Re: [-empyre-] bloggers [can] shrink systemic scarring

On Jun 18, 2005, at 4:43 AM, _s.v.m_ wrote:

At 03:54 AM 18/06/2005, HW wrote lots of stuff, some of which i intend 2 respond 2, most of which i want to examine in terms of discourse variation + as an eg of how the potential of blogging can offer potential alternatives 2 argumentative/proof-based [mono]logging:

I see your point re: how we differ in approach. I also agree that blogging *can* offer alternatives to more traditional methods of argument. Unfortunately, from what I have been able to gather, that isn't usually or even often the case. It seems to me that political blogging has basically amplified the echo-chamber, while developing an extra channel for information to surface. There is nothing inherent to blogging that makes it a more progressive medium, as even a casual observation of some of the creepier neocon blogs would more than amply demonstrate.

At the same time, there is nothing inherently evil about them, either - blogs can be used to good ends. It's a tool.

this is the 1st instance of wot i perceive as a type of basic HW/mez_method of discourse_ variation. ie 4rm the get-go of ur reply, HM, it seems [+ i may be way off base here] as if u r intent on parsing my post as if it is intended argument + as such it follows a reasoned, logical [read: socratic/scientific/deductive-based reasoning/method based] structure. i didn't intend my post to b interpreted as such, which alone doesn't guarantee that can't b, obviously. what i am basing my indicators-that-my-posting-indeed-may-not-intentionally-argumentative- as-such r various language markers/signifiers that demarcate variations in the henry/mez streams of discourse:

socratic/scientific methodologies have their uses, however - I am also open to discursive and elliptical methods of discussion. I actually read and appreciate poetry, summer days, kittens, and everything!


I just have a preference for simple clear statements in my writing style. This has to do with the fact that I often feel like I have a swarm of angry bees living in my head, each with several ideas of its own, and they are all trying to find some point of expression. They are kept in check by a smelly horde of tweaked out bats that hovers over my left shoulder that has its own set of agendas and demands. None of this is actually true, but it's as close as I can come to express my own mental and communicational shortcomings. What's worse, and this IS true: I often get extremely complicated ideas presented to me in full directly in my mind, and they largely exceed my capacity for description. this is especially true for music - sometimes I'll hear the entire thing in my head, and there is No Way I can play it well enough or otherwise "make it happen". It's enormously frustrating. Sometimes I'll get entire visions of imaging series, and I'll spend days just getting the sketches done to act as place holders for a huge range of work. Then I file it and chip away at it for years...

But in terms of writing, just to keep from going completely freeeeking bonkers, or collapsing into a twitching mass of pathetic inarticulation, I really focus as closely as I can on making simple clear statements and sentences in common low context English. Even if I come off as a bit hexahedral, it's all I can do. Some people think it's great - I can often look at complex objects and often discuss them in fairly simple terms - which is handy in terms of academics (and would be handier if I was actually teaching somewhere -but that's another discussion entirely). I consider it all a bit of a curse because I have ZERO facility with poetry, which really depresses me. I'd rather be able to come up with the rich, resonant, and sweeping apt phrase, but I truly suck at that. Oh well. I can make pretty good titles...

-my discourse structure potentially could b perceived as being riddled with sound_bite-ish [though i tend 2 view it as succinct] philosophical/scientific blather, + unsubstantiated conjecture [according 2 established rational mechanisms of validation/proof]. i prefer 2 labour under the delusion that it also displays ephemeral thinking/questioning, unfolding conceptual allure thru suggestion rather than instruction, abstract engagement + open inflection [lots of "can"/"may"/'"seems"].

Exactly - the differences are more of style. Where we differ, I believe, is how we link style to content and how we choose to judge content by the style of its presentation.

-ur [HW's] position seem 2 immerge quite strongly from a different orientation - preferring logical structures, deduction based on reasoning, examination of discourse elements through the use of introspection/personal experience + statistics, + conclusive/instructive & potentially didactic statements 2 prove ur overarching position?

If I can, I do. I rarely have all the evidence at hand, so I usually make conjectures based on some suppositions, research, and observations.

i suspect my dislike of reasoning didactically may stem from a nagging suspicion that it could actually emulate + ultimately allow for [in a substantially incremental sense] the perpetuation of, as HM puts it, the "rapacious global industrialism which developed in concert with and as a method of survival for, the rapid expansion of human population in the 20th century".

Well, quite honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about didactic reasoning perpetuating the present and ongoing train wreck of world civilisation, such as it is. From my research, the problems we're facing as a species are so immense that I humbly suggest that knowing how to grow one's own food will be of greater value in 150 years than knowing how to edit digital images or write computer code of any variety...

ie, i view the way in which this type of discourse is constructed [via reasoned proof] as aping the very mechanisms that, in my view, act to maintain/perpetuate global levels of exclusion, hierarchy, discrimination + domination.

I tend to think hierarchy is completely unavoidable. We are social primates and hierarchy is an inherent part of that - from the simplest pecking order in an orangutan tribe to a murderous chimp war party - it's an inherent part of what it is to be human, a kind of primate. That said:

*the rest of it can go.* Tomorrow isn't soon enough.

I read an interesting book on this very subject last week.

Somebodies and Nobodies : Overcoming the Abuse of Rank by Robert W. Fuller

Basically, he sees "Rankism" as the paramount problem - hierarchy in human relations is inevitable, but the heirarchy is abused, and people treat members at different strata in the hierarchy with less dignity, and the results are obvious. Racism, Sexism, Classism, etc. all follow on as subsets of Rankism.

I'm still digesting his ideas, so I have no conclusions, except to say that I *tend* to agree with him. Parts of me (the BATS) don't, but the Bees dig it... I'm waiting for a consensus...

which brings me 2 my 2nd [equally rambling] point:
2. the position that blogging cannot reflect or assist in establishing cultural or societal change/variance seems [2 me] an illustration of hierarchy based on this reasoning dependency quagmire....

Actually, I don't see quite the same dilemma - I see blogging as a system of communication like any other, and the form of the communication is of secondary interest to me. To me, the CONTENT of what is being said matters more.

by posturing that action is the only realistic avenue of change ["concrete activities by people"], this seems 2 then deny or invalidate any other type of resistance, questioning, or practice that may not be as overt or discernable in nature.

Invalidate isn't what I would say - I just don't see blogs as a formal communication object *inherently* liberatory. They can be used to facilitate concrete activities by people, but they can also be used to delay, disperse, or diffuse such activities as well. There's writing about change, and then there's inventing the change itself. Lame analogy: there's Rousseau's Social Contract, and then there's person (x) who was murdered sleeping in a striker's tent by the Colorado National Guard because they only wanted to work 5 days a week. The book didn't get us the 40 hour work week. the slaughter in Colorado (among other sad and violent actions) did.

Such actions can be organised or propagated by blogs, but the resistance to progressive political action can also be organised and propagated on blogs.

I guess I just see it as inherently complex operation, the problem is, the stakes at risk in contemporary society are higher by several orders of magnitude. So I wouldn't *deny* the use of blogs, I just don't see anything essential or inherent to blogs (or the internet itself) that is essentially more fostering of democracy or reduced resource consumption, or anything else like that.

i'd much prefer 2 absorb the twittering cutsie output of a blogger who devotes their time 2 documenting their luv of kittens than cringe at ppl convinced that they cannot make a discernable difference unless they perform "concrete activities"...

Well, I don't know about the kittens... but I agree with your second case completely. Driving a Toyota Prius and not turning on all the lights when you get home isn't going to prevent the Olduvai Theory's Cruel Conclusion,

but it might help stave it off just long enough that some other aspects of human ingenuity and adaptation can come into play so we aren't reduced to breaking rock 'til Kingdom come.

Hence, you don't have to join an eco-terrorist organisation and torch SUVs to do good.
Hence, people needn't feel convinced that they cannot make a discernable difference unless they perform "concrete activities"...

Some differences may or may not be more "discernable" than others, but I don't think that what will be determined in the time it happens. One should never feel inhibited from doing the right thing. (How that's defined is another discussion altogether)

Thanks so much for your post - I really appreciate your conversation.

Next, I'll get to Shannon's post...

my very best wishes to all,


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