Wednesday, March 12, 2003


Blogging as public discourse? Ab-so-lutely. Quintilian on the orator, and John Logie on Quintilian (in that order) from blogologie:
" 'This exhortation of mine, however, is not de-signed to intimate that I should wish the orator to be a philosopher, since no other mode of life has withdrawn itself further from the duties of civil society, and all that concerns the orator. Which of the philosophers, indeed, ever fre-quented courts of justice, or distinguished himself in public assemblies? Which of them ever engaged even in the management of political affairs on which most of them have given such earnest precepts? But I should desire the orator, whom I am trying to form, to be a kind of Roman wise man, who may prove himself a true statesman, not by discussions in retirement, but by personal experience and exertions in public life'

Quintilian's slam on philosophers is, perhaps, a touch overstated, but the challenge he sets for orators is reasonable: get in the mix."

I think Quintilian's slam on philosophers isn't that off the mark, actually: it reminds me of the Ivory Tower charge often made against academics. Does blogging help us eggheads (no offense meant to dear friends and colleagues) jump out of the Ivory Tower window and land on our feet in the midst of a crowd of activists? Welllll, maybe it will, maybe it won't. But I think it is certainly a pathway or outlet for those inclined to "get in the mix."

- posted by laurie @ 3/12/2003 11:39:00 AM
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