Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Item: Blogging.

Plato thought about his style; today the style of a scientific paper is decided by editors. — Paul Feyerabend

Having never really learned to type, I am prone to typos. I sometimes use a voice recognition program but that sometimes messes more things up. My eyesight isn't the best, and I like to save it for musical work, so when I attempt to edit my own text, the results can be inconsistent. Moreover, I have been known to be over-hasty in pushing the publish now button, and with an admixture of hindsight and regret I have often found myself revising or even retracting a published blog item. (N.B. if you subscribe here via a feed, please visit the actual site for the final text may seriously vary from the immature version that got fed first.)

On the basis of this poor discipline, I really ought to want an editor, but the truth is, I would never get along with an editor and have actually come 'round to recognizing some advantages in my approach. While suggestions are welcome and models are treasured, I actively dislike prescriptive grammar and style guides and I have the hope (against all hope though it may be) that the form of the blog item has not yet petrified like that of the schoolboy essay or a mainstream journalism article and is still located in a field of activity which is open to formal experiment and discovery. I like the fact that the online text is inherently unstable; it can always be revised. If I had wanted to write a formal academic essay or publish newspaper criticism then I would have done that, but the blog entry, or item (Lou Harrison's Music Primer is structured as a series of Items, imitating a style used by old Californian Cantonese newspapers in which the reader, not the editor, is free to assign a hierarchy of importance to the items gathered on the page), with its origins in the entries found in private diaries, journals, logs, and the margins of musical manuscripts, seems to be the right accompaniment to a life centered on composition in another medium.

The blog item can be as personal or private, as objective or subjective, as organized or as untidy as one likes. A blog item can be a sketch or an observation, it can be be the product of a flash of insight, a fleeting half-thought, or the hard ponderings of a good long while. A blog item can begin with or arrive at a startling thesis, yet it has none of the responsibilities of an essay to defend or defeat that thesis. A blog item can be a node in a network of links or of an extended conversation or controversy or it can be solitary, a cul de sac. A blog item can be prosaic or poetic, can be accompanied or replaced by visual or audio information. A blog item can be practical, political, confessional, or heretical. A blog item can be academic or — in the best sense of the word — amateur and, either way, can be foolish or wise. A blog item can be read and treasured or read and forgotten, or j u s t f a d e o f f t h e p a

1 comment:

sfmike said...

a w e s o m e