Steve Sachs Duke


Sunday, November 24, 2002


Welcome! Today is my 23rd birthday, so I decided to celebrate by starting a blog. Having left my previous haunts at The Harvard Crimson for warm, sunny Oxford, I quickly realized that something was missing from my life. It's like any addiction; go a few weeks without writing a column, and you start getting the shakes.

Unfortunately, the two Oxford weeklies — the Oxford Student and the Cherwell — didn't seem like the right kind of forum in which to take up my old habit. Both are afflicted with severe circulation problems, and they exemplify the finest editorial standards of the British tabloid press. Even better, the Cherwell hasn't updated its web page since last spring.

Until arriving in Oxford, I had never realized how much difference a strong campus daily can make. A good newspaper can serve as the common ground for a university community — something especially clear now, as Harvard debates the invitation of poet Tom Paulin through The Crimson's op-ed page. At Harvard, anyone with an interest in university events could be trusted to read the paper frequently and perhaps even contribute occasionally. But Oxford has no comparable institution; instead, information filters down through a thousand different channels, none of which provides a very clear picture of what is going on. Making matters worse, Oxford is a remarkably decentralized place. The University as a whole has relatively little claim on a student's identity, which is divided among individual programs, departments, or colleges. And without any common space in which students can share ideas, there's little reason for that to change.

So, deprived of an appropriate outlet, I've decided to create my own. My hope is that I'll be able to post once every few days, and that the posts will generally be longer, essay-type pieces rather than just links to articles. (I don't read widely enough to find much that's very original, and it seems like cheating to simply repost links that you could find by reading the sites on the left.) I also hope to avoid, so long as this enterprise lasts, any witty neologisms involving the word 'blog.'

So, here goes. I'm new at this, so I'd welcome any comments or advice from readers — feel free to drop me a line here.





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