Monday, November 28, 2005


Joseph Mayanja Posted by Picasa

Icky -isms

Many of you have been bemused by my enthusiasm for blogs. It's easy to pick-up on what's wrong with them and there are many legitimate questions to ask about the blog phenomenon. My suggestion to "come on in the water is fine," isn't meant as a joke. To my great pleasure at least one of you among us has taken the plunge, although the blog apparently "isn't ready for public consumption yet." Do tell, perhaps when that blog is read along with Bazungu Bucks it will open the flood gates of blog creativity in this whole community. Be sure to pimp your blog here when you get around to it.

One of the criticism of blogs is that they create insularity of ideas and opinions. Dang, I was just reading about a study of blog insularity today and can't remember where. I know that it was academic with comments explained with number thingys, but checking the ususal suspects I can't find the post. So far as I can tell the study's big news was that the "big" leftist blogs and the "big" rightist blogs don't link to each other very much. There may be a problem here, except that people who begin reading blogs often stray from the big sites into territory that's not so easily pigeon-holed. There in lies another potential problem, icky -isms.

Right after I mentioned Richard Heinberg in the post Appropriate Technology I saw several references to him in discussions linking him to neo-Nazi ideologies. Actually, in surfing around the Web about Heinberg, I did note his association with some--how shall I say it?--New Age stuff. I sort of glossed over that and figured that much of what he has to say about global energy use patterns made sense. My post on Kizza Besigye delved a little into the realm of American rightist conspiracy. I am a little bit more than supicious of World Vision, something I feel creepy about because I never want to disparage concern and material help for those in need.

My point is banal: put your thinking caps on and venture into the blogosphere. Sure there's objectionable content and it's not always easy to tell at first glance. Even people you admire may hold views you can't cotton to. Sometimes that makes them all the more interesting.

In an interview with Arundhati Roy she responded to a question about her celebrity status:
I think it’s very unhealthy. This process of iconization is also a political one. That it is a way of making real political resistance very brittle. Because it’s okay to say oh Arundhati Roy, she’s a superstar. And then tomorrow say, but actually you know, she’s this and she’s that and it’s over. But it’s not about me and what a nice human being I am because I’m not a nice human being. I’m not at all playing for saint-hood here. So I think it’s a very dangerous process. It’s hard to know what to do about it. Because all one does is to continue to write and say what one writes and says. Then the rest of it is a fallout that you have to deal with and realize and that the option is to shut up and go away. Is that what I want to do? I don’t know.

But it is dangerous because it does make the whole movement very brittle. Obviously it’s not just me, there are others. But individuals who are picked out – we are very fragile things. I could be ... how easy is it for the propaganda machine to try to discredit me tomorrow?
Her point about making political resistance brittle is a good. One of the advantages to blogs is hearing a diversity of ideas. The blogs we read do sort us in terms of what we pay attention to, but the Internet is vast and, at least in my experience, it seems impossible to avoid coming into contact with icky -isms. To the extent this contact prevents our thinking from brittleness that's all for the better.

Today's picture is of Joseph Mayanja, aka Chameleon. I got it off Music Uganda. I don't know Chameleon's music, I just liked the picture because it reminded me of the picture with my wig hat on. It shows the sorts of things I spend my valuable time doing, like looking through photo ablums of musicians I don't know. Here's an ablum of Pittsburgh Signs. I found that because Pingting sent me a link to an event coming in January about a blog writers workshop at the Mattress Factory. Elizabeth Perry will be conducting it and before you say it's nothing you'd be interested in go to this beautiful blog she's created.

I never got around to writing about what I set out to and I wasn't sure how I'd fit this link in anywhere, I'll just suggest going to this Web animation for Clinton aka Cornershop. It's from 2000 and I just got around to it because the refrain from the song, "People Power in the disco hour" kept running through my head this afternoon. Warning after viewing this clever e-card the same may happen to you.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Thanks so much for your kind words and links to the Pittsburgh Signs Project site and to my blog, Woolgathering.

I'd found your blog a short while ago, via Pingting, though he doesn't know it, so it means so much to find your words! It's like happening to overhear a compliment from someone one had admired from a distance.

Keep writing - and come join the workshop if you can.

Liz

http://www.elizabethperry.com/woolgathering