Lots of academics are put off by the blogging medium. They think of the academic as searching for transcendent truth, and the blogger as addicted to ephemeral buzz. While there’s surely a divergence between the academic vocation and the blogging avocation, I tend to think of these two activities as contrapuntal, each drawing on and enriching the other even while being opposed in nature.
Whether journalist or academic, everyone has presuppositions and value commitments they bring to the table. In a blog post, you can express those commitments much more openly than you can or should in a work of objective journalism or detached scholarly analysis. Ideally, these forms complement one another. The blog post is a place to test out one’s theories on new developments. The blog itself can become a series of interpretations of the news that fit into one’s theory. But in a scholarly work, one is absolutely committed to finding and addressing the best arguments against one’s own point of view. Similarly, I think that objective journalists have to seek out the voices that most directly undermine their own narrative. Bloggers just let commenters do that–and then respond as best they can.
Blogs give you a venue to tell a story, and to entertain readers with some diversions. On this blog, I’ve been exploring a few narratives: