Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I haven't dropped off the face of the earth, tho I haven't been in this space for a while. Much has been going on, some of it not so good – bad, heart-rending even – and some of it just plain busyness. Some work has gotten done, & other things have been left undone.

I sense Culture Industry may be at a crossroads. That is, my always-divided attention may finally have stretched to the breaking point, so that something has to give. Or this may just be another hiatus. No, I'm not migrating full-time to Twitter. After a bit of dabbling in that medium, I realize that I'm simply not all that interested in coming up with 140-character pithinesses. Even the sometimes joyous give-&-take of Facebook has seemed kind of spastic lately, a poor substitute for sitting down and talking to someone face to (non-virtual) face, or for thinking one's way thru a problem on paper or screen.

And Ba'al help me, I've become official. That is, after 15 years of avoiding administrative posts like the plague, I've accepted a position of responsibility in my department, one of those jobs that looks nice on the resume & gives one an illusory sense of power & dumps a dozen new emails in one's lap every morning. Is it kosher for the Director of Graduate Studies in the English Department of Our Fair University to maintain a blog that badmouths eminences in the academy & the government? That muses awkwardly on literary & cultural issues? Heaven knows I've been embarrassed enough times by grad students quoting or paraphrasing something I'd offhandedly tossed off in this space, & a couple of times I've intemperately given away the talking points for an entire seminar half a week beforehand.

Even the conversation on the blogosphere, as lively as it remains, has for the moment lost its luster. Perhaps it's time to hunker down, sift thru the papers that need sifting thru, & issue an occasional communique. So consider this a brief wave from the bunker.
Update 3/30: Reading this, what looks like Ron Silliman's farewell the blogging platform, actually nudges me in the direction of wanting to write more in this space.


Sisyphus said...

Oh, don't leave us permanently! We'd miss you.

Vance Maverick said...

I'd miss you too, but the decision is yours. I was in a group blog for a while, which gradually ran down until we formally closed it. It was a good decision, even though I'm sure each of us will be going on to write more in other fora. And in particular, the decision to close doesn't seem to me, in retrospect, to invalidate any of what we wrote -- I'm pleased with what I did, and content to do no more for now.

Anonymous said...

good move. might as well protect your retirement
cache... just 5 more years and you've got your magic 20!
maybe even go for 30 and a bigger checque...

Archambeau said...

Well, my mindless adherence to the principle of autonomy leads me to contradictory opinions on this. On the one hand, I want to say "do whatever you want." On the other hand, I want to say "don't let some administrative albatross you've hung around your neck prevent you from saying what you want to say."

As for giving away the lecture notes -- I'm always doing that. But mostly the students really don't care about our blogs. And those that do read them -- hey, great, cool. Someone comes in already knowing stuff. That's good, right?

My guess is this will all start to look different about 15 minutes after the semester ends. I mean, the end of the spring semester has everybody feeling like Seamus Heaney backed over them in his potato truck.


Curtis Faville said...

Blogging has many drawbacks, but Twitter and Facebook aren't even in the running for intelligent communication. Stick with blogging, or "live a life" as they say.

Michael Peverett said...

What CF said.

Tho there might be an incompatibility between the too-enjoyable habit of instant publication and really getting down to some major artistic enterprise. Ron's trying to give his decision a modern spin, but I'm kind of thinking this is quite an old-fashioned idea of what poets do. Not necessarily wrong though. Lots of writers see a necessity of banning themselves from the airwaves. You can understand that RS has got sick of not concentrating on Universe. He never tried to combine his blog with his art - that could have been an alternative. He did demonstrate the popularity of a blog with focus (search-engine-friendly content-richness). But I also think focus is what kills a blog, eventually. The blogs that stay freshest longest are flexible enough to change when their authors do. The inspiration for Ron's blog was his nephew Dan's - and that's as fresh as it ever was, doesn't have any agenda and keeps moving.