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Wednesday, April 03, 2002

"I Have Seen The Future, And It Blogs" Geoffrey Nunberg's observations about language and culture almost always make me smirk, or consider, or both. He is a regular contributor to National Public Radio's "Fresh Air." Sadly, by the time I inhale "Fresh Air" it often has gone somewhat stale. (While my computer downloads the broadcasts each day courtesy of Audible, it can take awhile before they get added to what I'm listening to in the car as I commute.) This morning I caught up with a show from last December, where Nunberg put blogging in historical perspective alongside George and Wheedon Grossmith ("Diary of a Nobody") and Anais Nin, among others. Nunberg likens the "accretion of diurnal detail" in blogs to "what the novel was trying to achieve when eighteenth-century writers cobbled it together out of subliterary genres like personal letters, journals, and newspapers, with the idea of reproducing the inner and outer experience that makes up daily life." He wonders whether "anything as interesting" as the novel could "grow up in the intimate anonymity of cyberspace." Personally, collectively, I think it already has. (Nunberg's other "Fresh Air" commentaries are collected here on his site.)

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