Sunday, August 08, 2004

on post hoc corrections

Dr. Vallicella writes:

This raises a question: should one or should one not correct past posts? I can imagine reasonable arguments on both sides of this question.

I write with the intention of providing the readership with, at the very least, a decent example of English. Being a perfectionist in this regard, I have no compunction about returning to months-old posts and revising something I deem unsatisfactory-- typos, poor turns of phrase, badly expressed ideas, etc. The blog, for me, is not simply "a record of my thoughts," as some bloggers say of their own blogs. I have no problems with such an attitude, but it's just not me. When I spot an ugly error, I feel an immediate desire to correct it, and so I do. I'm not always successful; the Maximum Leader recently quoted my June 15 birthday tribute to him, and to my horror I found a typo staring at me in one of the early paragraphs. I corrected the error on my blog (though not on the ML's blog yet, where the piece was re-posted).

I also write with the intention of collecting my writings into book form. If I can clean the prose up sufficiently here on the blog, then the assembly and editing of the book's manuscript will be simpler than it might have been otherwise.

All the same, my blog isn't a self-conscious art-of-writing blog. Visit Stavros if you want that kind of self-consciousness. I might engage in the occasional language rant, but ultimately I feel that good writing teaches more by example than by explicit rule-quoting.

Finally, I view writing as a process, so it makes little sense for me to "freeze" my words on the cyberpage. If I were turning a work in for a professor, I'd want to make sure the prose and content were as clean and streamlined as possible. I'd like to offer the same respect to my meager readership, even when I'm shit-blogging. The holy point of convergence between shit and blogging is the crucial notion of movement. My writing, like my asshole and Yoda's view of the future, is always in motion.


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