JC: [Laughs.] When you're talking about the debates I hold with my readers and the way I put up critiques of my position, what academic life has to offer is open debate and being honest about your sources, about how you come to a conclusion. The whole point of my blog is to attempt to represent the life of the mind in a public forum. I view what I do as different from politics where you want to stay on message, stay on point. You want to put out an image, a position and stick to it. You make fun of your opponent for waffling or being indecisive. But what serious thinker hasn't gone back and forth? You'd have to be crazy if you didn't consider other options than the one you initially started out with or if, over time, experience didn't sometimes cause you to take a different position.
You know, Whitman said:"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." That's the American spirit, so I'm happy to debate these things, reveal my thinking, and let the world see how one intellectual concerned with the Middle East deals with the array of information that's coming at us over time.
The second part of Juan Cole's interview is up at Tom Dispatch. I was struck with Cole's understanding of blogging because that is exactly what I think academic blogging should be. Obviously, that is only _one_ understanding of blogging but that is the one I wholeheartedly endorse. Put that in your manifesto.
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