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William James in his Psychology:

why, some day, walking in the street with our attention miles away from that quest, does the answer saunter into our mind as carelessly as if it had never been called for – suggested, possibly, by the flowers on the bonnet of the lady in front of us, or possibly by nothing that we can discover

Of course, we’ve known all this for awhile. The poets and fictionists did, and the “theorists” of the period in question. Benjamin, of course, is famous for it, and that’s why he’s one of the patron saints of blogism.

It has to be a generational issue, to some extent, the fact that we don’t take what we make on here all that seriously. That we haven’t framed a “movement” out of it, complete with marketing phrases and manifestos and the like, that we are so embarrassed when we navel-gaze a bit about what we’re doing that we immediately ward it off with a joke.

But it might have value. It at least, as dictated by the mandates of its form, sidesteps several of the worst problems faced by conventional work in the discipline or movement or school. There are ways, when you squint a bit, that it seems like the logical next step, the materialization of aims and desires and strategies employed or prospective, that have been percolating for a hundred years, a hundred and fifty years.

But we’re too embarrassed to think that way about it. And plus, we most of us negotiate with impulses that nudge or push in other directions. (Good time to link to this…..) But it’d be worth thinking about it. (God, see – the temptation, the reflex, is to write a 25 pp paper and send it to fucking Critical Inquiry. That right there is the problem…. What am I asking myself to do that I’m not doing already, right here and in this post?)

Written by adswithoutproducts

July 15, 2008 at 10:20 am

Posted in blogs, distraction

2 Responses

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  1. I agree with you. The provisos and warnings of navel-gazing were primarily to those who read but don’t write blogs – I’d been chastised before by some who’d said ‘but I don’t want to read about blogs as such, I just want to read them!’. The proto-blog is one of my favourite categories, though: everything from Theweleit to Benjamin to Blast. You can see it everywhere if, as you say, when you squint a bit.

    Infinite Thought

    July 15, 2008 at 8:31 pm

  2. We should go with the protoblog as a early post / series on the as yet unnamed superblogoftheleft.


    July 15, 2008 at 11:16 pm

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