Apparently, the WSJ has an article today about blogging potentially damaging careers. I haven't been able to get my hands on the article, but I've heard the horror stories before. At the risk of stepping into the political arena, which I usually avoid, how much sense does this really make? Universities kicking out students because they blog? That's not only a violation of free speech; that's violating one of the main foundations of ACADEMIA. We're here to explore, to learn, to question, and to have and share opinions. If THAT is stopped by the Universities, then what, exactly, are we paying for in our education? IS that an education? No! That's a damned expensive piece of paper saying that you know how to dance when they tell you to dance and how they tell you to dance.
Maybe I'm too fresh and idealistic to the world of academia, but maybe that's the problem too. How can we expect future generations to stand up for themselves if we roll over now? As Ben Franklin put it, "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."* Have we slipped so far from that ideal? I should hope not.
I don't intend to step on toes (and as far as I know, I haven't yet), but I do want to spread word about Cool Things in Classics and maybe show some other Classics majors that they're not the only ones flailing around and trying to make it further. I'm grateful for my readers who have followed me from just another blogging student to following news of the Sappho poem to the excrutiating pain of The Empire to my much more enthusiastic reviews of HBO's Rome and so on. And it greatly disturbs me that anyone could consider such an attempt worthy of being shut down.
Then again, as one of my friends so expertly commented on the controversy of blogging--"They said the same thing about printing presses." Hopefully it's just the standard over-reaction to new technology, and the pendulum will swing back to something middling soon.
I should think Universities would delight in the fact that they've produced students eager to learn and to share, students who want to think a little for themselves and use different media to find new ideas. I should think they would want their faculty engaged in this as well. Otherwise, what else are we? Little more than automata. Is that what academia has become? Producing automata? Plato would be rolling over in his grave right now. Universities are supposed to serve the quest for knowledge, not somebody's bank account.
Anyway, I hadn't meant for this post to take over and turn into a rant (or a passionate plea), but it did. My apologies. In somewhat related news, Chris Weimer has posted some very interesting things about "Biblioblogging" "Femiblogging" and Blogdom. It's a long read, but I think it's an interesting one. (Plus, he mentions me at the end, and I'm very flattered!)
*Thanks to my "secret reference source" for looking up the exact wording of the quotation for me!