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October 16, 2007


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your assumptions about the 'text' being read need to be expanded beyond writer-text-reader arrangement, perhaps to more intertextual compositions? not who is reading, but with whose work is my work being read? then the event of the text is set in motion beyond the confines of author-subject relations. your blog is part of my blog roll, and with bloglines your posts index a temporality of this event which is explicated across texts and within which readers (both of the writing and reading kind) are implicated. so instead of the identity of readers a better question would be, what is the character of readerly implication in the text-event? and secondly can 'you' (author-subject) control this? perhaps linking practices are important as they serve as a quasi-durable infrastructure for the text-event, such as my bloglines reader account and (presently) broken blog roll.


Makes me think of Howard Roark roaring at his would-be employers, "I don't intend to build in order to have clients; I intend to have clients in order to build."


PDXstudent--this is worrisome; I don't like to think of myself as having Randian tendencies (although I love the movie--isn't it Gary Cooper who plays Roark?).

Glen--fair enough (and interesting) but what about the non-bloggy who have no clue about the bloggy intertext? this is really the source of my anxiety here, so there are readers who are not part of the text events I assume, who situate what I write in a whole different series of text events. And, of course I can't control these, you are absolutely right to emphasize this, but how can I account for the company into which I am placed, particularly when I would deny keeping such company?


Not sure what this has to do with your post as such, but I was surprised (very surprised!) to discover this weekend that the departmental administrator (i.e., support; not academic) looks at my blog on occasion. I knew the chair of the department did - he always looks at it - but the support staff!?


How do you feel about that?

patrick j. mullins

"No wonder attempts to talk about the reader end up as flat reflections of the writer."

That's a hoot, most amusing.

"so instead of the identity of readers a better question would be, what is the character of readerly implication in the text-event?"

It would be. It would be, that is, if you really want to get ghoulish and total-dweeby.

"although I love the movie--isn't it Gary Cooper who plays Roark?)."

Yes, and this movie is glorious, with phenomenal sets, Gary Cooper the most gorgeous of all All-Americans, and Patricia Neal not only superb, but still alive and unaware of lolcats.

"but how can I account for the company into which I am placed, particularly when I would deny keeping such company?"

You don't deny keeping such company. You are a blogger, much as I try to help you transition (loathsome modern verb) back into your moss-laden mansion true identity. I mean--can you not imagine how wonderful it must be to be alone with me again? even though we never were alone the first time?


I came across your blog when K-Punk linked to it, during the "Children of Men"/dead-world-persisting-in-its-own-memory discussion. K-Punk, in turn, I'd stumbled across searching for anyone who'd dare call the Arctic Monkeys appropriately derisive names. As with most things in my life, it's rooted in music.

Perhaps I'm used to my various endeavors being ignored (wah!), but I've never even bothered checking my blog's hit-count, let alone a deeper investigation of who's reading & to what tendrils of the blogosphere am I connected. I refuse to be responsible towards anyone else in my blogging*. Otherwise, how badly would I start censoring myself, given I know my ardently patriotic, church-planting, god-fearing brother-in-law links to my blog?

*This doesn't mean that I give a pass to, say, Michelle Malkin when she posts people's private info online. That's just immoral, regardless of whether your readership's 50 or 50,000. It's also a whole other can of worms to discuss...


Seb--it's become an issue for me in connection with my day job.

Patrick--this is one of your most priceless comments ever. I laughed out loud at the following:

"It would be. It would be, that is, if you really want to get ghoulish and total-dweeby."

and then with the wonderful shift and pull back into a black and white era when cocktails were mixed by 5:00 and dressing for dinner meant more than taking off the pajamas one had been in all day while sitting in front of the computer:

"You are a blogger, much as I try to help you transition (loathsome modern verb) back into your moss-laden mansion true identity. I mean--can you not imagine how wonderful it must be to be alone with me again? even though we never were alone the first time?"

Deborah Boudreau

This is an interesting post, Jodi. It is making me reflect on my own blog-behavoir. I have been reading your blog, I found it on a roll of theory blogs (I think the continental-philiosophy blog), and I have not commented, ever. Now why I havn't commented has something to it, as I think commmenting would poke a fantasy I have on theory-culture. So this has to do with responsbility, takign responsibility, and thinking of moving past the circumstance of surveyer I have been able to occupy (with the protection and service of the computer) to an ontology that includes these positionalities, in its wake.


I assumed this post was further reflection upon the fracas that launched the monkeys subblog.

Presenting an idea or argument in public immediately subjects it to misinterpretation, contextual misappropriation, and other kinds of abuse. Everything we create becomes our own Frankenstein monster. What philosopher DIDN'T earn an acolyte they'd rather have not? As the saying goes: "You can't blame the band for their audience."

That being said, the art is obviously blamed on the artist, so no confessions of faux-shock when we see the crowd drawn by the content. Yeah, it may not be a portrait-perfect crew of Your People, but you could definitely guess what "undesireables" will be attracted based on the content of your blog.

Of course, none of this excuses people so humourless and jelly-spined that you'd get taken to task for your personal blog's content. That's just McCarthyist bullshit. It'd be one thing if you were, say, detailing lengthy daydreams about massacring every one of your students, plus their individual misdeeds for which you'd like to execute them - but you're fuckin' NOT.

Eva Herman you ain't.


I have no problem with the chair reading my blog - he was reading it before I became on contract instructor in his department. I'm not so secure in knowing that the support staff (or at least one of them) reads it. As everyone knows, admin support staff are the essential nodes in the network of administrative power in universities. I'd be more worried about support staff knowing I was complaining about someone on campus than I would be if my boss knew.

(Are you going to the LCH in San Francisco in March, Jodi?)


I'm all of a sudden wondering how technorati augments this view of readership (for the blogger). I know for my wordpress-blog I can keep track of every new hit I get, which is to say when someone clicks a link to my site from somewhere. However, I can't necessarily keep track of who is actually mentioning me, or by virtue of appearing in blog-rolls I otherwise wouldn't know of, reading me. Technorati over-comes this latter issue, and keeps track of everywhere links to you exist. Being able to follow that, I imagine, must be profound... or absurd.


Deborah--thanks for your comment. Is your thought, then, that readers have responsibilities, responsibilities of response and participation? Or, perhaps that there are different modes of reading, some which treat blog posts as items of consumption or maybe voyeuristic pleasure and that you prefer to engage a different ethics of reading?

Seb-I like that you put the point bluntly, let me see if I've got it: there is always misreading, no author or artist controls reception, and it is supremely stupid to fall back on some kind of poor misunderstood me position, especially since one can actually predict the sorts of readers who might be interested or incited by some posts. And then your next move is to say that these things are true, nevertheless, some misreadings are worse than others. Right? I confess that I had to look up Eva Herman.


Pdxstudent--I only rarely look at technorati; but typepad gives me stats and referrers and that provides a pretty indication of inbound links.


Jodi - yep, that's about it. A quick example: calling a band "Joy Division" would obviously attract a handful of heinous thugs, but the band was aware of this and did battle (literally) with those skinheads at shows, refusing to allow anyone else to define them or their work.

I suppose it's less that certain misreadings are worse than others, so much as it's a struggle to continue acting on your own terms once a certain interpretation or you/your motives/your ideas has been yoked upon you by a sect of your audience. The creator is often forced to one side of a binary relationship with the audience: the sycophantic crowd-pleaser or the antagonist. I think it's dangerous and ultimately defeating to let the audience define you; far better to let them find you. The ones that stick around are the ones you want, anyway.

Deborah Boudreau

Yes- another ethic of reading!


jodi, as you would probably observe from your site stats, the 'protocol' of search engines serves as part of the material infrastructure of the random hits and whatever text-event is being expressed through the ongoing transversal conjunctions. The continual modulation of this the 'web surf', or what galloway calls 'continuity', is in part produced through the algorithmic calculations (or the allegorithms of the sense-event, or if you want a dash of D&G's ritornello for a third iteration, the affective allegorhythms, lol) that give certain terms a protocological(/semantic/affective) weight over others.

it probably should be connected with something like McKenzie Wark's discussion of media vectors. ie the blog as a series of vectors; the regularities of which are consistent in different ways both with your tags and the popular search keywords.

dweeb, yep. dweeb mode. phd submit in 5-ish weeks... dweebing it up. super dweeb. uber dweeb. dweebilicious.

patrick j. mullins

"super dweeb."

some think it like William Gibson, whose novels swear you're lucky to still get a well-prepared poached egg. Otherwise--WiFi...

"uber dweeb."

Don't push it...


Julie Andrews excited by Lean Cuisine with Metamucil.

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