My meeting got out a little early, so I was able to catch the last two papers of the "Meet the Bloggers" session. Since others who were there for the whole thing will surely write about it (as will the bloggers themselves), I'll keep this to a few impressions.
Very Famous Female Blogger (I don't want to out her even by giving her blog pseudonym, but you can figure it out). Connected blogging with her work in 18th-century publishing and the essay, especially The Female Tatler, possibly by a pseudonymous "Mrs. Crackenthorpe," which successfully competed for audience with the mainstream Tatler for a while and was published on alternating days with it.
Mentioned Habermas's "enabling fiction of the public sphere" and that we don't realize just how imperfect the public sphere is.
Her impressions (based on her blog survey) were that "most pseudonymous bloggers are who they say they are; if they say they are women, they are," etc.
Pseudonymity invites risk, but those who choose to publish pseudonymously are willing to take those risks in order to gain something greater (for early women writers, money).
Blogging is "a way for people who are marginal to be in the public sphere."
Mentioned in the Q & A about threats of "outing" a blogger: it's important to maintain the distinction between persona and writer.
Praised The Valve's book events: "they rock."
"The state of book reviewing in our discipline is terrible" because of the delays in print publication, etc.
Discussed two "blogspats," one that occurred when he was accused of leaving a damaging remark on a grad student's blog. Noted that he didn't know it was a grad student & thought the person was "just a guy."
Second "blogspat" was "Burqagate," the flap over Ann Althouse's criticism of a blogger "because she had breasts" and Amanda Marcotte's photoshopping of a burqa-clad woman. (Look it up if you want more information.)
Discussed the ways in which leftists sometimes denounce even those on their side for not being severe enough in their denunciations (example: denouncing the people who denounced the Democrats who were too lukewarm in their denunciations of torture).
Blogspats: "junior high with hyperlinks." Gives us "important lessons about how to go about choosing sides."
My notes on the rest are too scattered to be of use (which isn't to say that these are of use at all, mind you; the good stuff is in their talks, not here.)
The room was packed--standing room only, and this at 8:30 a.m. on the last day of the conference, which is not, shall we say, a coveted time slot. (On my way to the session, I saw several rooms with 4-5 brave souls listening to speakers.) And why wouldn't it be packed? The panelists were smart, funny, and interesting, as you'd expect. There were non-pseudonymous bloggers in the audience who talked during the Q & A and, I'm sure, other chickenhearted pseudonymous bloggers like myself, who were there to hear thoughtful talk about blogging--and, probably not incidentally, to see the stars of the blogworld.
We could have met there -- sorry I didn't know you were you (or whatever).
I wish I'd known! I've been reading the MLA posts on blogs and didn't realize just how many blogger meet-ups happened at this year's conference.
I wish I'd known you were there, too! Mel and Bitch PhD and Horace and I had coffee afterward - you would have been a welcome addition to our little group!
Thanks for the report!!!
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