Monday, May 24, 2004

# Posted 9:05 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN: I need a vacation to recover from my vacation. Bachelor party in Vegas. Drive to LA. Rehearsal dinner. Wedding mass. Wedding party. Flight back to Boston. Arabic final the next morning.

Although deprived of sleep, I am quite well-rested intellectually. I am actually excited to start working on my dissertation again. But I am a little apprehensive about blogging. Dissertation research behaves itself while you're away. When you come back, it is exactly where you left it.

But the blogosphere goes wild. How can I possibly catch up on hundreds of news articles and thousands of blog posts? How can I say anything without exposing myself to withering criticism from those who are now better informed than myself?

Yet strangely, I didn't feel at all disconnected from the world when I wasn't blogging. I threw an occasional glance at the headlines, but nothing seemed all that important. My life went on exactly as it had been going. No one I talked to seemed all that concerned about the news. What really mattered was that one of my closest friends ever, someone I lived with for four life-changing years, was entering into a life-long relationship with the woman he loves.

For someone who spends hours a day reading about, thinking about the news, this break served as an important reminder that very few of us inhabit the insulated reality known as the blogosphere. By the same token, it served as an important reminder that neither journalists nor politicians, no matter how important, play a prominent in the lives of most Americans.

One might argue that Americans should be more publicly-minded and better informed. But how much information is enough? At what point would the experts agree that American citizens know enough?

Of course, I am hardly the first one to consider the implications of such questions. Two hundred twenty-five years ago, the Founders sought to strike the right balance between creating a democracy and creating a republic. To what degree must elected representatives obey the will of the voters and to what degree must they act in what they believe to be the voters' best interests?

I have no new answers to these questions. I am simply glad that taking some time away from OxBlog enabled me to confront the real-life conditions that give rise to these eternal dilemmas.
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