Thursday, December 18, 2003

blogs are shops, while the list is the public square.

Oh, come now. I don't pretend to understand what's going on with the current Ron Silliman/Leslie Scalapino fight that's going on over at ye olde Poetics list, but I get a bit frustrated when a disagreement with a blog posting that pops up on the list inevitably turns into an attack on blogging itself. Why? If Silliman had published his take on Scalapino in a magazine--where there's certainly far less opportunity for immediate response and dialogue than in blogland--would his critics attack the printing press?

Robert Corbett's equation of blogs with "shops" (where, presumably, merchandise is carefully controlled and displayed and everyone is smiling) and the Poetics list with the "public square" hardly seems fair. The former image--blog as shop--is a strange extension of someting I also see on the list from time to time: "I don't have a blog; therefore [stated with apparent resentment] I am excluded from the discourse that is going on there."

But a blog doesn't have any overhead (Tympan: coming to you free since March 2003), nor does it (as I can attest) require any serious technical savvy. And it certainly doesn't require any more time to maintain a blog than it does to keep up with and post to the Poetics list (which I've always found exhausting, even in digest form).

In fact, I've found blogging (as I've said before) to be a much more open and welcoming forum than the Poetics list, which I've never felt comfortable posting to; if the Poetics list is a public square, it's one where the loudest speakers are constantly yelling at each other and intimidating anyone else who might want to speak in more measured tones. I wonder if those on the list who attack the exclusiveness of blogs ever stop to notice that those who post on the list with any kind of regularity probably don't number more than a dozen.

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