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Jason Pontin

A View from Jason Pontin

Welcome

Victorian ladies and gentlemen of a literary bent sometimes kept what they called a “commonplace book.” Into a commonplace book went cuttings from journals and newspapers, scraps of prose or poetry that struck the compiler as relevant to her interests,…

  • May 12, 2005

Victorian ladies and gentlemen of a literary bent sometimes kept what they called a “commonplace book.” Into a commonplace book went cuttings from journals and newspapers, scraps of prose or poetry that struck the compiler as relevant to her interests, and fresh thoughts that might profit from further revision. The entries were dated as in a journal. Interestingly, commonplace books were public journals and quite distinct from any private diary the person might be keeping. Family members were free to jot helpful remarks in the margins–or indeed, pen their own entries or attach their own cuttings.

The parallels with blogging are amusing: commonplace books were “remixes” of commonly available materials, spiced with reflections on the day’s events. In any case, this blog of mine will be a kind of commonplace book: a public journal, responding to current events, or expressing thoughts that I would like you, my readers, to improve and polish with your comments.

I am the Editor-in-Chief of MIT’s Technology Review. In this blog, I will try out ideas that I am considering writing about or assigning to other writers. Please tell me what you think. Your ideas may appear in our magazine or Web site; and if you really hate something, maybe you can dampen my enthusiasms.

But not everything I write about here will be concerned with technology. I am interested in many other things, and I juggle a variety of projects. I hope some of you find those thoughts interesting also.

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