April 04, 2005

Foucault on Blogging

As long as I'm sitting around not knowing what to write on a Monday morning...

True Ancestor relays this little discourse on the nature of books from French poststructuralist Michel Foucault. If you substitute the word "blog" for "book," the quote, which as it stands seems rather datedly pomo, takes on new life, seeming more true than before:

The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut; beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network. And this network of references is not the same in the case of a mathematical treatise, a textual commentary, a historical account, and an episode in a novel cycle; the unity of the book, even in the sense of a group of relations, cannot be regarded as identical in each case. The book is not simply the object that one holds in one's hands; and it cannot remain within the little parallelepiped that contains it: its unity is variable and relative. As soon as one questions that unity, it loses its self-evidence; it indicates itself, constructs itself, only on the basis of a complex field of discourse.

As T.A. comments, "you realize that the blog is both a step in literary evolution, and a reminder that all forms of self-expression are essentially the same."

T.A.'s post also entertains with his latest reflections on his recently completed trip to an upscale, all-inclusive resort in Mexico; and with a suggestion that the next pope's name be even more Beatlesque.

(Whatever name he picks, let it not be George Ringo. Too much of a decline from the heights.)