Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Blogs as Literature?

Steve Himmer from Emerson College makes a good, academic argument that blogs are literature:

Calling a weblog “literary” does not require content that is about literature or even content that aims to be literature. It is not an attempt at categorizing one weblog and its author as more worthwhile in a canonical sense than any other. To the contrary, I propose that every weblog can be considered literary in the sense that it calls attention not only to what we read, but also to the unique way we read it. The weblog is (to paraphrase Colin MacCabe) the performed result of a code of particular techniques, and this paper is an attempt to highlight the primary features of that code.
The article was written sometime last year (there is no date stamp but there is a comment from August 2004) and is long. I read it today at work in bits and pieces during down time (or lazy time, I'll admit it), so I haven't gotten to reflect on it much, but I did find it to be a fascinating idea. Himmer comes at his argument from a very post-structrualist point of view and fairly gushes at the thought of blogger and reader creating the text together--the blogger posting her posts and the reader commenting on them and other bloggers linking to the posts and other readers commenting on that and so on and so on and so on. It is, unlike Joyce's Ulyssess which he uses over and over as an example, a piece of art that is all process and by its very nature is never complete. It is as in-the-moment as you can get in writing. It is an exciting thought, or maybe I'm just geeky enough to be excited by it. I will admit that I was just thinking the other day how nice it will be when post-sturcturalism finally runs its course and we can get back to something more solid and finite both in theory and "text." But here I am excited about how unfinished the blog as text as literature is. Can I like both?