Intellectual exile in the town I loved so well.

I resisted writing, speculating, pontificating, screen slobbering here on my website for the last number of weeks. (business brains might call it the first quarter) Firstly and perhaps most obviously because cataclysmic events around our world, Australian floods, New Zealand earthquakes, the revolutions or uprisings and consequent loss of innocent life in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and most recently the triple tragedies in Japan threaten to render these scribblings as utterly infantile and wholly irrelevant in that context of such real world human strife. I haven’t even mentioned the wars. On certain days I may only feel like a child playing in dust while much of the adult world burns about me.

Secondly those horrendous shifts in the world in recent months and years, consigned the near societal collapse here in Ireland to a minor, self obsessed side show and whether it’s seeping septic civil war sentimentalities, IMF/ECB bailout barracking, domestic economic collapse or carrion scavenging for political power, the cultural truths and artistic spirituality inherent in our collective societal identity, in my humble view, such transient elusivities have already suffered additional damage, diminishing worth, eroding any potential importance and significance as much during this very real period of recession as it did during the party of the false ego boom years. Prayers required please for inside and out but mostly to keep the reactionary commodization of all of Irish life at bay.

Enda Kenny, a career politician, won the wooden spoon and having been elected Taoiseach was summarily instructed by his EU ‘partners’ to continue business as usual in doling out the medicine for our economic ills. The new politics the Irish people were promised is a ham-fisted extension of the old politics, a sort of awkward ambidextrous attempt at a prosthetic slight of hand that only served to emphasize its dull artifice and aborted extensions of previous administrative failures…..

I edited out a much longer (and stronger) political rant above & here, cognisant of the fact that if I’m that totally completely utterly sick of it all then I’m certain (any) readers of this page are equally exhausted and disillusioned when it comes to the marathon media bullshitfest that was pawned off as recent political coverage. Someone please put Pat Kenny, Sam Smith and Noel Whelan into a small room containing five large rabid Rottweilers, two tins of Erin Gravy Mix, some small portions of winalot and one overfull boiling kettle.

So the world, albeit burnt and perhaps burning out, continues to spin that little bit faster and those for us idiotic enough to be independently involved in humanities, digital culture, creative writing (i.e. of/on our own volition/funds) get spun around like everyone else. As with any rotation, focusing on a couple of fixed points helps us to keep some semblance of balance.

In recent years many of those fixed points themselves have begun to rotate, move and shift. My own fixed points were creativity and technology, yes two areas constantly shifting, evolving, even excitingly unstable… yet seen as safe intellectual havens to which I could return again and again, no better escape from dull reality than jumping into virtuous virtualities in either world, even better when alternated.

Thus sheer Joy (or should that be Jouissance) to discover that they converged, in programming, design, digital literature, games, multi and digital media, Kittleresque extensions containing theatre, painting, writing, prosody, the circle itself (re)turning again as voice, light and presence sought new forms of inscription, recording, some new latour-ean aramis, echoing an inner ulmerized desire for electronic expression, connection, community a netpoetic tapestry of networked rhetoric, a reflected digital discourse mirroring global critique..

All of which seems to assume a futuristic critical framework, layers of technology enabled/augmented language yielding new, modern even postmodern or posthuman understanding, Joyce was already a webmaster in print, just how ridiculous and wondrous would his creations read had he been trained in dreamweaver, do serious academics ever laugh ? does the general public care about such things ? how many questions are too many ? Is saint Patrick's day the ultimate paddy Irishman joke ?

Critical writing performs a function outside of the academy but still panders to some ideal of a two hundred year old merchant class mumbling squad… the function of this writer is to write, the function of the professional reporter is to get paid. I’ve been working on my dissertation materials quite a lot recently, I have been writing… which was the third most important reason not to write in this electronic space, I have been selfishly writing for myself and (potentially) my own academia advancement, on April 1st 2011 I enter my third calendar year as a PhD. I still haven't offered up any significant portion of my research to a general audience.

I have mostly stayed away from controversy, community and broad discussion, through occasional engagement in various forms and forums, tools, like twitter and FB, a couple of interesting lists ( some listed on the bottom right of the page) I essentially remain exiled by my own idiosyncrasies. Last year I took part in the Day of Digital Humanities, this year I’ll do the same, if god spares me.