December 15, 2004

The Medium

I’ve never been much of a McLuhanite but after three days I can already feel my work evolving in response to the demands and seductions of this new form. I started out intending to do something different from the usual blog – I would only put up polished prose pieces, not casual diaristic musings. A pure and severe approach to the blog. Now that feels impractical and contradictory, for simple reasons of time. It could take days or weeks to conceive and work up a polished story no matter how short. Meanwhile the blog would languish. This is a very forgiving medium—it forgives all kinds of sloppiness and shallowness and banality—but what it apparently won’t forgive are purity and severity and holding oneself to high standards. Which makes it, I suppose, the perfect form for our time. (The concept of a forgiving medium is in itself symptomatic of our time.)

Besides, casual diaristic jottings might ultimately turn out to have more charm and more historical value than polished pieces. So, yes, I might as well give myself the freedom to indulge in any sort of blithering about the wildlife in my backyard and what the folks in Austin TX are up to and how those nitwits in Washington won’t adopt my theories of government.

Perhaps someday the audience for all this will not be human beings but artificial intelligences, scanning at superspeed, hot to learn every single detail about who we were and how we lived.