or the domino effect of the power of opinion.
I’m not unaware of the importance of peer-related opinion. You can’t study for a literature degree without it banging you over the head after about five minutes of studying the courses.
All the many –isms of literary critical thinking have developed to a stage where plurality is just a nice word for saying that there are many diverse opinions about what and how we should think of texts that we have read.
My preferred method for reading texts is to stuff the critics and read the book (but drag the critics back in when it comes to writing the assignment and getting a better mark!), which may just be me missing the point, as I usually do.
In this case, I’m tying together some received opinions that, (a) Heart of Darkness - J. Conrad should not be read any more as a text for studying, because of the objections to racist content, and that, (b) the old debate between the ‘establishment’ and the ‘proles,’ has come to blogging and internet technology /usage.
This second debate sparked over An Army of Davids: Glenn Reynolds non-fiction account of what most people in the blogosphere who have a clue know already. That blogging serves as an instant way of getting around the big-gun opinion factories, and that you could possibly make money out of said insta-pinion while you’re at it. Reynolds has his own blog Instapundit, which amply demonstrates the point. Two separate reviews of his book demonstrate how the argument is developing into those who do appreciate the wider implications, and those who don't.
Why am I tying these two received wisdoms together? Because as someone relatively removed from the US sphere and the Euro sphere (trust me it’s an island), I don’t like to take things too far – whether Conrad set out to be racist or not, isn’t the point – the novel presents characters. Those characters are given words, actions, an opinion etc. by the writer, but that does not mean that those characters or narrators are expressing the opinion of the writer per se. You can only argue at the best of times, what a writer may have meant – but you can’t ultimately prove it.
As for Reynold’s Army of Davids being "trashed by Rosen?" Well, everyone knows how good infamy can be in generating sales for books – Ginsberg’s Howl being a case in point. In Reynold’s case the peers judging the judging demonstrate nicely the domino effect (I include myself ironically in that comment also). Reynolds doesn’t seem too bothered by the slating – he knows what he’s worth.
What the important point is, is to note that Reynolds is an advocate of what might be paraphrased as the rights of the many to use the power of blogging, for whatever needs that it may fulfil. Petrona's blog shows a far more considered response to this idea, than I am capable of.
By the time the dust settles on this one possibly Reynolds book will be already out of date, since the pace of internet business development is so fast.
And the word for the day is: bloviate – to discourse at length in a pompous or boastful manner.