March 23, 2003

· Sociology

Always wanted to say that. And it’s true! I’m back at home in my new role as a respectable married man.

I strongly second most of Jim Henley’s observations about What He Won’t Be Doing now the war has started. (It’s about time Jim got added to the blogroll, incidentally.) The efforts of Sean-Paul Kelley to chronicle everything-as-it-happens are heroic (we’re already up to newflash XXXIX —I’m waiting for number 88), but I think Kevin Drum is right that it’s all a bit frantic, and rather more heat than light. Similarly, I think the OxBloggers (and academics like them) should stick to their considerable strengths rather than becoming a poor imitation of the BBC news ticker. One wouldn’t want to risk descending into a Sullivanesque world of self-parodic blog-around-the-clock.

Although many will want to feel themselves a part of it—feelings of national pride and solidarity are very powerful, after all—most of us have no real role in prosecuting this war. We’re spectators. Better to be an informed commentator than succumb to the temptation to get high on the war’s emotional energy.

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I am Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center.

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