Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Two of my favorite academic-type blogs have shut down: Michael Bérubé's (again, perhaps this time for good?), and Dr. No's painfully funny and irreverent Acadamnit. I followed MB pretty religiously for a while, probably several years back, but altogether missed his first shut-down & subsequent resurrection. Dr. No – kudos to him for keeping his anonymity intact over 2 years, a couple generations in blog-time – I'd discovered only recently; I'll miss him voicing, with remarkable panache & profanity, grouses I feel almost every week in my own professional life.

Of course, the blog-form is dead. We all know that. As dead as the Atari and the 8-track tape. But while I've thought about shutting Culture Industry down on a number of occasions, I'm pretty dead-set on keeping this thing running.

I write on three occasions (aside from the once-in-a-while event announcement or simply check-in to show I'm still more ore less alive):

1) When I'm reading something & want to "notice" it. That was the idea behind "100 poem-books." I still read, & I still notice, tho I've been so busy I've been keeping my notices to myself & to my notebooks lately. I suspect I'll get back to doing more of that sooner or later.

2) When I've been actually thinking, & want to work thru something in prose. That doesn't happen very often, because I am an incredibly slow learner & actually have very few coherent ideas. And this past few months have been pretty short on thinking, in large part due to the new school the girls are in, whose schedule has just totally fracked my work routine.

3) When I'm trying to avoid actual writing. (Like right now, for instance.) But blog-writing isn't entirely not-writing: it's a way of semi-productively filling intellectual time. I think of Samuel Johnson on smoking:
Smoking has gone out. To be sure, it is a shocking thing, blowing smoke out of our mouths into other people's mouths, eyes, and noses, and having the same thing done to us. Yet I cannot account, why a thing which requires so little exertion, and yet preserves the mind from total vacuity, should have gone out. Every man has something by which he calms himself: beating with his feet, or so.
Of course, I smoke too, so I have a plethora of means of preserving my mind from total vacuity.

At any rate, I'm going to set the "Freedom" program for a few hours of "real" writing now; my newfound regimen of aesthetic asceticism (thus far, an outstanding success) hasn't yet extended to relinquishing my online connections without an external crutch. And I'll be back soon.


Vance Maverick said...

Bérubé still posts the occasional item at Crooked Timber and doubtless other joints.

Blogging is about as dead as the idea of "intermittently publishing some more or less organized stuff".

Michael Peverett said...

The problem is, we can't keep up, and don't update our mental blogroll with new stuff, we merely lament the growing list of once-great blogs that have somehow gone slow, lost their freshness, or been intemperately terminated.
Forget them and move on!
Here's a couple of recent casual discoveries re (mostly)UK poetry that I can't believe I never looked at before.