17.342 serious blogging

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk)
Date: Mon Oct 27 2003 - 01:52:23 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 17, No. 342.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 06:45:18 +0000
             From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk>
             Subject: serious blogging

    Toby Dodge, in "An Iraqi in cyberspace", TLS 24 October 2003, p. 27,
    reviews Salam Pax, The Baghdad Blog (London: Guardian Books, 2003), which
    is apparently a transcript of a blog (Web log) continuing at
    www.dear_raed.blogspot.com. The reviewer explains very briefly the history
    and nature of blogs but is chiefly concerned with what "became one of the
    most authentic voices chronicling the build-up to war, the invasion and its
    chaotic aftermath. Salam Pax, in a witty, sometimes catty monologue,
    managed to do what the combined weight of the international media could
    not. Using a cheap computer and unreliable internet access, he documented
    the traumas and more importantly the opinions of Iraqis as they faced the
    uncertainty of violent regime change" and its chaotic aftermath. This is,
    and was, "intelligence" for free, in both senses of the word, but it was
    ignored, apparently. Pax documented in the build-up to war, "a population
    living under tyranny. Risking certain death if discovered, Pax describes
    the attitude of his friends and family towards the US but also to Saddam
    Hussein's Baathist dictatorship. For those seeking to understand Iraq,
    Pax's narrative, straightforward and sincere, is revealing. If
    decision-makers in London and Washington had taken the time to consult
    Pax's musings before the war, their understanding about the country they
    are now failing to control would have been greatly enhanced."

    A lively, consequential example of Web publication for our students. I
    wonder, is this the first example of a primary Web publication reduced to
    print for commercial publication?

    Unfortunately the review itself is not online, not yet even for
    subscribers. For the TLS itself see http://www.the-tls.co.uk. Curiously the
    reviewer doesn't ask or ward off the question of whether Salam Pax is a
    pseudonym ("peace" in Arabic and Latin would seem a bit of a stretch
    otherwise). One can understand why the fellow would take on a false name.


    Dr Willard McCarty | Senior Lecturer | Centre for Computing in the
    Humanities | King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS || +44 (0)20
    7848-2784 fax: -2980 || willard.mccarty@kcl.ac.uk

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