t been said already by the legions that love his work. Here is all that I will add: Mills’ posts attest to a heroic effort against the laziness that plagues us all. His posts are wonderful, true. But they’re also carefully constructed and edited…they never succumb to the deadening power of habit that forces thought (or at least my thought) into preformed molds. On days that Mills does not post, I am even less wise and less intelligent than usual.
Mills is a pretty awesome fuckin’ dude. I’m just saying. Read what [he] says.
Why don’t you follow Mills yet?
Please, if you read nothing else today, read Mills Baker’s blog. [It] is possibly the best I’ve ever seen: highly intelligent, beautifully-written, thoughtful, insightful. At one and the same time I am inspired to write more, and better; but also embarrassed that I clog up the tubes of the internet when you could be reading him.
There are certain people you come across in life — in the real world, in books, online, wherever — that sincerely make you want to be a better person in very particular ways: smarter, more interesting, more thoughtful, more articulate, more generous, more engaging. Mills has been one of those people for me ever since I first stumbled onto a post of his a couple of years ago. He reaches people in a very direct way, and, even though he knows more about most everything than you probably do, he never makes you feel lesser than. His is the best kind of intelligence, the most important kind of writing: it invites you in — warmly, gently — engages you in a dialogue, and then allows you to feel smarter than you probably are just for being a part of the conversation. I’m not exactly sure what it means to be a good man in the 21st century, but I think it probably looks a lot like Mills.
Your favorite flyabostic bibliophiliac and mine.
Mills’s tumblelog was the only one that I knew of in those early days that seemed to think it was OK to write longer, more complicated posts. Moreoever, people seemed to enjoy reading them! “Huh,” I thought. “I guess this means I can write longer pieces if I want to. I guess I can even” — dare I even utter this aloud — “take it kind of seriously if the occasion warrants.” Without his example, I might have given up on Tumblr and I’d be thanklessly toiling away on Wordpress! Maybe I’d even be dead. Who can say with any certainty? To paraphrase Lionel Hutz: “hero” is not a word I use very often, but Mills is the greatest hero in American history.
- he can solve your existential crisis the way my grandpa solves crosswords: effortlessly and while wearing a bathrobe.
- mills is credible. some may even say incredible. others may point out that incredible actually means “not credible.”
- mills drips in ethos the way a muskox drips in musk.
- mills is the guy to have on speed dial for when you are cornered between scrutonian extremists and foucaultian fanatics.
- the secret to mills is that he runs on a flux capacitor powered by the dust of kierkegaard’s bones.
Erica, of Been Thinking:
Sometimes I can’t decide if we should love or hate Mills for getting it and then explaining it back to us in terms we can’t deny.
This site’s relative success has exceeded any possible hopes I might have had, and for that I am deeply grateful to everyone who has spent even a moment glancing at it. As always, comments, corrections, and correspondence are welcome!