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Archive for October 2006

not blegging for compliments, really…

with 5 comments

So, yes, we’re at a bit of a crossroads with this site, clearly. I’m not really updating it anymore. Dylan youtubes don’t count.

In short, I’m trying to decide what to do. The three (or, perhaps four) options.

1) Keep going with this site, redoubling my efforts. Update like I used to, back in the day.

1a) Keep going with this site, but just like I am now – trying not to worry about the frequency of my posting. Pretend / believe that this is just a dry spell, and that I’ll become vigorous and prolific in bloggery again soon, or at least at some point.

2) Start a new and fully-anonymous site. (Enough folks know who I really am, that this is only semi-anonymous…)

3) Quit the game altogether, as my time might be much more profitably spent on, say, reading real books and writing real books and articles and suchlike.

Decisions, decisions. I think I’m going to start a fully-anonymous site – obviously, you won’t hear about it here – and see how that feels for a bit, while keeping this one in a limp. Full-anonymity is tough work though – when you live in a place like the place where I live, the ip addy is enough of a giveaway that even visits to and comments at other sites could spoil the secret.

Obviously, the big question is why am I so worried about anonymity? The job, the career, of course has a lot to do with it. But more than a fear of discovery, and the possible ramifications of it, I know that the more people there are who know who I am, the less (and less adventurously) do I write.

In my other job, the real one, you see, I’m a terrible perfectionist. Hours hovering over the sentence – headachy bouts of real-time self-editing, that sort of thing. The blog releases me from that. The style (?) of my writing here is developed over, well, as close to a lifetime as someone my age could have spent in the on-line world – mostly anonymous, always on the same topics. I started when I was, what, 15 or 16, with bulletin boards on Prodigy (!) – which is, almost exactly, half my lifespan.

(I hadn’t ever done the math before. That’s rather stunning. I’ve been messing around on here for half my life… I doesn’t seem like half my life. But there’s aging for you… Accelerates, apparently, the passage of time. Viciously.)

In short, the public persona meets pseudo’d bb nut at the crossroads. (Not “public persona” as in famous, jesus, no. Just the part of me that publishes or tries to, holds a job, teaches classes…) The former bristles at the sloppiness of the latter, he willingness to hold forth on topics that aren’t his, his willingness to engage in questionable arguments sure to yield nothing good… In particular, the former carries around with him a phobia about materials being read in less than optimal state – materials that fall somewhere short of the explosively intelligent…

On the other hand, well, there are the friendships I’ve formed on here, the very obvious pleasure that I take in interacting with everyone and being interacted with. Along the lines of what Scott is talking about here, I guess. I may go to the MLA panel that he’s talking about. I think that I’m not alone in being almost stupidly excited by the idea of it…

I probably keep in better touch with people that I’ve met on here than most (not all but most) of my good, good friends from grad school, who have scattered, just as I have… Blogging provides a degree of social stability amid the flux of early-career academic itinerancy, when all those people who you saw on a daily basis for five or six years, lived just above you or around the corner from you, dissolve into postdocs and assistant professorships, leave the field under their own power or on a stretcher, stay behind for “one more year” back at “the department” and so forth…

It’s so complicated… Humpfff…

Anyway, I’ll work it out. There may or may not be a new, nearly empty, anonymous blog out there in the left-cultural-academic b’sphere. We’ll see which – or whether either – wins…

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October 31, 2006 at 12:11 am

Posted in blogs, meta

pawking metaws

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Written by adswithoutproducts

October 27, 2006 at 1:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized

(reading proust)

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Forgive me, Jane Dark, but I am going to repost your entire post from tonight, all of it, even the picture, and then add a couple of comments.

From the annals of Anglophilia, this fantasia from the estimable Enid Starkie. Gathering momentum as it goes, it consigns Baudelaire’s talent to the paternalistic mercies so redolent of Empire, with an easy confidence that, had he only been heir to such management strategies, he could really have had a chance to straighten up and fly right, never doubting the desirability of this imagined outcome, a kind of starched quasi-achievement which is invested with more and more libidinal force with each clause before collapsing back down to the fleshpots of Paris.

In England Baudelaire, at this stage of his life, would have gone to either Oxford or Cambridge, as an undergraduate, where, under proctorial and tutorial supervision, he would have done himself no permanent harm. He would probably have made a name for himself in undergraduate circles, in artistic and literary clubs, and this might have satisfied his need for eccentric self-expression. In this simple and adolescent manner he would have grown out of his ‘green-sickness’, and, under tutorial pressure, might even have learned to work at set hours, in order to pass his examinations. It is, however, probable that he would have been a serious student, for, with his facility and felicity in Greek and Latin, he might have been a Balliol Scholar, and have read with distinction for Honour Moderations, while his taste for metaphysical and philosophical argument might have led him finally to Greats. But, in whatever manner he chose to spend his time, he would have been kept under kindly supervision during these critical years. Unfortunately the university system in France does not fulfil the same function as it does in England, and the life into which artistic and literary young men and plunged, on leaving school, is the Bohemian life of the Latin Quarter, the life of cafés, literary circles and student balls.

Baudelaire, Enid Starkie

1) OK. When I clicked into the post in my rss reader, upon seeing nothing more than the portrait of Baudelaire by Courbet, it took only a second or two for me to realize, for the realization to surface, that I recognized the face. Not as Baudelaire’s, but as my own. The likeness really is uncanny – that’s me, my head photoshopped onto the fuzzy period wear. Me at 21, 22, 23. Not that long ago. The high brow, my hair wasn’t often cut that short but sometimes, yes. The beardlessness, no stubble even. Yep. I smoke cigarettes, not a pipe, and never (anymore) inside… If you read this blog and you know me in person, feel free to chime in. Am I crazy? That’s me, there, isn’t it? My nose has perhaps a bit more hook, and is slightly less bulbous at the tip. But the eyes – yes, just so. The mouth – exactly.

2) Unfortunately, damningly, however spitting the first image, the one in prose, Starkie’s rendition of the poete maudit domesticated fostered by, well, the tremendous support system that is the well-run anglo university, the portrait of the english Baudelaire puts the Courbet to shame in (pre)figuring yours truly.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

October 2, 2006 at 10:34 pm