"The coming to presence of Enframing is the danger."
"Don't write a blog," says Chris Hedges. "Especially," he adds for good measure, "if you're a good a writer." Ouch! Actually, his reasons are pretty good: all good writing is rewriting. That's true. But I find it comical that he puts down blogging and, in the same breath, defends the weekly column as a literary form. He spends, like, days writing his columns, so it's much deeper than anything I could do on a blog, right?
Of course, he doesn't understand what blogging can be. He thinks it's "just sort of banging something out when you get out of the shower". As if banging out a column every week is really going to turn your prose into literature. He "crafts" his columns, he says; well, I craft these blog posts. I think about what to write during the day (sometimes, like last week, I've got the whole week's posts planned out in advance), decide on a core claim before I go to bed, and get up in the morning and write the post in exactly 30 minutes.* I'm not going to claim it's high literature, but I'll be damned if I'm going to let a columnist condescend to me. There's a lot of things I admire about Hedges, I should say, and I've even taken his side on my other blog, but this writerly pose of his is altogether overwrought. Yes, a book is "slow food" for thought but, no, blogging does not mark the absolute limit of meaningful writing. There's a way to mean something in any medium.
So... I just got myself a twitter account. As with my mobile phone, I understand "the danger". "As the danger," Heidegger tells us,
Being turns about into the oblivion of its coming to presence, turns away from this coming to presence, and in that way simultaneously turns counter to the truth of its coming to presence. In the danger there holds sway this turning about not yet thought on. ("The Turning", in TQCT, p. 41)
It's easy to make fun of that kind of Heideggerian bombast. Simon Blackburn did a capable job of it in his review of Contributions to Philosophy. Where he also points out the problem of translating terms like Ereignis as "enowning", which yields passages like this:
Time-space is the enowned encleavage of the turning trajectories of enowning, of the turning between belongingness and the call, between abandonment by being and enbeckoning (the enquivering of the resonance of be-ing itself!)
I'm going to skate along on the surface of all this rhetoric and explain my strategy for using twitter.
I will not simply turn about in an enquivering oblivion that loses itself in the everydayness of the hustle and bustle of commenting on passing events, passing into oblivion. Rather, I will use Twitter to recover forgotten posts from this blog. Keep in mind that many of them were written in that disciplined way I just talked about. This means that each post really expresses a single, well-defined point. And that point is usually expressed in a sentence in the post itself. My tweets will consist of strong claims that are linked to posts that elaborate them. My tweets will not be of thoughts "not yet thought on" but thoughts being recovered from oblivion to be appropriated in the event of being. I quiver (appropriately) at the prospect.
*A confession: this post took a bit longer than 30 minutes to write. I spent a half hour on the weekend drafting the first two paragraphs about Hedges after I came up with the idea. I completely agree with him that "writing takes time", my point here is that this time can be spent in many media, including blogs and tweets. But let's not forget the danger: time can also be wasted there. But then a book can be as complete a waste of time as a tweet if written (or read) carelessly.