Tony Gurr


In Our Universities, Technology, The Paradigm Debate on 30/05/2012 at 12:43 pm


A few days back I did a post about how TEACHers are finally “trumping” SCHOLarsand, not with Lightsabers, X-Wing Fighters or even a Death Star…but through their blogs! 


Yep, the pixel is finally proving to be mightier than the crusty old journal… 


Salman Rushdie (aka “Sir Ahmed”) and I have since become very good virtual palsyou see, I needed some advice on how to deal with the ivory tower fatwā that has been issued in my name.

Actually, it’s quite cool having a price on my headbut, come on all you miserly dons£1,999 is hardly worth getting out of bed for, these days!

To be fair, there are more than a handful of brilliant and “blog-enabled” EDUscholars out there – I highlighted the work of Larry Cuban in that last post.

There are others…

These tech-savvy EDUscholar bloggers just “get” that blogging gives them an opportunity to engage the public (remember what we said about “public service), get speedy feedback on their work – and, enhance their academic reputations to boot!


on-the-whole, academics (or “academicians” – never quite “got” that word) have been very slow off the mark with allthingsblogging.

That’s OK – I know it can take time to learn how to use e-mail and put together a PPT presentation…but, and here’s the deal, I just do not get those scholars who seem hell-bent on taking down the blogosphere…


Problem is…unless these chaps (and they are mostly “chaps”) can pass round the collection plate and come up with $852,000,000,000,000,000 (which is, BTW, 13,000 times more than the current global GDP figure) to take us “out” – they might as well pack up their quills and retire.

For example, in the Humanities, many professors just cannot not seem to get their heads around the fact that digital technologies are transforming the way we read, interact and “thunk”.

Collaboration, open-source sharingand “caring” are IN (…big time) – and I (for one) do not care if this just does not “fit” with the type of Literary Criticism we developed in the early 20th Centurythe type of Literary Criticism we are still (mindlessly, in many instances) TEACHing to our university LEARNers.

As far back as 2008 (and that is a century or two on a digital timeline), Molly Flatt was telling us that academics need to get over the “insular intellectual acrobatics”  they pull off in their little academic “guilds” and referreed journals  – and called for academics and bloggers to co-create a new, more interactive platform for literary criticism.

Stanley Fish, professor of humanities and law at Florida International University, tells us that “the Old Order Changeth” – but also does not get why so many of the peeps in literary studies still “do business” as if nothing had changed in the last 50 or 75 years.

And, then we have the “blame-gamers” – those academics and literary critics that sob into their G and T’s and whinge about the decline of “public” criticism or the “death of the critic”.

All the fault of those bloody bloggers!


What these chaps forget is this criticism, in its purest sense, always had a “moral purpose” – to instruct, to guide and to shape. This is what Aristotle believed.

There was no real “art” of criticism until people like IA Richards and other “Cambridge Johnnies” got hold of it and turned it into a “professional science”, to be practiced only by those who had had sufficient “training” to do so – the “scholar”.

Literary Criticism thus became a “business” practiced by-initiates-for-initiates, with little connection to TEACHing and LEARNing (which, again, is what Aristotle believed that criticism should be – moral purpose).

Bloggery…drags “criticism” kicking and screaming out of the ivory tower and takes it back to its roots – an opportunity for writers to educate, inform, and provoke readers – and hence promote LEARNing ….



…and smell the ink from the 3D printer – bloggers cannot be blamed for the decline of film and book criticism in newspapers and magazines…and university registrations!


The “failure” lies at the feet of those who have not…will not LEARN, ADAPT, GROWand get off the planet quicker (while leaving a blogging legacy).

  1. Aahah. Really well Done!

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