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August 3, 2011

The ideologeme is a vague entity at that stage of its inner development when it is not yet embodied in outer ideological material; it can acquire definition, differentiation, fixity only in the process of ideological embodiment. Intention is always a lesser thing than creation—even unsuccessful creation. A thought that as yet exists only in the context of my consciousness, without embodiment in the context of a discipline constituting some unified ideological system, remains a dim, unprocessed thought. Voloshinov.

Hello all,

I’m e-mailing you because I at some point mentioned to you an idea for
a team blog, and you expressed interest in said blog.

The whole blog idea sprung into mind because I’m sad to be leaving,
and I’m going to miss having intellectual discussions with my Reed
friends.  I approached you because you are particularly dear friends
of mine, I thought you might be interested, and (perhaps most
importantly) so far as I can tell you don’t make each other too

I want this blog to be an oven in which we can bake our half-baked
notions.  For those of us who will be quickly overwhelmed with
graduate school or thesis or the like, this will be a place to post
fragments of and ideas for theses or papers or responses — things
we’re doing anyway which we think might be of interest to the others
or which might benefit from a more casual presentation.  For the rest
of us it will be a place to put ideas which might otherwise remain dim
and unprocessed.  But more importantly it will be a common forum for
the discussion of these ideas, and where they can mix with one another
on equal ground, rather than remain sequestered away in our own blogs
and journals.  Who knows? Maybe they’ll start breeding and

I’d like to make the attempt to post something (a new thread, not just
a comment) at least once a week; this is helpful for me, but it might
be frustrating for others.  But it’s what I plan to do, and anyone
else who benefits from a little structure might consider it.  It’d be
nice to have everyone contribute fairly regularly, but I understand
that there are those who will contribute more regularly and
enthusiastically if they are able to do so spontaneously.

I wanted first of all to check in and make sure everyone’s still up
for it, but there are also a few things I’d like your help with before
I go ahead and set the whole business up.

(1) A name.  I’m really bad at names; the only things I can think of
are silly things, like “The Notion Oven.”  Worse yet, we may need two
or three names.  Any help here would be appreciated!

(2) A service.  The easiest thing to do would be to just use blogger
(which allows such shenanigans as team blogs); many of us have
accounts there already, and situating our team blog in the midst of an
already-existent web of connections might help support it.  But I’m
open to suggestions, and Élan in particular has misgivings about the
way they do formatting.  Which brings us to:

(3) Making it purdy.  Darby’s good at this; maybe she could help me?

Hope to hear from you soon!


i’m in! me me!


My approach to the blog, I think, would be to treat it as a place for me to put “incomplete” ideas. I used to post a lot more often in my LiveJournal, but lately I’ve had the problem that I always feel like, if I’m going to post about a topic, I have to include every thought I have about that subject. So when I think about posting about any particular thing, I get intimidated by the amount of time and effort it would take to write down everyone I want to say, and I end up not posting anything — and meanwhile, I’m accumulating more and more thoughts, making the prospect of a future post on the topic even more unlikely. I’ve gotten around this psychological block by posting stuff on Facebook, which forces me to be fairly brief, but I don’t think Facebook is the right medium for the things I want to say. (I always feel like there’s something inevitably pretentious about posting “intellectual” stuff on Facebook, as if I think I’m too good to just post funny pictures and party invitations like everyone else — and commenting multiple times on my own Facebook statuses, as if I’m talking to myself, probably just makes me look crazed.)

So, in short, I just want a place where I can write down what I’ve been thinking without feeling like I need to be comprehensive. I think this dovetails with the goals you described in your email — and hopefully if other people are posting frequent, relatively short things, that will inspire me to get over my comprehensiveness compulsion.

I don’t have any name suggestions. “The Notion Oven” is pretty good.

I don’t think I can be much help with blogging services either. seems popular, though I don’t really know what advantages it has relative to blogger. (It’s easy to find charts comparing the two, but I don’t really think any of the compared features really matter to us. Unless we want to be fancy and buy our own domain name, in which case blogger is apparently the way to go.)


Yay, I’m on board with this as well. Thanks for getting the ball rolling, Sam!

Aesthetically, I like wordpress better than I like blogspot but practically, I really don’t know which is a better platform for collaborative blogs. Are we each going to maintain our own and interlink so they appear on one page or are we creating a separate, communal blog? I kind of like the idea of the latter, though either way is fine. About the name: I think the ‘oven’ theme is a little womb-y, though that could work (pregnant with thoughts, etc.). I’ll keep thinking about it. & I agree with Rob, that my biggest problem with my personal writing is that I muse too long and never lock anything down. I tend to footnote every thought unnecessarily and then my writing tips more toward the david foster wallace than simone weil side of the scale.

Also, I miss you guys and would love to hear what you’re working on. (Though I won’t have much to contribute to you math and physics kids).

love, E.

A separate, communal blog!

Also: the other problem with the oven business is I don’t really want
to be associating ourselves with these folks:

Also: between Elan and Elizabeth, I’m leaning toward WordPress.

Who votes nay?


From Facebook:

E: what about palimpsest as a blog theme/title?
Sam: Hmmm….
Sam: I think it might look quite fetching with an
accompanied by the right adjective/other qualifier.
E: it needs to accessorize? I agree.
Rob: A qualifier would also help clarify that the blog has nothing to do with the Catherynne M. Valente novel Palimpsest, which is probably more well-known on the internet than the general word/concept itself.
Rob: Sam: WHAT is neither a word nor a concept? I
keep reading over your post, but I just see a string of letters.
Sam: It’s a mystery.
Sam: All: I want alliteration! (Partly out of affection for the letter “p.”) The Pink Palimpsest! The Precocious Palimpsest! The Pornographic Palimpsest! . . .
Sam: The Pinpoint Palimpsest!
carobrick: ‎”partpalimpsest” is available on wordpress

I suggest we register and put “Part &
Palimpsest” as the title.


Okay, you’re going to have to clue me in here. Is this a play on “part and parcel”?


It is. (I’m not entirely sure what I mean by it, but I never am.)
It’s also an index of my fondness for iambo-trochaic rhythms.




That had actually occurred to me too, but I figured it would be too risque.


It might be less dirty spelled palimpsestuous. Also possibly less cool.


I am a fan, although whatever works. Also, I’m going to need a wordpress tutorial.


Yes yes yes! I agree. partpalimpsest, part & palimpsest, yes very good. Thank you, Sam, for putting this in motion. My silence is not a lack of enthusiasm. As soon as we get this running, I’ll tell you about evocative parallels I see between Claude Lanzmann’s 9 1/2 hour holocaust documentary Shoah and Peter Greenaway’s mad formalist experiment The Falls.


Well if that isn’t an enticement to get this thing running as quickly
as we can, I don’t know what is!

So possibilities right now include:

1. Part & Palimpsest/partpalimpsest

2. partpalimpsest simple (e.g. Part Palimpsest)

3. palimpcestuous

I’m worried that if Rob needed to be clued in about Part & Palimpsest,
it might be too weird; Elan’s suggestion may mean he was dissatisfied
with it as well.

What do people think?


part & palimpsest has a good ring to it


Also – I fear my mania for trochees (cf. ) may
have twisted the part/palimpsest juxtaposition away from Caroline’s
original intentions.


I like Elan’s (facetious?) “palimpcestuous” because it somewhat mitigates the threat of erasure/replacement inherent in the idea of a palimpsest, but I also like Part & Palimpsest a lot and I agree that we should get the blog up and running so we can read Jane’s imminent post ASAP. perhaps we can just establish among ourselves that this particular palimpsest hinges on a 3D legibility that doesn’t override its antecedents but builds on/around them.

Anyway, guys, I’ll be sad when our wrangles over starting up are finished because this has been fun–maybe we should skip the actual thing and just write everything we were going to in the guise of creating a fictional blog? like that barthes book that is kind of like his novel but actually it’s all his notes on what he would write if he were to write a novel?

xo E

i have no original intentions! let’s just make it!


All right — I’m ready to register as soon as I hear from Rob…

Perhaps — as a nod to Elan’s suggestion — we can give it a subtitle
such as “Some Palimpcestuous Musings,” and maybe I’ll post — as a nod
to Elizabeth’s — a transcript of this e-mail exchange as an


Go for it! I approve of the subtitle too.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 7, 2011 7:14 pm

    I like categories. How does everyone feel about tags as well?

  2. August 7, 2011 7:51 pm

    You’re it! Sounds good.

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