Sunday, March 25, 2007


I mentioned the author Dennis Cooper yesterday and it reminded me of the "loss" of his blog (Cooper now devotes almost all of his time to his blog and the community sans community which has built up around it in the past few years) last November. Here's the story from his official website:



'On last Friday afternoon Paris time my blog was hacked. People trying to access the blog are currently being hijacked to a sex/spyware site. I don't know how serious the damage is because my account at blogger doesn't seem to exist at the moment. As of this writing, has not responded to my requests for a diagnosis and report. I'm hoping against hope that the blog is intact and I'll be able to continue as soon as possible. Chances are that the blog has been destroyed. As soon as I know what the situation is, my blog will return. I don't know whether it will be located at the old address or at a new one, or whether it will have its history or not. Until this is sorted out, one of my blog's community has set up a temporary meeting place at the address below. I'll be posting updates and news there. As I stupidly never backed up my blog, this situation is potentially devastating to me, but I will continue as best I can. Thanks for your patience and support.'

-- Dennis Cooper

A week after his blog was hacked Cooper moved to and at the new address you can find a cached history of his blog from June 2005 to November 2006. But it got me thinking (I was re-reading Derrida's Archive Fever yesterday) about blogs and electronic mourning. Has anyone got any thoughts about archivization, blogs and the work of mourning a corpus of work (after all this *is* a body of work, like Michael Berube's now much-mourned blogue)?


Jeffrey Cohen said...

Has anyone got any thoughts about archivization, blogs and the work of mourning a corpus of work?

Off the top of my head, nothing comes to mind ... though I do know some work has been done on mourning and memorialization as online phenomena. As far as I know, though, all such work addresses the person, not the archive that person has bequeathed.

On a related note, a few people each week find this blog because of our In Memoriam post for Nicholas Howe. This beautiful piece of writing was composed by eloquent guest blogger Mary Kate Hurley, and discusses her experience of knowing him through his texts. Follow the link and you'll see that others have left their tributes over the months. Interestingly, I eventually posted a small follow-up that included a link to the Leukemia Research Foundation, and later received an email from a staff member there thanking me for the donations made through it in Professor Howe's memory.

I sometimes wonder what would happen to ITM if we were hacked. Most of our posts would fade into Google ghosts, existing in a memory cache but not otherwise alive. It's not as if some back-up archive exists!

Michael O'Rourke said...

I should have remembered that Craig Saper over at Rhizomes has talked about mourning and blogademia:

"In response to the Times obituary, thousands of people added their names to a memorial blog site in honor of Jacques Derrida. The eloquent letters there defend Derrida and academia in general, celebrate the importance of memorialization, and allow for a context for mourning. Perhaps mourning represents a new tier of an emerging political landscape.

The site’s design includes the look of an opened book with the top segment cut off by the browser’s frame, and the print appearing at the bottom of the two page spread includes the title Remembering Jacques Derrida and a quote that continues to fade and disappear (almost as if when one looks directly at it, it begins fading):

Is the most distressing, even the most deadly infidelity, that of a possible mourning which would interiorize within us the image, idol, or ideal of the other who is dead and lives only in us

Or is it that of the impossible mourning which .... refuses to take the other within oneself, as in the tomb of some narcissism?

Jacques Derrida, Memories for Paul de Man"

That's from "The Blog Report: Crisis and Transition" (

He talks about mourning again in the following issue's "Technologies of Forgetting" ( and is, I know, working on electronic mourning more generally (especially thinking about

Earlier this year Craig and I talked about mourning in porn too or what we called po(u)rning. But, I can't think of anyone (yet) who has engaged archivization, mourning and the blogosphere.