Archive for June, 2009

Kaboom in Book Form

Kaboom, one of the Milblogs I will be writing a chapter on, is going to be published by Da Capo Press end of this year or early next.

This is especially pleasing because he was censored and forced to take down his blog in June 2008. (Although, thanks to the wayback machine, google cache and the quick relaunch by Kaboom himself, the blog never really was offline.)

He hasnt commented on how they are going to solve the problems that surface when translating a blog into book form. Filling in the gaps with some background information and additional commentary by the blogger himself seems to be the most established solution.

It would be fun if an experimental publishing house combined some of the ideas of publishing hypertexts from the late 90s with blogging principles and came up with, I dont know, a Milblog in a Blogger-shaped Mamushka boxset or something.


Talk About Religion and Milblogs

God is with You: Intertextuality and Interactivity in Milblogs from the Iraq War

I have been wanting to upload this talk I held at the yearly conference of American Studies in Germany (DGFA) in June 2007 for quite a while. Its been a little since I held it and there are some things I would change if I had to write it again, still I think it is an interesting take on how addressing a superior power as a form of relief during wartime is shaped under the conditions of blogs.

Plus, it offers a close reading of an excerpt from A Day in Iraq, which is one of the more eloquent and moving Milblogs I have read.

Podcast on War 2.0

There is a worthwhile interview on the altogether very worthwhile (at least for readers that know German) with Thomas Rid, who not only has excellent taste (having chosen the same fjiord layout for his wordpress blog as me) but recently published War 2.0: Irregular Warfare in the Information Age with Marc Hecker.

The podcast spends quite some time on soldier’s blogs and their potential value as  PR in the various counterinsurgency efforts the US is currently involved in. This is something milbloggers have been saying for quite some time and which the Army seems to be picking up on, slowly but surely. (Am thinking of LTG William Caldwell’s appearance at the 2008 Milblogging Conference for example).

I have ordered the book and can’t wait to read it!

New Milblog Research in Germany

I happened on the article ‘Erzählstimmen aus dem Terror‘ about Milblogs by the Literary Studies scholar Stefanie Fricke based at the LMU in Munich. This is only the third academic article I know of that has been published on Milblogs in Germany next to the two I published.

The article does a good job of introducing  important Milblogs and raises some interesting questions concerning language and narrative in blogs.

I am not quite clear on what is meant with ‘aus dem Terror’. Is terror meant as a general description of the state of war or as ‘a state of being’ and or as a ‘frame of mind for writing’?

Lets hope that this is one of many articles yet to come!

The Citizen Soldier and the Citizen Journalist

I recently found a rather interesting if somewhat aged article by well-known neoconservative and Wolfowitz-Advisor Eliot Cohen which discusses (in a very declarative and normative way) what Cohen calls the “unnerving rebirth of the citizen-soldier” in a professional US Military.

One of the concerns he has, is that the continued myth of the citizen-soldier is making it possible for the professional military to demand individual rights (free speech, political influence etc.) which threaten the discipline necessary for a functioning military according to him.

I am neither capable nor willing to evaluate his take on the rights and duties of soldiers (professional or citizen) – and he is obviously still in conversation with the military about this.

What I found interesting is that he had been thinking about the enduring concept of the ‘citizen soldier’ long before Milblogs were popularized and brought this issue to the forefront of the milblogging community. Milbloggers famously demanding ‘the right for free speech by those who make it possible’ are doing just what Cohen is criticizing, demanding a right guaranteed to citizens but not guaranteed to soldiers.

In terms of my project the intersection between bloggers’ self-styling as ‘citizen journalists’ and the emergence of a ‘citizen’ concept in the military are very interesting and in my latest chapter (which will be available sometime in the future in book form) I discuss possible ways in which libertarian bloggers might have influenced soldiers in their quest for individual rights.

Cohen, Eliot, A. (2001). Twilight of the Citizen Soldier. Parameters. Sommer 2001. 23-28.