What the Internet is For

Over the last week, and really the last few months, I’ve been expanding my internet reading. Out of the dozen or two blogs I’ve been perusing, I can’t remember which one said that the internet began in its adolescent stage of instant messaging, pornography, and video games, and that it’s about time the internet grew an interest for long articles (Google Scholar) and academic work (TED Talks). This brings me to what I’ve been trying to corral into my browser: academic blogs.

And I’m doing all of this heavy reading right at the end of my undergrad. It’s an interesting culmination to think about. I’ve spent the last three years trying to find the most eloquent way to slaughter Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations,” only to find poetic critiques of orientalism on WordPress. I’ve been tip-toeing the whole peace versus justice thing with Peskin before finding pretty strong arguments for one or the other. And, probably the most important, my slow shift on activism.

Through most of college I debated whether I’d find my calling in activism or academia. More recently I’ve been leaning on the academy or even shifting on over to development. Over the last year and a half I’ve been running headlong into the reality of how activism and development have great potential – and squander it. In Uganda I ran into some critiques of Invisible Children, and in McElwee’s course I encountered some really strong rebuttals to the Darfur-is-an-ethnic-conflict and the conflict-minerals-are-barely-the-problem narratives. I only wish I ran more into the Darfur-is-a-genocide rebuttals, as I’ve only just been trying to unearth more of that now. Anyways – all of these topics have resurfaced in the last week or two in the blogosphere, and it has been enthralling to say the least. I find myself learning and re-learning some great arguments, and also seeing some of the established media in an even more critical light than usual.

I’m starting to get the hang of this internet thing.


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