Sunday, March 13, 2005

It's True: I am a just another blogging fetality

Prof. Drezner describes admirably in this post the Public Choice panel I organized.

Prof. Lawrence likewise shares his views.

Thanks to both.

I have only two things to add to what they said:

1. I still think there is a legit question about whether a junior person can blog, or if a senior person can blog, and ever get a first/another academic job. Same as with a supreme court justice nominee: too much paper trail, and people who oppose you can find stuff to use against you. I am clearly going to die at Duke, so it is easy for me to act all tough, but I think this is a real concern. I have colleagues who have tenure, and say they would like to blog, but that the stuff would be used against them in their senate confirmation hearings if they ever get a top appointment in a regulatory agency. They are completely right, of course.

2. As to the Daniel saying I am still in the "fetal position" (his "Furthermore" #2 in this post)'s all true. He has made the point several times, in different forums, but let me confirm it as a matter of personal experience. It is, by and large, pretty to cool to be me (no, THAT is not Drezner's point; pay attention) in academics. I have tenure, I have published some widely read books and articles, and at conferences I get deference. In elevators, people see my name tag, and their eyes light up, and they ask me a question or too. Of course, I love this, because I am a completely narcissistic jerk.

But, in Blogania, I am a bug, six legs, no brain to speak of. This was brought home to me, in just the way Drezner describes: I was all excited, and went after him pretty hard. He was kind enough to link back, and it was a like a virtual mercy fuck: the crumbs from his hits that DAY were much bigger than my average WEEK. I am not used to needing mercy fucks, because my own self-perception (like most of my senior colleagues) is that I am a Captain of the Universe.

So, what all this goes to show is that Daniel D was right all along, in his initial assessment of why senior people in political science might be reluctant to put themselves out there as bloggers. It is not hard to "be" a blogger, but it is hard to be a good blogger. You can't just phone it in. And lots of academics (I'll deny this if you quote me) have been phoning it in for years.


Anonymous said...

I thought you would be interested in this article, from the NYTimes, about a student expelled for advocating (not practicing, not saying that he intends to practice, but merely advocating) corporal punishment.

Anonymous said...

I thought you might be interested in this article, from the NYTimes, about a gard student being expelled for advocating, in a paper (not practicing, or even saying that he intends to practice) corporal punishment.