An interesting article from the Spanish-language EFE news agency on “the blog as literary genre” — a topic I sometimes pretend to have an opinion about.
- El pasquín, el “blog” del siglo XVI que los ultraortodoxos usan en el XXI | Ana Cárdenes, EFE, 8/4/10 (Centro de Estudios de Medios, Argentina).
Hundreds of posters cover the walls of the ultraorthodox Jewish neighborhood of Mea Shearim, a world in which the banishment of radio, TV and blogs on religious grounds has made the pasquínade a principal mode of communication.
I always like to point to medieval scholiae — interlinear and marginal commentary — and the study of reader-annotated books in Victorian England as similar examples.
These pasquinades, written in Hebrew and Yiddish, often anonymous and full of satire, are an essential means of disseminating information among members of the isolated ultraorthodox community, whose rigorous interprettion of Jewish law prevents the use of other media.
The ban on looking at photographs of women or listening to their singing — along with the general believe that ‘everything new is prohibited by the Torah’ — inspires many haredim (literally, ‘the fearful’ of God) to turn their backs on secular media, depending on the posters for information.
Garcia-Márquez, En Mala Hora, is a fine literary exploration of this same mechanism.
‘It’s like blogging to them, what one pasquinade says may be rebutted in another, and many are signed with pen names. They cannot use the Internet, and if they want to publish something and be sure everyone reads it, they use the pasquinade,’ explains Menachem Friedman, an academic expert on the subject at Bar Ilan University.
Actually, since the genre predates the Internet by centuries and centuries, it might be more useful to view blogs as just an outgrowth of the pasquinade in an electronic format.
If you think of the blog as merely a piece of digital paper, it is not as surprising that people will use it to create texts in just about any genre that you can think of. A blogged tragedy is a tragedy is a tragedy so long as it has anagnorisis and stuff
Born in XVIth century Italy as a response to Catholic authorities,. its use among the ultraorthodox was popularized by Mea Shearim, in downtown Jerusalem, in the XIXth in the former Palestine. The community rejected the first stirrings of Zionism out of a belief that the state of Israel should not be created before the coming of the Messiah.
What is geolocation tagging but a 21st century version of the old hobo codes?