I try to keep my posts on the topic of Hebrew, and occasionally NWS, grammar. But, no doubt to my co-blogger’s chagrin, I have also been motivated to diverge from our grammatical focus a few times, such as with my thoughts on book reviews, journal submission evaluations (parts 1 and 2), and now … student blogging.
This issue has recently been raised here by Brian LePort, who is preparing a conference paper proposal on the topic. I couldn’t help commenting on one of the posts; subsequently, he asked me to pull my thoughts together in a more coherent fashion. Ouch — coherence, that’s a tall order.
Yes, there is the rare student blog that I think understands the value of the exercise (I recommend this one as a model—the blogger used posts to work through a PhD reading list, like writing a précis for each article or book and, importantly, avoided sharply critical comments and any personal or private narrative). And yes, there is the rare blogger who makes connections through his blog (for example, I would not have met the interesting Charles Halton if not through his blog). But for each of these, there are ten stories of foot-in-the-mouth disease, thus making the successes the exceptions that prove what I consider the rule: don’t blog until you have tenure!
My position was formed in the forge of real life (happily for me, it was mostly someone else’s failure). First, I learned early on in the blogging phenomenon that I had difficulty coming across well in my comments. I suspect I came across more often than not as a jack-ass. (Wait—I am a jack-ass! I think some ideas are just stupid and don’t mind saying so. Ok, so my example isn’t the best.) Second, I was indirectly involved in an incident a few years ago which strangely mirrors the 19th-century exchange I recently “discovered” (inserted below). I recommend it strongly. Enjoy the brief tragicomedy.