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Notes Towards Day 6: Grokking on the Internet

Anne Dalke's picture

Valpo Vida
  <-> Stranger in a Strange Land
spleenfiend's "permanent record" of our conversation

Overheard in the women's locker room @ Villanova, 2/3/10:
"Theoretically, geeks are smart. Actually they don't know how to have fun."
What's the difference between "theoretical" and the "actual"?
How to tell? How would you know?
(A relevant question, because today we are...)

Moving from the "theoretical" to the "actual"...
(w/ aseidman and spleenfiend as recorders; and
we need to talk about using screen names,
rather than real ones, when giving credit
for the sources of ideas...)

It's a new experience keeping a personal blog for me, so I hope it stays fun to read. For me it's also a good way to document my trip as it goes along--so if anything seems long/boring, just figure it's becuase I'm talking to myself. :)
Definitely next time I'll have lots to say!

...and after it was over:
Here’s a list of my favorite things about Chile, in no particular order, to end this blog. Thanks for reading!

Some reflections, from the semester before, in "Emerging Genres":

Hannah on genres in general (hah) and how they relate to thing Junot Díaz talked about was...fantasy/history/dicatorships all have the same structure in that they are controlled, self-contained worlds that have their own rules...I thought this was amazing. It's like genre is everywhere, because genre is the rules...Díaz said that there is something "sinister" about our desire for fantasy/fiction, because it is so closely related to our acceptance of other rules/realities..If anyone can formulate a genre, then anything can hapen within the "world" of that genre--from unicorns to genocide.

Hannah's definitions: There's a parallel between writing a blog and "writing" history as it happens...people can build up systems or structures of meaning that will allow for events to take place...that never would take place outside of it....The world "definition" is a good one for this conversation, since it means to set limits and make something "finite." The limits (of governments, blogs, what is a human, etc) are always shifting and changing....the genres never stop changing.

Hannah also wanted to a blog, then, an "ephemeral archive"? Seems like an oxymoron, but at the same time kind of fitting....Jorge Luis Borges...writes a lot about the disconnect between the writer and his/her writing, and between past and present selves...nothing he wrote could express who he really was....his thoughts were "redefining" him (in the way Calderon suggests above)constantly, so he could never read his own writing and totally identify with it. Maybe this sense of alienation from academic writing is only a more noticeable...form of this alienation from all writing...less of a bloggy question than a textual one in general....

Hannah: your own person is constantly changing, so putting anything into writing is problematic if you are trying to convey your "real" self...a constructed persona seves both to cover and hide our "real" selves, in that with every word we write online we are choosing to put forth some aspect of ourselves and to leave others "usaid," unrevealed.


And what does Stranger in a Strange Land: Grokking in the Americas
add to our knowledge and understanding of the genre of blogs?

"The teacher's failings in which the students ripen...
this error is the sign of love." (Lewis Hyde)

Thoughts and threads arising from both these texts
about the connections between writing a self, a blog, a community, a history:

1. genre determines the structure and rules;

2. the genre of the blog (can be) distinctive in its open,
participatory quality, both random and emergent;

3. the self who writes is also under construction,
changed by (the endistancing act of) its own writing;

4. perhaps this happens more quickly than in conventional writing,
because time speeds up on-line;

5. perhaps it happens more efficiently than in face-to-face conversation,
because there's time to think.

What do you think?
How might such a process actually intervene to change the self, the world--
and how its history is written?

Coursekeeping to end:
for Tuesday, please read Kate Thomas's Syllabub: Words on Food
(she will not, alas, be joining us; however...)
Thursday we'll read the blog of (and be visited by)
Swat History prof Tim Burke

spleenfiend's "permanent record" of our conversation