I’m doing some (very last-minute) writing for my paper on blogging for this year’s MLA convention. Yes, I know I should have finished the paper weeks ago, but now I get to hole up in a Caribou Coffeehouse playing saccharine Christmas music near my parents’ house while frantically polishing off this paper. But, anyway, as I was writing, I began thinking about blog types in terms of Bill Nichols’ documentary modes. Rather than looking at different blogs in terms of genres, I liked the idea that blogs themselves entail a mode of engagement with the world. I’m not sure that I will use that particular framing, but as I was doing some quick Googling on Nichols’ use of this term, I stumbled across an old post by Girish about Nichols, one that illustrates another assertion I want to make about what Jill Walker-Rettberg refers to as “topic-driven” blogging, namely the ability of blogs to serve as a public form of gradual knowledge-building. Naturally, Girish describes this process much more eloquently than I ever could:
Here’s my single favorite thing about blogging: being able to educate oneself in public. Going through this process—trying to move forward, stumbling, groping, occasionally finding—in full view of the world does not always stroke one’s ego. Each week you find yourself writing not about what you know but about what you perhaps hope to learn from the process of watching, reading, and struggling to think through and articulate.
Girish’s account is very similar to my own experience, and I think that his ability to express curiosity about a topic, whether it’s the state of film criticism or the history of documentary is what makes his blog such an impressive forum for scholars, fans, and journalists alike (not that these categories don’t overlap and intersect). Talk about a happy accident.