Tuesday, September 26, 2006

freedom of blog

Here's what I've been mulling over:

Hemmer, A. (2006, Sept. 15). When free speech costs a career. Yale Herald XLII, 2, online.
http://www.yaleherald.com/article.php?/Article=4796. Accessed 9-06.

He makes a number of good points, including the fact that a blog can make an academic very prominent, especially if one does any kind of self-promotion; that this prominence is a double-edged sword; that blogs put the natural secrecy and closed-door nature of academia up against the wall; that academics should participate in a participatory democracy; that universities and colleagues can get very nervous when they actually do; that a number of academics have paid dearly for their extreme views; and, that this sense of wariness toward the self-publishing tendencies of the posers among us has been increasing.

On reflecting on this article, I have come to realize that I'm probably lucky that so few southern Illinoisans are even reading this. They might get mad that I know mostly about teaching, but freely expound on a variety of subjects including soccer, the war, and obscure languages, of which I am far less qualified to talk about. Or that I get my authority from Southern Illinois University, a great place which is definitely worth fighting over, yet I freely criticize it, sometimes in public, or with a biting sense of sarcasm barely hidden between the lines.

Ah, but I don't advertise. I don't even put blinking lights or scrolling photos on it, though I probably could. I don't register at the local blog-raters, or comment in the prominent places. I posture a little; ok, I expound; I pound my own drum. But I try to behave. After all, my university puts the food on my table. To bury one's head in the sand; let the tides of change wash over, unnoticed and uncommented on, to wait until the tides are high enough to reach even the furthest tidepools- would that be the best way to thank it?

It's a quick world. If you think blogging is dicey, wait until chat-publishing becomes the norm, and the gps in your cellphone makes your every move traceable, publishable, public information. Not that I even stray far from the residential streets of the west side. I'm just saying, privacy has already become more or less an abstraction- no sense dwelling on it, but it's a totally new world- and you're either in it, or you're running away from it. I'm not running any more. If you want to read about that, go here, scroll down the template, and read travel stories.


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