May 08, 2005
Membership

I start, as I often have, with George Trow's Within the Context of No Context, and often with this insight (which he titles Membership):

"The middle distance fell away, so the grids (from small to large) that had supported the middle distance fell into disuse and ceased to be understandable. Two grids remained. The grid of two hundred million and the grid of intimacy. Everything else fell into disuse. There was a national life -- a shimmer of national life -- and intimate life. The distance between these two grids was very great. The distance was very frightening. People did not want to measure it. People began to lose a sense of what distance was and of what the usefulness of distance might be."

Reading this today, for the first time in a coupla years, helped me make some little sense of blogs and their/our triumphalism. Utopian or at least self-congratulatory as it may be, there is a new kind of middle distance, an opposite to Trow's "no context." It makes the giddiness of blogging make some more sense, and it puts Kos and the biggies into a historical and media and political context. (And makes me think that the communes and such of the 1970s were another and different try at a middle distance, but that try could not sustain its own weight.) That's all. Nothing profound. Don't forget to read your Trow.

Posted by dbrown at May 08, 2005 11:02 PM
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