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What Mark Elrod Said: Week 4

A blog post by proud member of the bourgeoisME.

For some, there was magic—or perhaps it was the Holy Ghost—in the air around Mark Elrod’s blog this week. JRB, for example, swooned: “Oh, if only I could link to him; you’d be so impressed!” But to that, I can only reply “Whatever.”

The thing that had the bourgeoisME gushing was a new feature Elrod calls “ME Study.” Teaching, Elrod said, is rewarding, and he would never abandon that vocation, but soon after he started blogging, he realized it was introducing him to an entirely new audience. As a blogger, Elrod found that his ideas reached as near as his neighborhood, as far away as Israel. Whether avid or occasional, his readers turned to him for insight; and because his readers were students and retired professionals alike, he learned from them. Elrod reasoned that blogging could become an extension of his profession, a way to invite a wide range of people into the complexities of international relations. Moreover, as he demystified his profession, he could also refine his own ideas, which in turn would influence his teaching. The idea for it, he said, had been bouncing around his Macbook for a few years, but he had always hesitated to introduce it. It was the freedom that came from limiting his audience that encouraged him to introduce it now.

Reportedly, the first “ME Study” post was a 750-word exploration of the politics surrounding the Olympics, which according to Elrod, is one of the few times that international relations is truly in the public’s eye. He illustrated his point by analyzing the 1936 and 1972 Games, both of which are still deeply controversial. From that survey of history, Elrod then explored some of the possible (he was careful not to say “likely”) long-term consequences of this year’s Olympics in Beijing. Apparently, the post was well-received: comments were up, and some of the bourgeoisME who never comment weighed in with some astute observations.

But I only say that second-hand, because I neither read the post nor the comments. I much prefer the days of caption this, apocalypse that. And I never get tired of campaign blogging. Frankly, I found the atmosphere in the club too blue for my blood, and rather than stick around, I went outside to hang with the smokers.