Friday, January 08, 2010

Sitting In His No-Ware Land

As the dust settles on the recent MLA conference, it is interesting to see how the figure of Brian Croxall is being received in the blogosphere after posting a paper that he would have read about life as an adjunct if he had had enough money to actually attend the MLA. Blogger Dave Parry argues in "The MLA, Brian Croxall, and the Non-Rise of the Digital Humanities" that just as journalists misread the hype over the digital humanities, they misunderstood the Brian Croxall phenomenon. He argued that the traffic to his paper should cause those who read papers at the MLA to audiences who sometimes approach the numbers of actual panel members to reevalute what is seen as a "good" MLA performance.

Parry also defends Croxall against the dismissal of Bitch Ph.D., who characterizes Croxall as a "virtual nobody" and mocks the attention paid to a scholar with such a thin c.v.

So it's all meta- and performative and shit. Suddenly Brian isn't just some Nobody who couldn't even afford to travel to the MLA to read his own goddamn paper, the poor bastard; he's a Clever Scholar and Potential Somebody who's doing clever things that we can talk about using important buzzwords like "performative" and "meta" and "praxis reflecting theory." Or is it "theory reflecting praxis"? Or is "reflecting" the wrong verb altogether? Sorry, I'm not really in academia any more and I was kind of a nobody even when I was, and I'm not great with precise jargon.

Now that the MLA will soon be headed by a blogger, Michael Bérubé, it will be interesting to see if any blogging rhetorical sensibilty makes it into MLA practices.

Soon the question will be how old school bloggers like Bérubé deal with the MLA's power Twitterers, particularly with the New York Times arguing that the seemingly ephemeral microblogging format "will endure."

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Blogger Michael Bérubé said...

As Kid Bitzer says in this thread at Dr. B.'s place, "all the cool kids are moving to twitter and i'm going to be left behind here on the ice floes of blogs." By the time I assume office in 2012, it'll be like, "blogging? really? do you also have a CB radio?"

5:44 AM  

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