A few years ago I edited an issue of the online journal Reconstruction (the issue in which my essay on the X-Men and Gnosticism appeared). This week they have an issue on the theories and practice of blogging. They asked a host of people to blog about blogging so that that the journal can link to each one, creating a kind of hypertext collection of thoughts on the subject. This is my entry.
I like comics and movies and TV and poetry and music. Because I have all kinds of advanced training in English literature, when I read a book or watch a movie, I notice stuff. My superhero book attempted to collect all the things I noticed about comics into a single book-length argument. But truth be told, the thesis of the book came very late; it was not until I was nearly done that I realized that the connecting thread could be the argument about how the new comics I wanted to talk about constituted the successor to the industry’s Golden and Silver ages. It is the little observations about each comic book, rather than the big argument, that I think is the real value of the study. And when I read books it is the moment to moment observations that stay with me, rather than the big argument or story.
Blogging allows each little observation worthy of a bigger argument to be published, and available, before the book they belong in has been written, or even imagined.
Everyone needs to have a large discussion about the future of the University and the internet. If primary texts can be available on the web, for free, and academic essays and even books can be available in the form of blogs, for free, and if lectures by any professor can be recorded with a cell phone and thrown up on youtube, for free, then a very large part of an Oxbridge or Ivy League education can be had for free, at home, right now, by anyone with a decent computer connection.
The consequences of this fact – for established professors, and for future students and teachers – have not been thought through. But every time an academic pushes the “publish” button on blogger (or what have you) we get a little bit closer to the answer, good or bad. I, for one, cannot stop pushing that button.