Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm a PC

See what I learn from reading my blog links? I just learned from Steve Krause's blog that the "I'm a PC" guy is the same guy (John Hodgeman) from The Daily Show. I love those ads. And now I've made an important cultural connection.

I should read my friends' blogs more often. And other blogs, too.

blogging absence

Wow - almost a month since my last post. If I'm going to do this blog thing, I'd better get serious about it! But it's been a busy month, so there's a logic here. First I went to Vermont with the spousal unit, which was very fun. Then I came back and quickly headed out to the WPA conference , so there was a week. Then I spent about 36 hours in Chicago with my friend Melanie, formerly of Ann Arbor/NYC soon to be formerly of Minneapolis and back in NYC. Then I came back and worked furiously on stuff, and now - tomorrow - I will start (and finish) the preparations to go to lovely Beaver Island. I'll put a photo of this lovely spot above so that we can all gaze upon its loveliness.

In conjunction with the OMB, I've recently re-read some of James Carey's work - I mentioned him a few posts ago (though it was more than a few weeks ago - see above re: very few posts). I may have mentioned - probably did - that I read Carey's Communication as Culture in my very first grad school class, and that it totally wowed me. It was almost visceral, it was so exciting to think about communication as Carey described it. And you know what (you generic "you"s)? I still get that reading Carey. His ideas remind me, yet again, why I went into this whole intellectual thinking thing. How cool is that? Here's a little passage that illustrates what I think is so fabulous about Carey's ideas from an essay called "The Press, Public Opinion, and Public Discourse":
"What we mean by democracy depends on the forms of communication by which we conduct politics. What we mean by communication depends on the central impulses and aspirations of democratic politics. What we mean by public opinion depends on both. None of these phenomena are natural, none of the terms transcendent, all are foudn only within history: they exist only within language, within the particular historical conjunctures in which we define them."

Carey writes elsewhere about the ways in which communication doesn't reflect reality as something that is objective and "out there," but also doesn't create it as if there is no reality... the careful and smart balance he strikes is super compelling (and why he's considered to be aligned with *American* cultural studies, which blends pragmatism and cultural critique, rather than just engaging in the cultural critique that is typical of European cultural studies). He's an incredibly clear writer, and his ideas are so passionate, so compelling... so so.

And on that note, I'm now going to clean my mucky desk surface so I return to a lovely and organized study after my blissful week away. I probably will not think much about James Carey. But I do consider myself lucky to be able to think about these things, that's for sure!