November 3rd, 2006

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11:34 am - on problems that are good to have but still annoying...

Originally uploaded by chrismaverick.
So, there's this annual conference on pop culture that is being held in Boston next year. Under the pretense I insist on forcing on myself that I'll actually be out of debt enough someday that I'll be able to afford to go to grad school and make something of my life, I allowed ludimagist and beststephi to convince me that I should submit to it to become a presenter. I submitted two abstracts, and amazingly both were accepted. Unfortunately, the rules of the conference state that I can only present on one topic, as they want to avoid scheduling conflicts.

So now I have to make a decision on which one to pursue.

Which of the following seems more interesting to people?

The "Masculinity" panel: Where I would discuss my life as a pro-wrestler and where wrestling fits in modern media culture (particularly comparing it to other combat oriented entertainment from boxing to action movies).


The "Electronic Communication & Culture" panel: Where I'd be discussing narcissism on the internet and what people have to gain from personal publication (particularly relating to my experiences in this blog, my old epinions postings, the 365 project).

I am so entirely conflicted here, I don't know where to begin. Opinions?

(27 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]From: jameel Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 04:48 pm (Link)
The latter.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 04:50 pm (Link)
reansoning why?
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 04:50 pm (Link)
More interesting to me.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 04:56 pm (Link)
that's fair. Thanx.
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:01 pm (Link)
I think the latter will be more entertaining to a broader audience.
From: ludimagist Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:16 pm (Link)
The thing is he's not presenting to a broad audience, he'll be on a panel with 2-3 other people presenting to anywhere from 5-30 scholars who are specifically interested in the panel's topic.
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:26 pm (Link)
Ah, hm, I hadn't realized that (only briefly eyeballed the link to the conference).

Well, I find the latter topic more appealing/interesting, put it that way :)
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:29 pm (Link)
point taken... which is actually what I was asking. So thank you.
[User Picture]From: sonbanon Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 07:37 pm (Link)
Sure but I'm not going to be at that conference, so you probably should be thinking about what the attendees are interested in, right?
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:29 pm (Link)
exactly. The topic doesn't need to be broad, specifically... anyone at either panel would specifically be interested in the panel.

That said, there is something to be said for presenting in front of the panel with 30 people instead of the panel with 5.
From: ludimagist Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:37 pm (Link)
You can't measure how many people will turn up at a given panel by the catagory unless there is someone famous presenting.

Either way you are presenting specifically in front of people (and with) people who are interested in, and possibly experts in, your field.
From: ludimagist Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:13 pm (Link)
Obviously they're both good and valid, but I still say you're safer with the wrestling one in terms of research methodology and whatnot.

You've already gone through the primary research and fieldwork and will be able to speak about it with much more authority. There are a couple things you should look up cause you may be asked about how your work relates (stuff like Professional Wrestling: Sport and Spectacle By Sharon Mazer) but all in all you're dealing with your experience as the primary source of the paper and can speak with authority as an auto ethnographer. Also, though there is a lot of writing on professional wrestling, I don't think anyone has gone and trained in it and been a participant observer and then been scholarly about it, so you will have a lot of cache in that sense.

The same can be said to some extent about the photography project, but when you present it will still be a work in progress so you might save that for when it's done and you can be more authoritative. Also, since there is much more conflicting theory in circulation about that sort of thing and many people writing on it already, not only will you not have the cache of the other topic, but you'll be subject to a lot more psuedointellectual masterbatory nonsense that will go from amusing you to annoying you really really fast.

Also, speaking from within academia, you are likely to be taken more seriously with the wrestling paper than with the photography one without having or being in progress for a grad degree.

You should still keep the abstract for the photography one and submit it elsewhere, maybe when you've done all 365 days of yourself can can do an overview. You'll probably still have other participants in the project a year from now anyway and more to draw from.
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:31 pm (Link)
certainly true. Of course, to be fair, I actually have far more experience as a blogger/net.personality than I do as a pro-wrestler.

Like I said, I'm torn.
From: ludimagist Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:43 pm (Link)
Yes, but there are a lot more people theorizing about internet personality than there are actually going and training in wrestling. You can speak with much more authority in an academic context about wrestling.

And still present the internet paper next year.

I'm just saying, you'll probably have a better first conference experience if you do the wrestling one.

You know, you might want to check out tsenft's journal. She did her dissertation on internet personality and had it published as a book (and is pretty cool).
[User Picture]From: jeremiahblatz Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 06:36 pm (Link)
I agree that you should do the wrestling thing. Certainly you've done more blogging than you have done wrestling, but you have wrestled more than other people more than you have blogged more than other people. (IOW, (you_wrestling/others_wrestling) > (you_blogging/others_blogging) ). I think you could be a more outstanding speaker on the Masculinity panel.
From: nckd Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 06:46 pm (Link)
I think it's always better to go with the more original topic in an academic setting, as long as you can speak on it at all well, and there's not nearly as much done on wrestling and masculinity as there is on the internet. Blogging is pretty well covered in pop culture studies, I think -- it's kind of like open source in my field.

Plus, as people above have pointed out -- you have more distinctive experience in wrestling than in blogging.

From: nckd Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 06:48 pm (Link)
Also, there's the advantage of the literature being smaller, so you're not caught up on something you haven't read because you're not devoting all your time as a grad student to reading about that topic.
[User Picture]From: thebenedictine Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:41 pm (Link)

Really, who else is going to be able to talk about something like that? It's an angle that most other people aren't going to have.
[User Picture]From: suicideking Date: November 3rd, 2006 - 05:57 pm (Link)
The Masculinity panel. The topic is a lot more focused.
[User Picture]From: lacechenault Date: November 4th, 2006 - 12:53 am (Link)
Electronic Communication & Culture seems like the more interesting to me personally.
[User Picture]From: sui66iy Date: November 4th, 2006 - 04:55 am (Link)
Wrestling. For mostly the same reasons as people cite above: seems like it's less well-trod ground and your perspective is more relatively-unique.
[User Picture]From: yozhik Date: November 7th, 2006 - 06:20 am (Link)
Go with the mojo and do the "Masculinity" panel. It sounds far more interesting and unique than your ECC panel topic, which to be frank strikes me as calling the kettle black. Honestly, after livejournal, friendster, myspace, blogs, and everything else out there, who doesn't understand that vanity drives a large portion of the Internet activity?
[User Picture]From: yozhik Date: November 7th, 2006 - 06:27 am (Link)
Just an addendum to my thoughts here:

Essentially, I think there is plenty of stuff already from various people about why they got into the Internet and self-promotion. Consequently, I don't think it's all that new or interesting of a topic. If you have something more extensive to say, such as a quantative analysis of social networks, I'd say that would be the topic to discuss. Otherwise, you are probably not going to covering much new ground unless there is something really unique about your experiences.
[User Picture]From: jin_aili Date: November 9th, 2006 - 04:01 am (Link)
my 2 cents is the masculinity panel. People above have mentioned most of my reasons - it seems more original than the blogging thing. I actually think that masculinity is a really interesting and needed topic to balance out all the focus on women in gender studies for the last umpteen years.

let me and xthlcm know when you'll be up here in Beantown!
[User Picture]From: chrismaverick Date: November 9th, 2006 - 05:09 am (Link)
of course... it'll be in April sometime. And for the record after also being accepted by a couple other panels, I ultimately chose masculinities. It should be exciting. I am looking forward to it.
From: ludimagist Date: November 9th, 2006 - 03:50 pm (Link)
I'm glad.

I think you'll have a much better experience on that panel than you would on the others.
[User Picture]From: sundaygray Date: December 10th, 2006 - 01:18 pm (Link)
d00d, how did I miss this post???!!!???!!!

Oh yeah. I like, hardly read livejournal.

Well, anyway, it is fucking BADASS that you got those abstracts accepted. They both sound like great ideas. I'm going to say go with the wrestling, because the internet stuff has been done before (not that it's not relevant, but since you have to decide between the two) and the masculinity angle has not received quite as much play. Also, I feel like you examine issues of gender, actively, all the time. Whereas the whole thing w/ narcissism --I don't think you actively confront these issues.

If you want any feedback, from brainstorming to proofreading, I'm your woman.

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