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kottke.org posts about Manifestoes

Summer reruns

posted by Tim Carmody   Aug 09, 2010

This week, with your help, I’m going to try an experiment in service of an idea.

Most popular blogs, like most popular media, regardless of genre, spend 99.9% of their time reacting to and arguing about something that’s just happened, or is about to (maybe) happen. Jason’s aesthetic has always been different, because he’s always been just as excited about older things that have just been uncovered or rediscovered, marvelous objects and ideas in weird corners of the web that nobody’s paid attention to, or that have only just made the transition from analog to digital to become part of the web conversation.

Last year, I called this approach “paleoblogging.” Like paleontologists, paleobiologists, paleographers, and paleoarcheologists, Paleobloggers dig up blogworthy material from the past to see what makes it tick. It’s different from “slow blogging,” which you might have heard about; as far as I can tell, that just promotes taking a really long time to write posts that maybe nobody reads. There’s nothing slow or private about paleoblogging. The whole point is to work the archive, work your sources, take what’s still and get it moving again.

You can also think of Bruce Sterling’s description of the Dead Media Project: “A naturalist’s field guide for the communications paleontologist.” Now we’re at the point where even born-digital projects have to be resurrected for the 21st century web. We’re making and living within our own history. If “Liberal Arts 2.0” means anything, it’s that.

So this week will be devoted to things you’ve either forgotten about or have never seen before. I’ll be highlighting posts, articles, and projects that do this well wherever I see them, and rummaging through some dusty card catalogues myself (including some right here at kottke.org) to find things that deserve to be back in circulation.

And don’t worry; it’s going to be really fun.