Hobson’s Choice


Poster for the 1954 film "Hobson's Choice"

Poster for the 1954 film “Hobson’s Choice”

Today’s Daily Prompt: If you had to choose between being able to write a blog (but not read others’) and being able to read others’ blogs (but not write your own), which would you pick? Why?

The first thing that should be said is that this is not really “Hobson’s Choice”. Technically Hobson’s Choice is a choice between taking something or nothing. Here in Australia we’d say “you have two choices, Buckley’s or none”.

The tale goes that the phrase comes from a livery stable owner Thomas Hobson who, to rotate his horses, would give customers a choice between taking the horse closest to the door or none at all. The Oxford English Dictionary has the phrase first used in 1680.

No, what we have here is a “Morton’s fork”, a choice between two unattractive options. We might say we are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. This phrase comes from the collecting of taxes by John Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury in the late 15th century, who held that a man living modestly must be saving money and could therefore afford taxes, whereas if he was living extravagantly then he was obviously rich and could still afford them.

So having settled the question of exactly what sort of dilemma it is that we face let’s return to the original question.

Would I rather write a blog but read none or read as many as I like but not write one?

That’s an easy question to answer most of the time. Over the past five or so years that I have blogged it has been an exceptionally on and off affair and to be honest more often off than on. All of that time I have been a voracious consumer of other people’s blogs.

Most of them I read in Google Reader so I see them as an RSS feed. Google Reader tells me that I subscribe to over a hundred blogs, though quite a number of those are either dead or post rarely but I certainly read posts from over fifty a week.

So most of the time I’d answer that I want to read rather than write.

The problem with that answer is the pleasure I get from writing. Do you think we could be slippery and somehow sneak some writing in there? I won’t write a blog but I will write long posts on Facebook or perhaps Google Plus. No, I think that is breaking the spirit of the question. At the moment I am enjoying writing my blog here on WordPress.com – the social aspects of a blog in this blog collection are particularly appealing.

I have such a voracious appetite for information though. In my job I also need to keep up with technology, a system administrator needs to keep on learning and knowing what new software is available or when existing software is upgraded. Blogs do that for me.

So I think the answer would be to give up writing a blog and just read. Oh no, do you think I’d be allowed to write some fiction? Could I write some technical articles for other people? How about extremely long comments on other people’s blogs? Surely I can write something?

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17 thoughts on “Hobson’s Choice

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Hobson’s Choice | writinglikeastoner

  2. Pingback: Apology | Tony's Texts

  3. Pingback: To write or not to write. | lifehomeandaway

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