Scott McLemee (whose blog Quick Study I have had cause to mention from time to time) has written a column at Inside Higher Ed that performs an invaluable service: it says nice stuff about Dial M.* Oh, yeah, and it gives us an excellent interdisciplinary tour of the academic blogosphere.
What’s especially good is the article’s basic conceit: Scott asked a bunch of more-established academic bloggers (including me) to recommend an academic blog that non-specialists might not have heard about. This means that Scott’s tour of academic blogs both reminds us of old favorites and gives us something new to think about. Since I have made it something of a personal crusade to make blogging seem a little less bizarre and scary to my musicological colleagues, this article is particularly welcome. See, colleagues, look at all the smart people who blog! Look at how many different things you can do within the medium! My personal favorite discovery from this article: bookporn. A favorite picture:
A lot of people who distrust blogs do so because they think that the medium encourages self-indulgence, incivility, and incompetence, which, OK, yes, it does, but it also encourages great writing and thinking — indeed, a specific kind of writing and thinking rewired by the medium and, I believe, destined to rewire the entire academic enterprise.**
Scott’s article mentions a number of blogs I’ve started following myself, including Ben Wolfson’s waste, Lester Hunt’s E pur si muove!, and the libertarian group blog Liberty and Power. waste has been on our blogroll for a while, but it’s time to add a few new ones. My own suggestion when Scott asked me for a recommendation was People Listen To It, which has developed its own voice very quickly and which offers an intriguing new model for the academic group blog — an institutional blog featuring the work of both grad students and professors. Well, one professor anyway, namely Gabriel Solis. Good lookin’, G!
*To wit: Dial M is “almost excessively enjoyable” and is “the one that seems most like a really good magazine.” We own other team.
**Of course, bloggers are much given to such sweeping millenarian claims, so take that with a grain of salt. Wait — what if making sweeping millenarian claims is itself an effect of the medium? Hm.