Looks like I might finally get to inbox zero, as 43 folders calls it. (I shouldn’t tempt fate, though).
My fellow-placeist, Dave Lull, sends me lots of links, so what I’m going to do is to provide the "placeist" ones here, in this one post, so anyone else sympathetic to the concept (actual or virtual placeists are both fine) can take a look for themselves.
(Did you just come in to the story here? Placeism is an old-fashioned concept which is being revitalised by the power of the Internet, essentially. Some of my earlier ramblings on the topic are listed in my sample posts in the left sidebar or "about" page.)
First up, "a sense of place" is a link to a book review in The Weekly Standard by Patrick J Walsh on "thinking globally, while living in the South". The book is a collection of essays by Marion Montgomery ( a he) — 26 of them — advocating regionalism "rooted in time and place". The review is pretty good, I thought, explaining the difference between this conviction-placeism and the "provincialism" of other Southern writers like Faulkner and Capote. "Provincial writing is all too common today, and is truly cold-blooded, lacking any moral sense or sensibility, and uninspired by any transcendent reality. It is a literature that, in America today, finds an all-too-receptive audience."
Next of Dave’s links is to a posting on PrairieMary about non-monetary compensations — the mini-economy of local trade (cigarettes for fresh produce), or sex and secrets (which of course also apply on the wider stage). "But what I wanted to get at in this little piece is some kind of understanding of prestige, status — the sort of thing that used to be called honor, dedication, or even sometimes professionalism. At one time doctors had it. Today in Great Falls the doctors are in a big food fight over who can own a hospital and whether they have to take in emergency patients who can’t pay. This was once unthinkable." Teachers and religious leaders have changed similarly. The only answer to these general trends, in PrarieMary’s thinking, is in taking pleasure in small achievements. Don’t give in to pressure to measure your achievments by others’ expectations (particularly those of your parents), seems to be the message; invest in simple understanding, not in prestige.
Another link from Dave is to an article on the BBC news site by Dan Gillmor, who seems to have "got it" that the internet in general, and blogging in particular, is the new market. "The more serious cyber-journalistic competition appears to be for niche topics, where bloggers and other people using democratized publishing tools can win audiences by going narrow and deep, instead of the wide and shallow coverage that prevails in much of the mass media." (Virtual placeism is what he’s talking about.) Gillmor argues that the threat to serious journalism is not from the bloggers (a correct view, in my opinion and in that of lots of sensible people — the two media are complementary and overlapping) but from businesses using technology’s power — advertising, marketing and the like. Monster.com, Craigslist and EBay come in for some flak. I think that Gillmor’s piece is thoughtful and well-argued, unlike much on the BBC site which I find rather trivial, not that I read the output that often. Gillmor is drawing attention to a problem that needs addressing (all this net neutrality stuff is an example of the forces of evil at large). But just how it should be addressed escapes him (and me) — other than getting talking about it , and bringing some of that famed bloggers’ analytical skill to bear.
OK so if you have got this far I will just finish up by providing one last link, turn your blog page into a pdf file. Bit of light relief. I haven’t tried it yet, hope it works.
Thanks very much again, Dave, for all the links and food for thought.