Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Cultural post-modernism applied to blogs

I am culturally post-modernist. I value all points of view across the globe equally; and I advocate free, unbiased flow of information. Wow, big, meaningless words! But what it really boils down, for a blog, is respect for originality. It can be summed up in the following principles:

1. I write in the original language: This simply means that I ideally discuss French topics in French, Vietnamese topics in Vietnamese, etc. I don't always do so. For example, discussing a popular American movie in English is very pointless. Since such information is without doubt everywhere on the internet, such a post would violate my beneficial-to-the-public principle.

2. I write from the original point of view. This means that I tackle topics in their entire cultural context. Speaking about la crise des banlieues en France with an American political-correctness attitude would result in statements like "Why don't French people have affirmative action? That's like the most basic principle of cultural respect." An average French person would toss that argument down the drain.

3. I write with the original terms. This means quoting titles, names, words, expressions, links in their original language form. Romanization/anglicization can be added after for clarificative/pronounciation purposes.

These are, for me, the most important aspects of being a conscious and responsible blogger/person. How do these principles play out in my life? Well, for example I have been learning French lifelessly and without purpose for most of my high-school years. Then I came across a movie in English called "Léon" and was immediately sucked into it. The movie inspired me to learn French in a more serious way, to familiarize myself with the French culture, and eventually to live in France for half a year for a full language immersion. A similar process has just begun for me with Japanese, inspired by a quasi-obsession with the very-cute 小澤マリア (Maria Ozawa). Let's see how far I'll burden myself with this infatuation (:

What does it mean for you readers? Ideally, I would like you to follow this very same practice for yourself, but I know that doing so requires time and energy, two things made obsolete in the modern world by online translators and stripped naked by the American cultural invasion. Give it what you can. Start with step 3, then then work your way up. Notice the parameter I chose was language, you are welcomed to modify this to whatever you want. For example, if you choose "Stanley Kubrick" as the origin of your obsession, you can start by defining things in Kubrick's terms, watch all of his movies, then argue from Kubrick's point-of-view, look up secondary and tertiary sources on Kubrick, etc. Before long, you will be a Kubrick-expert, speaking fluently in Kubrician.

There it goes for cultural post-modernism. We, the 21st-centurians, control the key to the future. The question is, which door do we want to open up for the next generation? Bloggers of the world, unite!!!

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