Professing * Reflecting

Sunday, September 19, 2004

What the Hell

Have been lurking around silently in the blogosphere for far too long. Time to chime in. Feeling pretty anxious about it, so as an introduction I'll share the somewhat schizophrenic conversation I have been having with myself about why I read academic blogs obsessively while refusing to blog myself:

DAB [Downer Anti-Blogger]: You are by nature a "floater"--happiest on the margins, entering into groups at their edges, observing, absorbing, then leaving.

BABS [Be a Blogger! Speak!]: This "floater" you describe sounds self-absorbed, pretentious, and just plain creepy. I reject it as a way to identify myself. While an earlier version of myself--the one who was shuffled from state to state, school to school--may have by necessity been a floater, it is no longer me. I often find myself on center stage--in front of the classroom, at the podium at conferences--and do quite well, to the point of [gasp] enjoying it. I also have many, many meaningful (and meaningless, but purposely so) relationships with many, many people. That particular jig, DAB, is up.

DAB: By deciding to be an anonymous blogger, don't you realize you are just trying to find a new way to float? To express yourself without any real consequences? To speak but to hide at the same time?

BABS: Again with the pretentiousness, DAB. Who cares? A voice is a voice, no matter where or how you find (or create) it. Do I have any more of a "real" voice in the classroom, in my adademic writing, or even in the pub with friends? I have chosen to be anonymous, because I imagine I will also be discussing my personal life in somewhat vivid detail. I fret, bitch, rage, fuck (and fuck up) with reckless abandon--an abandon that those who want or need to see me as "professor" or "scholar" do not necessarily want or need to acknowledge. And . . .from what I've learned by reading blogs, anonymity is pseudonymity at best. If someone by chance or by effort finds out who I am in "real life," then they will just have to deal with the disconnect between what they want to see and what they see here.

DAB: Don't you think it's all a bit narcissistic?

BABS: Yep, I do. That's something I will be thinking about and writing about here. I am starting to rethink the whole narcissism thing.

DAB: Is that what the whole "Professional Mirror" thing is about? And you accuse me of pretentiousness.

BABS: Point taken, but I think you are starting to get it.

So here I am, still to some extent battling the Downer Anti-Blogger but listening more to BABS. We'll see what happens.



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