July 10th, 2005

[BRIEF NOTE] Grad Students and Blogs

Before we embarked on a fun gaming session last night, some of my grad student/blogger friends talked about this essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education, which suggested that blogging graduate students were at a disadvantage. Daniel Drezner, an academic blogger himself, commented at length. He noted, via another blogger, that there was a certain confusion at work.

Shorter Chronicle of Higher Ed: blogging is dangerous because hiring committees are paranoid, conservative, and illogical. Even if you are not indiscreet on your blog, you could become so--but if you don't have a blog, you couldn't possibly start one and therefore never be indiscreet. Publishing pseudonymous articles about your search committee deliberations in the Chronicle of Higher Ed, though, is not indiscreet.

Drezner concluded, reluctantly, that anonymous blogging might be the best course of action.

I'd like to say that Ivan the Tribble is your classic piece of outlying data, but I can't. The default assumption you should make is that the academy has a lot of people who share the Tribble worldview of the blogosphere. I seriously doubt that any amount of reasoned discourse will alter this worldview. So think very, very, very carefully about the costs and benefits of blogging under one's own name.

  • Current Mood

[NON BLOG] Three Things Today

  • CFTAG proceeded swimmingly, with an early adjournment from the Yonge-Wellesley Starbucks to Natural Sushi up the street. I can confirm that bento lunches, pork cutlet udon, and sushi are all good, and that chopsticks are fun. A variety of topics were discussed including the vissicitudes of blogging and graduate school, the lack of a motivation for interstellar travel, the problems of O'Neill-style Lagrange habitats, the issues surrounding artificial intelligence, and the fact that orbiting microwave-based pain cannons are emplaced in science fiction are the tools of oppressive conquering regimes and what do you do when the United States government does this?

  • After we went our separate ways at three o'clock, I headed down to Church/Wellesley. I bought a bottle of Sleeman ale at Woody's from the only female bartender I ever saw working there, and drank it by the window among the much older men who were drinking that early in the afternoon. Then up the street to This Ain't The Rosedale Library, where I ended up acquiring the Penguin paperback of Nadine Gordimer's 1979 Burger's Daughter and Robert Glück's 1994 Margery Kempe. I'm a convinced Gordimer fanboy, I admit. As for Glück, I am familiar enough with Margery Kempe and I have seen enough parenthetical references to his novel to be curious. Alas, I have the last copy there.

  • Thence to dinner with vaneramos and djjo, too briefly trapezzi, and dakoopst in from Atlanta. Dinner was excellent as usual, and followed by a showing of La Cage aux Folles.

  • Current Mood

[BRIEF NOTE] A Question on Science Fiction

Recently, while venturing to an Indigo bookstore well-known to myself, I took a look at that store's science fiction section. Even at a distance, it was obvious that it was half the size of the adjacent romance and mystery sections. On closer examination, the books were heavily weighted in favour of the works of classic authors like Asimov and Clarke and of more recent authors' military science fiction. I talked to two of the staff charged with maintaining the section. Both said that sales were uneven, that while some authors sold massively, others' books sold hardly at all.

I'm curious. Is this only a Toronto pattern, or is this a common sales/distribution pattern in large bookstores more generally? What have you experienced?
  • Current Music
    Tatu, "Nas Ne Degonyat"