Ordinary language is all right.
One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.
I've probably gotten more semi-public (think of Christgau's term 'semi-popular') recognition than I actually think I deserve for writing this blog, just because friends and friendly admirers with more cultural capital than I have (or, er, with paid work as writers) keep referring to the blog. I have noticed a tendency for it to be mentioned last, as in Geeta's story on academic bloggers (with an appendix, how academic, har); this does not surprise me as I keep quite unhelpfully responding to friendly questions with things that are hard to fit into roundup articles. Below I have pasted what I originally made up to send to Geeta.
reflection is supposed to have something dignifying and upbuilding about it. i don't usually feel that way about academic work or music criticism; they pass over the person who is supposed to be built up and then insist that reflection be carried out in forms of writing that keep the person from getting back in. i write my blog because i wish that things were different, and i'm thinking about how to make them that way.
i'm usually frustrated by how this works out, probably because my goals are so impossible.
i don't read or look at many so-called academic blogs. they can be worthwhile, but the most worthwhile thing i see about them as such, the capacity they have for bringing academic discussion out into the public sphere, is only so redeeming. when a blog seems to me something like a more casual, self-published academic journal, i'm less interested in it. i'm more attracted to blogs written by non- academic people who nonetheless want to think in public, where they might be lucky enough to find other people to think with. i also find that many blogs written by people who are otherwise paid to write come off like annexes, or afterthoughts. i wish it were possible - it's not, always, since it's so hard to write seriously without being paid for it - to have all their thoughts on their blogs, and not just the afterthoughts.
a great example of the 'amateur' intellectual blog is ray davis' pseudopodium. i also like to read the language poet ron silliman's blog. i think that at the moment one of the few blogs i read regularly that's actually by an academic (grad student) is franklin bruno's, but then apart from some occasional posts about, say, analytic philosophy, it's hardly 'academic' in the sense i used above.
This subject trips me up every time I want to address it. There is always so much more to be said, because the level of ignorance of self is so great.
Why do I have to wait until I am sixty to hear Biggie on one of these stations?
The most common response I've heard and read to this line of complaint - 'why can't you be happy with what we've got' (so far, they imply disingenuously, as if once the station got on its feet or established its identity it would start bumping 'To Live and Die in L.A.'; or better: what we've got in this terribly embattled state we're in, suggesting they're doing the best they can do) - quietly overlooks just how perniciously exclusive that 'we' is. If we are getting some culture, finally, and we are happy and excited, then why don't you just stop your useless complaining, they seem to be saying. It's funny: there is a question in the radio station's FAQ that underscores just how selfish and individualist its approach is (is forced to be, perhaps): 'I do not like this new thing. I only want to support the other MPR station. Are you using my dollars for this thing?' (No, they assure the talk radio and classical radio listeners.)
Do not retread the seemingly endless sequence of slights and insults to black culture and its creators and performers by acting as if you're getting culture here, on this radio station. If it were deserving of the name, it would not be so transparently selfish, while claiming more for itself.
One tires of not saying what one thinks.
I tire of not saying what I think.
I'm tired. I wish I could say what I think. I wish I could talk to people.
I have moved. Again.
I once again live in St. Paul.
I am marking my calendar. Well. That is just a figure of speech. I don't have a calendar.