Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wake up!

I mothballed this blog in 2007 for many reasons. Some of them were conceptual (I felt that discussing media absent the larger context of culture was pointless); others were personal (I'd stepped down from a "management" level job and returned to reporting).

But it occurred to me last week that it was time to bring it back in a new, and very specific, incarnation: From now until Feb. 24, I'll be using this site to prepare students at the University of Mississippi for my visit on Feb. 25th. Janet and I will be appearing on a panel with the tentative title "Quality in the Digital Environment," then sticking around to talk with the staff of the student newspaper there.

There's a great story about a radio talk show host and fan of Noam Chomsky who once ambushed Jeff Greenfield about why Nightline wouldn't invite Chomsky on as a guest. Greenfield's answer -- oft-derided but certainly candid -- was to ask a question: Could Chomsky condense his ideas down to 30-second answers?

And obviously, the answer is no. You can't introduce an idea in 30 seconds. All you can really do in 30 seconds is reinforce existing ideas, scoring shallow debating points against "the opposition."
I have no interest in boring people who don't care about my topic with lengthy explanations. In fact, I really have no interest in people who don't care about my topic -- which, based on experience, will likely be most of the people in the audience. But I'm intensely interested in the self-selecting few who will find something of value in the ideas I represent.

To those people, I dedicate this new incarnation of this old blog. I'll try to post a steady stream of ideas and concepts here, then leave it around for reference for anyone who comes along later.