Sound Familiar?

From Ian Bogost’s “This is a Blog Post About the Digital Humanities

Let’s go over that again. At the MLA and in a new book, digital humanists debated the role of computer media like blogs in the practice of humanism. In the wake of the MLA, a famous and controversial literary theorist notes that the MLA featured debates about the use of media like blogs in scholarship, and raises concern about the nature of media like blogs in scholarship, largely through discussion of a book by an MLA officer about the ways scholarship is changing when done on blogs, which was first a blog and then became a book. Digital humanities advocates respond in blogs and blog comments about blogging, arguing, among other things, that digital humanities are not really postmodernist. Ahem.

When I lived in Los Angeles and worked in the entertainment industry, I remember coming to a realization: a great deal of Hollywood entertainment is about the entertainment industry. Think about it. Fame, Barton Fink, Super 8, Tropic Thunder, Party Down, Adaptation, Full Frontal, Peeping Tom, Ed Wood, The Truman Show, Sunset Blvd., The Barefoot Contessa, Somewhere, Hollywood Ending, Seinfeld. I guess it makes sense. Write what you know, the aphorism goes. At first, that means heartbreak or black heartedness, but eventually, with success, what one knows is what one does. And currently, what one does in the humanities is talk about the humanities. This is particularly true of the digital humanities, some of whose proponents are actually using computers to do new kinds of humanistic scholarly work in breaks between debates about the potential to use computers for new kinds of humanistic scholarly work.

And now I’ve written a blog post about it.

One thought on “Sound Familiar?

  1. Joseph Santoli

    How very meta(data). I’m glad you posted this, I had forgotten about it.

    I was thinking about the frequency of the word “blog” in his post (and how could you not). In Digital Humanist fashion, I used CTRL+F to find that the word appeared nearly 40 times in his short blog post of only about 700 words. That’s just over 5% of his entire post. I’d show you a graph, but I think that’s enough Digital Humanities for right now. My real point: Perhaps Bogost is also making a statement about how the topic of Digital Humanities is part of what makes something Digital Humanities (poking fun at it, of course). Is using the word “blog” 40 times in a post make it a Digital Humanities article? Or only if it is published as a blog? It seems to me that Bogost is claiming that DH is just a circle of people talking about DH. What’s the point of DH if it has no application outside itself and only serves to be self-referential?

    Also, did anyone notice that “stanley fish” posted a comment on Bogost’s blog post on April 1st, 2012?

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