Obligatory “Why This Blog” Post

Last updated July 26, 2019.

Here I am, late to the party as usual. There’s that line in Stephen Sondheim’s Company, “Does anybody still wear a hat?” Each time that show is done, it is customized and modernized–and rightly so! But it’s a wonder Sondheim hasn’t signed off on the lyrical update, “Does anybody still write a blog?”

Well, yes. Several do.

Perhaps the opening to Byron’s Don Juan is a better thought here:

I want a hero: an uncommon want

When every year and month sends forth a new one

Replace “hero” for “blog,” and there you go. There’s already so much noise out there. Why contribute to the din?

Eh? Why not? Sure, works for me.

So, what do I intend this space to be? There will be some academic/literary/cinematic thoughts posted here. Things I want to express in longer form than a tweet, but maybe nothing I have the chops for when it comes to an academic publication. I’ve been tempted to build a site for such a purpose for a while now. But last night I had some ideas about Johnson and Pleece’s Incognegro: Renaissance thatI wanted to share, and so that pushed me over the fence.

Other things I intend:

  • I’ve got a few anthologies I’ve been sitting on. I’m interested in the anthology as a form, but also I tend to think (perhaps inaccurately) that reading one would give me a pretty quick grounding in a topic. I’ve taught Drama multiple times, for instance, but I’m always aware of my blind spots. I thought of using this space to share my thoughts on the stories, plays, and other works I encounter in this way.
  • Time-travel discourse. Time travel is a big interest for me, and I’d like to use this space to call out interesting time-travel configurations I encounter in literature and film. Of course, as one of the projects I’m working on is a book about common time-travel conventions, I might not be as forthcoming with those things until later.
  • Keeping people up with my current projects, academic and creative. It’ll probably be a while before stuff comes up on that heading, though.
  • Generally participating in the SFF community, as well as the academic one.

But there are a couple of things that I will not do with this blog. One, I will not use this a space for mocking my students. That is the first step toward internet fogeyism, soon followed by “clever” jokes about participation trophies and oh-so-pithy observations about how people from different cultures name their children differently. Not only is student-bashing a violation of the trust and bond I have with my pupils, it is intellectually lazy. Should I ever find myself descending into that, I should just as well delete my entire blog and replace with a brief parody of “Prufrock”:

I grow old! I grow old!
Inventing ancient jokes each ass has told!

Another thing I won’t do on this blog is apologize for tardiness. I know it’ll take a while for me to gain so momentum on this blog. And by “momentum” I mean “overpower those interior voices which tell me I’m wasting everybody’s time by writing banalities.” Until then, I resist the impulse to begin a single post with “I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but…” As if I have some invisible legion of loyal followers tearing their hair out against my delayed return. I might just as well become one of those YouTubers who says “People have been asking me…” when no, nobody has asked crap.

All right. That’s it for now. I’m sure I’ll come back to this one often enough. I always tell my composition students that it’s okay to rewrite the introduction when the essay is done, because it’s only when you know what the essay actually is that you can adequately prepare your reader for what it is going to be.

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