December 23, 2000

I spent the day in Seattle yesterday, hanging out at Left Bank books and the Speakeasy Cafe. In the evening, I met up with Dave Grenier, and chatted about anarchism, social justice, eco-fascism, and the internet. Later on, we talked to Jessamyn, who seems to know a whole lot of the people whose weblogs I read. Here also, we chatted about politics and weblogs.

It occured to me that weblogs, insofar as they are a self-referential scenester* thing, are pretty useless, and generally don't fulfill their promise of really filtering what's on the web. However, I reckon they're still a pretty worthwhile phenomenon (from my narrow perspective) because they create a sort of infrastructure of participatory media which could facilitate an alternative to mainstream media. Kind of a McLuhan-esque point, I guess: what people use the medium for is less important than the kind of communication which becomes possible in that medium. It remains to be seen whether it will be used in a 'revolutionary' way. That's probably wishful thinking on my part.

*David had some interesting things to say about "scene" culture. What I got from his comments was that "scenes" are more about belonging to a group with shared values (however shallow the actual practice of those values), and less about doing something because it is interesting in and of itself.

I just finished reading bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics. Excellent book, and short and easy to read, too. hooks has a way of making very powerful ideas come across in very easy to understand terms. Funny thing, though, I noticed a remarkable number of typos. Maybe it was a vindictive printer.

(Quibble: I'd link to Powell's, since they have less evil policies and a unionized staff, but I find that Amazon almost universally has better information about books, mostly because of customer reviews. Seeing as my intention in linking to a book is to point to where more information is available, I link to Amazon. Maybe if there was a script that would generat the following: 'read about it at Amazon, buy it at Powell's'.)

posted by dru in blog