Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Blogging and Academicity

Ac academic, whom We shall not identify because We have yet to ask him whether We can divulge his name as someone with whom We have conversed and whom We may quote, once informed Us that one reason he does not blog is because of Dr. Juan Cole's example. When an academic leaves the confines of academia and joins the blogosphere, the academic becomes a demagogue, an academic no more. Indeed, this much was even admitted by Dr. Cole when he admitted that the pressures, perspectives, and demands of blogging differ from those of academia. Rather than being an instructor and researcher, the academic becomes a "pundit," which does great harm to his academic pursuits and, thus, also to his academic credibility. Rather than speaking to his peers, he is speaking down to the masses. The standards he, as an academic, must maintain while speaking to his peers vanish when one begins speaking to the masses.

We would go so far as to say that Dr. Cole has lost what made him initially legitimate: his being an academic. In Our eyes, Dr. Cole has no legitimacy. Indeed, the exposure of startling errors he made makes Us to go on: he is quite ignorant.

Dr. Victor Davis Hanson has a blog-website (it is a blog and it is a website but is neither one exclusively). Yet, one cannot say he blogs: he publishes. One aspect of his publishing is answering questions and publishing his responses on his blog-website. Amongst his responses are his articles and other published material. This is quite different from what Dr. Cole does. Dr. Hanson remains an academic. Indeed, despite how academics may view him, he is perhaps an academic par excellence.

Another example We can point to is Dr. Jeff Goldstein. He does not claim to be an academic. He used to be one. He blogs. He is a pundit. Yet, his standards are quite rigorous, and can take on any academic on the academic's own turf, so to speak. Indeed, if one claims Dr. Cole is still an academic, one must admit that Dr. Goldstein is also an academic, particularly when Dr. Goldstein's standards are higher than Dr. Cole's.

As useful as it may be to be an academic and to blog, it is difficult to retain one's adacemicity, so to speak, while blogging. However, Drs. Hanson and Goldstein have shown that this is possible. But Dr. Cole shows that, particularly on the Left, it is still a great peril.

Update: We should add that this post was inspired by this thread of the Ace of Spades Headquarters and by Dr. Goldstein of protein wisdom, who routinely excellently critiques Dr. Cole. Also, We have added links in the post above.

inna naHnu-l-a'lam.


At 4:29 PM, Blogger Harkonnendog said...

The Althouse seems to do both. I think Cole's problem is that he never lived up to the standards of academia, (if academia really retains the standards once assigned to it, or ever did) and blogging is better at exposing this than academia.

GREAT blog, btw. Thank you for the continuing to educate me.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger Wickedpinto said...

Althouse, Is absolutely clear about her opinions when blogging about law. She does NOT! say "this is a pretty picture, and I know that because I am a lawyer."

Madame Althouse does not use her position as a bludgeon with which to assault her readers, but rather . . . it seems to me, only comments on law, when it is something completely ridiculous, or popular, and even when she blogs on Law, USUALLY she does it as an educational excercise. Along the line of "This is what was said, what do you thing?"

When she does offer an opinion (rarely) on law, she does it as an academic SHOULD! by stating the facts, stating where she is leaning in opinion and then asking the question, and if you ever read the comments, she actually LISTENS.

the other professor, thinks he is the lone autocrat of a classroom, and requires obedience at all times in all forms.

Theres a difference. One, Althouse, is competant, the other isn't.


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