Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Something Else

I had meant to post on Quick Study back in September, when a good piece appeared called Desiring Machine. Where did the autumn go? Related to this recent post at ITM, here is a short quote from Quick Study on blogs versus other publishing fora. Scott McLemee observes during the course of his letter to a harsh critic:
A blog is something else. I am not paid to blog. A blog is someplace to let off steam, or jot down a stray thought, or make a recommendation or indulge in a remark or rant. Should a topic interest me enough to write about it in an essay for a magazine or newspaper, then doing so is certainly an option. It involves more time and attention than these blog posts do. But even that is not the decisive distinction. The main thing about the blog is that it's a casual format, and utterly subject to my discretion, not to say whim.
A blog is indeed something else, and that else is what attracted me to the form. I suspect that I've begun to lose sight of else during the two years ITM has breathed air. My new year's blog resolution is to embrace blogdom's casual format better, to embrace the else, and therefore to experiment more with ITM.

And, since we're talking New Year, my colleague Margaret Soltan offers a New Year's Eve rumination over at University Diaries. She takes as her point of departure some lines from Philip Larkin's "Aubade" and offers:
Life is about fighting your way clear to an independent identity and to as much purity of soul as you can sustain under the weight of wrong beginnings and shitty middles.
May In the Middle never become "Shitty Middles." All hail the purity of soul that beckons from the else.

9 comments:

Karl Steel said...

As for me, I'm all about following that beacon to shitty--or let's say impure--middles.

Let's see what 2008 brings us.

J J Cohen said...

A browse of some keywords in my scholarship: "midcolonial," "In the Middle," "medial spaces," "difficult middles" ... it seems is fairly clear that purity of soul is not all that likely to come my way, either.

Speaking of shitty middles, or at least shit in the middle ages, there is this book coming soon.

Karl Steel said...

I should have said, "as for us." One more resolution for 2008: to be less bombastic and less precious and less correcting people all the time.

Oh good! On the poop book. I read David Inglis's A Sociological History of Excretory Experience: Defecatory Manners and Toiletry Technologies. (Edwin Mellon P, 2000) during my diss and wished I had something better. Looks as though I'll get my wish.

Mary Kate Hurley said...

Firstly, on the book: does this mean I might finally understand the humour of Late Medieval and Early Modern drama?

Secondly, on resolutions:
My new year's blog resolution is to embrace blogdom's casual format better, to embrace the else, and therefore to experiment more with ITM.

JJC, you've inspired me (as all my co-bloggers regularly do). My blog-resolution this year is to take more risks in what I blog about -- to push myself to the limits of my understanding in what I think about in writing and to not be so self-conscious of "thinking aloud" in the blog world, particularly as I start this whole dissertation thing.

Anonymous said...

well - as you will have noticed - i never have got the hang of formal or well-considered web posts - so this all sounds good. But Karl - correcting people when you think they are wrong is ok - isn't that the stuff of academic debate? (See - how could this work if we could never disagree?)

One thing I have never mastered is webspeak. I treat the web as conversational rather than literary, but miss the inflection and rapidity of the spoken word. Guess that is why they invented the smiley - :D

srj - in ill-considered haste

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Sounds lovely to me. And, well, can I poach some of this for my Kazoo paper? Seriously, I'd like to use MKH's class analogy, and use ITM as an example of one of the many really high-level ways where blogging may not be specifically scholarly, but is (or can be) an absolutely professional activity. My own blog resolution is to keep up better. And write more.

J J Cohen said...

ADM: Poach away, please! Nothing would honor us more.

SRJ: tone defeats me every time via the internet. Emoticons don't help because they haven't invented a satisfying one for "said dryly but with possible wit." Maybe I'll cut and paste tiny Steven Wright heads next to certain lines.

Karl Steel said...

But Karl - correcting people when you think they are wrong is ok - isn't that the stuff of academic debate?

Yes, but I don't want to wait to pounce on words that don't deserve it. Obviously, JJC, author of On Difficult Middles, isn't going for pure middles, but the little corrector, my Donatus, wanted to put his oar in. Enough of that for 2008!

J J Cohen said...

Karl: you are too hard on yourself, my friend. How about as a resolution "ease up in 08"?