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Saturday, May 2, 2009

The (Blog) Writer is Always A Fiction

When I was in graduate school, Walter Ong published an article that proved to be very influential: "The Writer's Audience is Always A Fiction." I don't remember anything about it beyond the title. Ong, who was a Jesuit priest as well as a scholar, remains an academic hero: in addition to writing about Ramist logic, he published many groundbreaking books on media, on the shift from manuscript to print culture. These studies are relevant today as we move from print to on-line culture--such as the present blog.

I am here to tell you that not only is the audience always a fiction, but the writer is as well. I mention this because a student who reads this blog now and again said "I know so much about you and your family."

Oh REALLY? You think so? This writer--even if you do know her name--is a fictional character.

I commented on a few blogs this morning, and everything I said was true: I did put our son on our Amex account; I did pay off my mortgage early; I did get new kitchen cabinets in August.


Mrs. Jane Doe said...

Well said and very true. I look at the blogging world similar to that of a radio personality. You hear their voice and listen to what they say and how they say it. Assumptions are made to some degree. You get a mental picture in your mind how they look but when you do see their faces, it can a different story. Do we not do the same in some way with the blogs we read and follow?

Great and thoughtful post.


Frugal Scholar said...

@Thanks, Mrs. JD. Your blog persona is wonderful! Thanks for understanding my point.

sallymandy said...

Such astute observations. Thanks. I'm fascinated by this evolving medium of communication and even art. And also aware of the fiction of the writer. You know that bumper sticker, "God make me the person my dog thinks I am?" How about "Make me the person I appear to be on my blog."

Frugal Scholar said...

@sallymandy--Love your blog persona too. How about bumper stickers, tee shirts, and tote bags with your slogan?