Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Blogging Cheers and Fears

Joseph Kugelmass has posted his reflections on the best and worst of intellectual blogs from this past year over at The Valve and The Kugelmass Episodes. Rough Theory gets a nod for its revamped appearance and for the recent illustrated reflections on Hegel’s Phenomenology. Since those reflections pertained to Hegel’s argument that essence arises from appearance, I’ll conclude that this is a recognition of the high quaility of the content, in the guise of recognising the form… ;-P

Among the blogs Joe recognises on the positive side of the spectrum, he draws special attention to a number of newer blogs, including Alexei’s Now-Times, Wildly Parenthetical, and the folks over at Perverse Egalitarianism.

On the more negative side, Joe worries about a certain ebbing of more intense debate as the year has gone on, and is critical of what he sees as a growing concern to mobilise blogging for career purposes, of parodies in search of a punch line, and of posts with many sequels (not sure I’ve seen any of those), which Joe regards as an abjuration of the ideal that “each piece must be its own revolution”.

Joe’s wish for the coming year:

Tiny Tim on Bob's shouldersSo, what’s ahead for 2008? I can’t predict trends, but I can say what I hope for, and that’s a renaissance of words in their essential loneliness. Intellectual blogging is a medium that thrives because it captures the quietude of those moments when we seal ourselves off from our surroundings in order to consider the printed words of another person. The tremulousness of the word, the expectation of an answer, the abjection and shamelessness of writing for self-publication: in order to be honest, a blogger has to be vulnerable, more so even than the author of a book. What she is writing apparently had to be blogged to be written at all. Given the voluntarism of the blogosphere, polish is merely comic; risk is the only thing worth admiring. The risk of saying too much, the risk of being unread, the risk of being misread—intellectual blogging must change from an indifferent exercise of dignified exposition into the willing practice of risk.

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