Sunday, 16 August 2009

A note on lists and blogging

Here’s an interesting observation that I thought about developing (but ended up excising) from my paper on blogging. Walter Ong refers to “the noetic significance of tables and lists, of which the calendar is one example. Writing makes such apparatus possible. Indeed, writing was in a sense invented largely to make something like lists: by far most of the earliest writing we know” serves this purpose (Orality and Literacy, 98-99).

Lists are an important part of blogging discourse. Before I began blogging, I never used to compile lists of any kind. Nowadays, blogging has shaped my thought-patterns in such a way that I often catch myself (almost unintentionally) creating all sorts of mental lists and categorisations. I usually resist the temptation to blog such lists, since I tend to feel that mere list-making represents a regrettable trivialisation of language. But it’s interesting to reflect that technologies of writing may have originally been developed for the express purpose of making lists.

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