Well, decision time, I guess. Here’s the last long-form post I’m going to use this Tumblog for, unless something else unexpected happens.
I was mulling what to do for a good while, and I thought I kinda had an (unsatisfactory) answer of what my own role could be – until I read Boima’s article on DJ’s and genre collecting again, and suddenly felt that perhaps anything I could possibly do would largely be negative. Boimas argument contains several more components (including a marxist critique that doesn’t apply here), but it presents three distinct challenges to the Approaches (#1 #2 #3 #4):
You can see why I’ve felt that this tumblog ought to be doomed. It can easily be construed as trying to “bring out”, it hasn’t asked anyone anything (although go ahead and ask me anything). And to a certain extent, it’s posited itself as an aloof authority.
But then I’ve thought a lot about Boima’s last argument again, and just lately it’s had such a resonance with me.
Partly because it sits so squarely with the fascinating cultural theories of Édouard Glissant and Gloria Anzaldúa, who speak of the radical power of relinkings and the uncertainty of marginalised borders.
And partly because I think it points to something very important abut the nature of Tumblr, too. That realisation came just this week, when I had a discussion with a friend who’d just recently joined the site. We were talking about patterns of gender on Tumblr, what women (who constitute the vast majority of users here) generally seem to do differently than men. Men, within our patriarchal power system, seem often to use Tumblr like a megaphone, picking a subject and then authoritatively pontificating on it. “I talk about Menswear!” or whatever. Competing, hipster-wise, dick-measuring for the best links, the most reblogs, the smartest individual pieces.
Whereas women, we agreed, often acted in a much more communitarian manner – as I guess the gender role dictates. They reblogged, they posted without pronouncement, they strung together dialectic narratives together accross their different identities. Whatever status competition exists is of a different kind, less rhetorical. And I think the fascinating thing is that the way Tumblr is set up seems to favour this latter approach. Credit for reblogs is shared accross groups. You can effortlessly bring together ideas from vastly different sources, some you may not even know. Ideas are created together. Masses of text (like this one!) are discouraged in favour of meaning constituted though intertext and juxtaposition. A lot more, quite simply, how Venus X DJs, and a lot less how Diplo does it.
Could I do that? Could I be a “female”-style tumblogger? I’m certainly male, white and privileged. And I’ve spent the time so far thinking digging and discovery, but you know what? To a certain extent Tumblr has been nudging me elsewhere. Random people keep reblogging me, from Guam to Indonesia to San Francisco. Whether I want to or not, I get pulled into the communit/ies. So what the heck, I’m going to try. To be a part, a conduit, a corner, a participant, a fellow subject.
How do I practically plan to achieve this?
So right. Last text post = this. Please do call me out (preferably here) if you think I’m doing it wrong, still.