Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Ah, the Post in Progress

I'll develop this later: Commonality of experience influences how we experience things. We read a newspaper columnist and, depending on the newspaper, we know more or less who else is reading herm or might be reading herm (a him/her coinage; neat! -- eds). But reading a blog is different, at least at first, because you don't know who's sharing the experience. The value has not been "vetted," as it were. A column has a stamp of approval on it. A blog does not, at least initially. But then the popular ones perform reader surveys, and, if you read several blogs, you see how many other bloggers link to your "discovered" blog. Also, the blog probably has a site meter (though I've learned you can start the meter at 1,000,000, if you like). Most telling, the number of comments and the quality of comments reveal the blog's audience in ways most newspaper columns' readers are not revealed. But there can be a radiant moment when you first stumble upon a blog -- as opposed to linking to it from a familar site -- when you feel:

like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He star'd at the Pacific - and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Two nice points: 1) it wasn't Cortez, but blogworld got more errors than Reagan had senior moments, so it plays; 2) some several non-Europeans had noticed the ocean already but plenty of people had read Homer first, too -- and since I write exclusively for English majors I don't need to explain why I'm suddenly talking about Homer.

Back on message: It is exciting when you encounter something that doesn't seem weighed and chopped, cooked and predigested by someone else. It's twice fresh. No one has prepared you for it. You round a digital corner, and there it is.

Oh, do not ask, "What is it?" Let us go and make our visit

Am I an English major or what?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Grist Alert: Big blog article in this weeks TIME.

Also: came across this today.

re: a brouhaha (a word I assumed was Irish in origin, but turns out to be French) on Joyce's "Ulysses" and some remarks made by Roddy Doyle.

By Colum McCann
Irish Times, Feb 12, 2004.

"Facts, as we know, are mercenary bastards. They are neatly packaged and gussied up and decorated and shipped off to wherever we want them to go. Facts make battles, if we want them to, which is sadly all too evident nowadays. They create their own contexts, especially when taken in isolation, or indeed out of their surroundings."

In its entirety:

Does a blog trade in facts? I believe so. But is it the job (expectation) that it also recontextualize the mercenary bastards?

Greg Pabst