Sunday, March 11, 2007

Who reads this blog anyway?

In my last post, I asked any editors reading this to contact me about a "review of reviews" of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's book. This is hope over experience. When I look at the site meter to see what kinds of searches lead (a very small number of) people to this blog, they apparently are:

  • People interested in spanking, either researching the law of child corporal punishment or else straight interested in adult spanking porn, apparently because I once mentioned on this blog a book on human rights and corporal punishment of children
  • People interested in porn related to (clothed) female guards and (naked) male prisoners, apparently on the basis of a legal memo posted to this blog and written by one of my research assistants on court cases dealing with the conflict between prisoner privacy rights versus cross-gender employment rights in prisons
  • People interested in photographs of nude adolescents by Jock Sturges and David Hamilton, apparently because of a post mentioning a book review I had done on nude photography in the TLS back in the 1990s.

You catch the drift. Those searches account for a very sizable percentage of hits on this site. Among the academic searches, the largest part seem to be:

  • Students searching for help on just war theory for term papers - there is a dependable surge toward the end of each semester on exactly this topic, and related matters like Michael Walzer, laws of war, etc.
  • Enquiries about the celebrated international legal scholar Martti Koskenniemi - apparently, a brief post I wrote about his work is cited somewhere on Wikipedia
  • The occasional international legal scholar who thought he or she was going to Opinio Juris!

I'm not quite sure what I intend this blog to be, and since I only occasionally have time to post, I only occasionally think about it. I'm not really interested in the sort of comment on the news blogging, but tend instead to think of it as a sort of open filing cabinet or public notepad. Why it should be an open notepad, rather than, say, actually taking notes privately then working them up into some polished public article or presentation is a very good question to which I have no answer.

I can say that every one of my serious, professional editors - we're talking TLS, NYT magazine, LAT book review, etc., superbly professional editors of impeccable judgment - has thought that blogging was bad for my prose style - accentuated the worst habits toward verbosity and sanctimony and bad jokes and whining and believing that first draft is good enough for last draft and that kind of snide aside that so deforms much blogospheric writing, combined with an informality of language that infects everything else in a bad way. So. I don't actually deny it. One editor friend told me that as far as he could tell, this blog really served as a sort of advertisement for myself - one the one hand, pure self-indulgence, and on the other, a way of disseminating my work, such as it is, in the brave new world of intellectual production in which, unless you are much more important and famous than I am, no one quite knows the rules for distributing high level, uneconomically self-sustaining academic cultural production. All that is probably about right. I'll try to think harder about this - later. I have some real work to do!

3 comments:

Guanaco said...

I came across your blog by searching the blogosphere for "cello OR cellist". I've compiled a list of 93 blogging cellists (so far), including soloists, professionals, teachers, students, adult learners, amateur afficianados, etc.

Many of us blog primarily about our experiences learning to play the cello (as I do), others blog about their lives as cello students in University or music school, still others rarely mention their cello playing but blog about other things in their lives. Two common threads - we blog and we play the cello.

I now faithfully follow these 92 other bloggers, almost like a multifaceted soap opera. Even when I want to virulently disagree with a political rant by some of them, I discover some nugget of value in the reading. Equally often I am challenged by the thoughts and points of view.

I am often humbled by your blog. It is so rare to see such considered, thoughtful and intellectually balanced arguments from any side of the political spectrum (especially in blogland).

G

Hugo said...

Hi Mr. Anderson,

reading your rather melancolic post I feel compelled to feedback so you don't eventually desperate and close this very interesting blog of yours!

I find your blog so intelligent and accurate that i feel that other people like me might feel a little overwhelmed by your range of knowledge so you don't get comments or feedback. That's a possible reason!!

I myself I'm writing a PhD on Philosophy on a subject related to just war (at the University of Paris, Sorbonne) so I keep reading your posts because I feel they are fertile insights into the subjects, always interesting and exciting.
Anyway I'll try to comment your posts so you don't feel like speaking to the void!!

BTW being a Spaniard myself, I find that your Spanish is very good, and enjoyed your Blog about your period in Seville. Quien no ha visto Sevilla no ha visto maravilla!!

Greetings from Madrid

Caroline Kim said...

Back when I was first waitlisted at WCL, I googled your name after seeing your faculty profile (international business and fluent in Spanish!). I've been in Spain the past year (Madrid, although I agree that Sevilla is one of the most beautiful places in the country) and have tried to keep up your posts when I can (although I somehow missed this one), in addition to reading your old entries from Sevilla. I hope to be one of your students in the near future!