State of the thesis

December 21, 2007

Twenty books to go

There is no snow

NYC may distract me

So thesis let it be

Just let it be

Twenty books to go

So so so so so


Another Addendum to Part 2 of the conclusion

December 18, 2007

o   Lastly one needs to address the “Transaction Cost” on the writer. In the traditional model when one wants to publish a book, that requires a large financial commitment. What is meant by transaction cost is the commitment of the writer to have his work published.

§  An example of such would be to look at the world before the printing press, a writer had to decide whether his work was good enough for him to pay the cost of having it transcribed for sale. Now when looking at today’s blog world we see this cost, this sign of commitment, near zero. However we see the financial aspect near zero, perhaps today the commitment needs to come in a different form, perhaps the transaction cost is evident in the marketing campaign and blogging frequency of the writer. If you think your work is worth the publicity then you should be willing to go to great length to see that realized, but on the other hand a blogging commitment does not necessarily reflect a sacrifice in the same way as a financial commitment would.

·         Perhaps this is one of the reasons we have so many bloggers today, many more than writers.

Blogging as literature exactly

November 18, 2007

In working through this thesis I have stumbled upon something interesting, well many interesting things but for this post I have one in particular. I have realized through correcting typos of my own as well as managing incoming comments that in the end, despite all the social software advantages of blogs, they can be used to create exact digital replicas of books. Each post or rather each category can be used as chapters while the blog itself can be designed to simply maintain the internet publication of the book rather than physically publishing it.




Yes blogs have all these extra abilities but with most sites, those extra abilities are regulated through the blogger. Thus if one so chooses, a blog can be no different than a book and operate in exactly the same way.




This may seem simple and obvious to some but it does provide something important in the continued pursuit of mapping the blog; as a potentially different medium, it can be exactly the same.







When to say what?

November 13, 2007

The role of the comments, that is something that cannot easily be described. Furthermore I believe that the effects of this social relationship are still being understood and explored. By this I mean to say that the software involved with commenting has been co-opted by the need for privacy and safety. As we know oh so well, the internet is also a place for spamming, hacking, viruses, spyware, and a slew of other variants of annoying digital assaults. But of course with every new form of interaction comes a new form of harassment and we are still very much in the first stages of regulating that harassment. So what ever I say or suggest here can and probably will change drastically depending on how the regulations regarding commenting change.


But at its foundation the role of comments are for the readers to make the writer aware of the readership, but even further to join the discussion. This is most important for it comes from Adorno himself that the idea of an essay or rather any written piece should not be conclusive but rather it should represent a larger discussion, a larger interaction where ideas and opinions are exchanged. An essay in its “critical theory” form should exist just like a blog, something that does not end where it starts and further more poses more questions than answers. Even with the now traditional (weird to call something that only started ten years ago traditional) form of blogging, that of an online journal, we see a discussion evolve through the relationship between the blogger and the responses he/she receives. The responders become writers as well and the final product becomes the collaboration. The surrealists and in particular Andre Breton would be hard pressed to identify this with what they did because of one small yet significant detail, each contribution is based off the last or rather the interaction between the previous contributions, where as in surrealism each piece of the exquisite corpses where done independent and then combined. So this in it of itself should not simply be called an off shoot of an old movement, no, it is utterly different.


The biggest different and probably what makes it most unique one might argue is that there are no rules or regulations to this interaction. In its creation one could say whatever they wanted in response and the blogger could choose to incorporate it or not into what they then created, but regardless of how obvious the interaction is, it still is. And further more despite the fact that we have created regulatory software to diffuse negativity and harassment from being a part of our online artistic creations they still have an influence, perhaps in their rejection or maybe in there absences. We have to remember that modernism has shown us that art is as much about what isn’t there as it is about what is there.


There is much more to say but I must go to class.

Mapping the Blog

November 13, 2007

I believe that a blog is literature. As such I further believe that it does not fall under any preexisting genre, style, or form of literature. Thus what I mean to say is that a blog as it exists today represents the emergence of new literature. One that is self-referential, collaborative, autobiographical, fictional, political, critical, visual, and this could continue forever. But what is important is to focus on its creation.

(Historically my thesis right now lacks the factual elements of which blogs came first and what they were originally intended for, something I would love help with.)

In its original popularity a blog was an online diary, a journal of sorts one created and kept up to date in a public realm for others to not just read but to also comment on. This form of exchange existed previously in a very crude sense in journalism with columns, editorials, and letters to the editor. But nothing has existed to the instantaneous and collaborative extent that these online journals did. They have become a part of everyday activity and have thus incorporated everyday activity into their existence. It has been well documented and reported in regards to journalism. Blogs are changing the way we communicate political ideas. It has also had an effect on the literary community in its manipulation of the traditional book review in print. But these are not the facets of the blog’s existence that I want to look at. What interests me is that very core model, that online diary that may be political, may be literary, or just might be a conglomerate of events that may or may not have happened to the potentially anonymous writer.

What has been created here is a response to the overly celebritized world of pop literature. As Ana Vogrincic suggests in her essay “Literary Effects of Author-Stardom” the author has become the focus of societal interest and not the work this author creates. It’s that very commodity culture Benjamin warns us about when dealing with the death of the Aura, we are seeking an aura in the celebrity author. We cannot with blogs. But those who read blogs aren’t looking for it, and the writers aren’t trying to create it. These are not diaries, but they are not fiction either. They are public expressions with the theme of recording, autobiographically, the events of one’s life. It is written for the public and thus is aware of that in its creation, very different from the journal kept by the bedside to record the final thoughts of its master before that master dozes off into dream land. Even this very blog itself is aware that it is seeking to be read, but that is not all it is doing. After all as I write these thoughts I get a better understanding of how they interact and how to make my thesis more concrete. So it does have the effect of improving itself, it gets that from the classic diary, this is simply the reflections of one day’s work on this thesis.

Something else needs to be discussed as well. That of the response, for each post made there is the ability to comment. But before the comments are even posted there is the simple knowledge of an audience. Hosts can now tell us, as they have been able to do for some time now, how many hits our sites have received and thus how frequent our site is visited. This also influences that anonymous writer, who as another argument entirely can choose to stay anonymous or not, and if not they also have the choice of providing their true identity or a fake one, like Huysmans.

I will save a discussion of the comments for the next post.