Apart from being overextended on various fronts, I've been going through a little spell of uncertainty about what role blogging plays -- whether actually, potentially, or what have you -- in my work as a writer. Hence the slowdown here over the past two or three weeks.
When Quick Study launched a year ago, it was with an essay of sorts on the experience of finding myself both caught up in this medium and out of touch with the culture it is fostering.
Actually, rereading it now, that inaugural post still seems like a pretty good diagnosis of the confusion and ambivalence lately at hand. There may be very little to add to it. The situation it describes is not going to change -- or at least not for the better.
The experience of involvement/disconnection is probably structural. It is a matter of personality or sensibility, perhaps. But possibly there is also something more to it than that.
Once, people discussed the online world in terms that were more or less literally utopian -- the idea being that it was an emergent space in which power, hierarchy, etc. would be suspended. Of course it has been a while since anyone took that idea very seriously. Having read Bourdieu, I never really could -- so it wasn't surprising to find that the old distinctions reimposed themselves online, just as soon as everyone found their bearings. That's just the way the world works.
But beyond that, there is the way the medium itself works. I've been slow to understand that part.
For example, I've been writing the column for three years now and still have almost no sense of there being an audience for it. That there is one, I do comprehend. (They aren't paying me to write it out of sheer niceness.) But it doesn't seem to meet the needs of the digital culture. It doesn't "go viral."
At this point, I'm more or less resigned to such a state of affairs -- if only of necessity, because it's not as if complaining has done much good. The same baffled acceptance applies in a different way to blogging. It seems not to be a means (in my experiencing anyway) of constituting a "community," as another buzzword has it.
It's not that such things are impossible, of course -- just that I haven't figured out how to realize them, and probably won't. These are matters of having, or not having, knowing how to do things. A matter of habitus. (Which does not mean habit, but rather something like "a feel for how to play a game, apart from your knowledge of what the rules are.")
Which brings up the question of why anyone would continue to do something in the absence of any confidence of success.
No reason at all to continue, unless the doing itself is its own reward. Pretty obvious in some ways. But not always, it seems.
And so, exasperation or no, I'll resume here before long -- and probably on a somewhat different basis than has been the norm until now. Watch this space.
AJ BlogsAJBlogCentral | rss
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog