I’ve been dreading the day I would finally have to sit down and write this post because I didn’t like the thought of being last. After this our class blog will probably go silent, so I get the last word on behalf of my fellow “superstars.” I wish someone else had taken the job.
Trying to think of what to write for this has been a bit of a struggle. What we’ve produced is an incredible log of experiences, reflections, and ideas, and I’m not sure if I should be leaving a loose end or trying to somehow tie it all together. It doesn’t help that this post is (was actually) due at a really hectic time, but even though it’s late and I don’t have a whole lot of time to do it well, I figured I should write something.
I’ve never been in to reading blogs. They basically seem to me like platforms for neurotic, self-indulgent people to broadcast things that I have no desire to tune in to. Maybe it’s just my own misconception, but from what I’ve heard the majority of blogs are about fashion, celebrities, or the experiences of some mindless little 13-year-olds in their homeroom classes. Those probably get more readers than we did, but I guess they are easier to read, and are more relatable to the people who (I assume) most often follow these things.
But I’ve gotten a kick out of reading what everyone wrote this year. Like Rob said in his symposium presentation, the weaknesses of our blog were, paradoxically, its strengths; posts were, as far as blogging conventions go, too long and not necessarily following a central theme or using a particular voice. But because of this we stuck out and probably got more readers. The Internet is full of useless junk, but this proves you can post something more complex and someone just might read it. That being said, we did have help spreading the word. I don’t know what Dr. Clary-Lemon’s expectations were for this thing, but I think we’ve done alright.
Our blog was unconventional, yet we managed to get, and maintain, a decent readership. The diction was not that of a blogger who is talking to a mass audience. It didn’t quite fit in with pre-conceived notions of how blogs should read, how long posts are, and what they are about. We started out as strange outsiders, but we became part of the Winnipeg blogging community, even getting ‘shout-outs’ from other local blogs. And good for us, we were after all students in a writing course.
Like Lynn said in her last post, communities are organic, constantly shifting and changing. In class I also felt like a strange outsider. It’s not that anyone wasn’t friendly, but I felt like Johnny Rotten sitting in on a Beatles band practice. A bunch of talented, good-natured, valuable members of society, and one degenerate bum with nothing constructive to offer, only at least Johnny was never afraid to talk.
Maybe everyone felt that way. We did get to know each other pretty well by the end of the year, but it’s not like we’re bff’s (to use what I assume is normal blogger geekspeak). I did get to meet interesting people though, and each person was unique.
This year has been a journey, and it has come to an end. Like most journeys, in order to be complete the heroes (us) should return to where they began to imbue into that place their newfound wisdom. To borrow a line from Joseph Campbell, we have to return so the “boon may redound to the renewal of the community.” For us it was like 2 journeys, the one most students go on from our home communities to the class and back, and the other from the university to our community partners and back. The blog was an ongoing log of our experiences, and the symposium a way to share “the boon” with the university community. I have no words to explain the horror I felt that day, but I think that it was a positive endeavor. I’m not saying that I enjoyed presenting, or even that I’m personally happy having done it in hindsight, but it was positive in the larger scheme, and at least I didn’t have some sort of public psycho-nervous breakdown (sorry if I disappointed anyone, I’m thinking here of Matt).
I’m not going to go into the virtues of liberal arts education, Richard already did a great job of that in a post a few weeks back. One thing this blog did, and the symposium as well, was provide a rare opportunity for us, as undergrads, to talk about our “research.” We talked a lot in class over the year about different methods of argument, and how we sometimes respond better to “hippy flakes,” or at least something other than the financial discourse commonly used to persuade in the Western world. I think that it would be a little arrogant to assume that we will have had any effect in saving or renewing interest in the endangered liberal arts, but we used the symposium and this blog as platforms to talk about the virtues of a variety of things on other terms. Whether we were talking about a huge island of trash in the pacific ocean, our new bus system, a museum that seems like a temple to those who are building it, a phony sit-in by CEOs, corporations, wildlife rehabilitation, hacking, or health, we questioned dominant structures, we gave things value other than dollars and cents, and helped to redefine what can be done by the liberal arts undergraduate community. As the “superstars” of the rhetoric community, maybe we shouldn’t have expected anything less.
I wish I could offer some final words of wisdom, but I can’t. My former classmates are all, at the very least, as wise as I am, probably wiser. What I can say is that over the course of my education I have developed a healthy contempt for just about everything in society, and I think that has always been one of the points of what we do here in this community.
Anyways, if any of my former classmates read this, I wish you all the best in anything and everything that you choose to do, and I would like to say “goodbye eveyone” (inside joke).
It’s been a slice.