Wednesday, April 16, 2003


I was going to sit out this issue, but what Dorothea writes about honesty pulls me in.

I was reading the developing discussion and accepting the idea that literary or symbolic truth is what matters. After all, as a historian I work with the idea of social construction; I don't believe in one truth. But like Dorothea, I have a history that makes honesty very important to me. I wouldn't want to feel close to someone and then discover that the story they have been telling was intended to deceive.

So the question to me is whether weblogs inherently imply honesty or give us genuine connection with another person (different from reading a novel). I like what Steve says about weblogs being a new form distinguished by reading over time as the author writes. In a larger sense, of course, Weblogs aren't inherently anything, but clearly two traditions have clashed here: the weblog as a way of exposing the self (which is what drew me into the community), and the equally strong on-line tradition of creating a character on-line that purposefully doesn't match the person actually doing the writing. I realize the second can also be liberating, but I don't like the feeling of having been fooled (I hate April fools day).

I certainly don't chose to tell everything, and I know even in more honest writings than these I edit events for narrative flow. But I seek to represent myself, not misrepresent myself, and I would rather live in a world where fiction is identified as such.

Update: Burningbird has a wonderful discussion of these issues.

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