Midway through the 346 comments on that thread, I realized that whatever it was that was happening there, it has nothing to do with why I do this. An email exchange with Andrew sealed the deal: whatever academic blogging will become, it should not be so brazenly political. The larger world can be engaged without directly engaging the larger world. I want my spaces to be free not from dissent so much as formula: no one benefits from a common increase in the rigidity of all opinions.
I will still venture into unfriendly wilds with abandon, but I will no longer invite the jungle in for drinks. I can interact with everyone who participated on that thread individually, which goes to show that the internet may be less like a classroom and more like office hours. Maybe I ought to start treating it as such. What does this mean?
- Acephalous will no longer tackle politics unless they directly relate to something in which I possess some expertise. (Granted, that would not have stopped me from commenting on Gates, what with me having focused issues of race and community leading up to the dissertation, but the general principle is solid nonetheless.)
- My contributions to Edge of the American West will focus on the relationship of literary history to history history. All jokes about trolling and trawling to the contrary, that is why they hired me in the first place.
- More from me on The Valve. I'm its editor and it's my field and it's time to put these post-dissertation doubts to rest. I need to do what I was trained to do instead of worrying about whether everyone will see that my degree was undeserved.
- I'll embrace my new gig, which is . . . roll some drums . . . at Feministe. A few weeks back I sent Jill an email in which I admitted to spending Monday mornings sifting through Sunday's shameless self-promotions and having to fight the urge to post a number of those links at one of my places so as to not to be tacky. Starting this week, I'll be collating them over there. (Not sure exactly how that'll work yet, but I'm working on it.) I'll link to it from here, because I can't overstate how much those Mondays have changed me. I'll delve into the how and the why over there come Monday.
I'm terrible at mission statements, but figure that if ever there's a time to make one, it's when your desk is pointed a different direction in a new city full of unfamiliar but not unpleasant smells.
That time is now.