That reminds me ...
Cathy Davidson blogs at HASTAC, a MacArthur Foundation project examining digital
issues in the humanities. The tagline of her blog notes that it's "on the
interface of anything", a description which I can verify is perhaps surprisingly
accurate. Recently Davidson wrote
about the metaphorical use of the term "selection", and the sometimes
troublesome consequences that can result from confusing this use with its more
precise, scientific meaning. Toward the middle of this rather lengthy post she
concluded a paragraph with the words "but I digress".
As I read her post, those three words jumped out at me, causing me to ask how
often I use them. Two separate searches confirmed my suspicion - I've never used
that phrase. This is actually quite logical, since in order for me to digress
there would have to be a norm of keeping on topic, and the Boidem is perhaps best
viewed as an extended digression. It would perhaps make more sense for me to occasionally
write "but I'm sticking too closely to the point".
Cathy Davidson is highly eclectic. She takes pride in examining a wide assortment
of topics. Knowing this, I found myself wondering whether her use of the phrase
was a simple acknowledgement of her getting slightly off-topic, or whether there
was perhaps a tone of self-criticism to its use, an acknowledgement that she hadn't
been able to refrain from doing something somewhat distasteful. Nobody compelled
her to digress. She apparently chose to do so, yet for some reason she seemed
to feel that she had to apologize for her action.
Davidson has published quite a few scholarly books. She undoubtedly know how not
to digress. Perhaps hers is even an example of what I understand as the correct
mindset for writing a book - a concerted effort at overcoming digression, an extended
"keeping to the point". I don't think I've got that sort of perseverance
Go to: Why don't you write a book?