Jill Walker has just been awarded a prize from Norway's Meltzer Foundation for her blogging as a form of research dissemination. Besides being a well deserved honor for her, the award is a perfect smack-down for the Ivan Tribbles of the world, who would no doubt look past the scholarly content of Jill's blog and complain about her lack of 'commitment' to her field. After all, someone who spends so much time playing World of Warcraft and taking photographs can't be a serious academics, can she?
What is truly pernicious about Tribble is he seems to think that scholars cannot also be human beings, at least not in public. Building a career is, for him, a matter of garnering vita lines and suppressing "quirks." But scholarship is pointless if it has no relation to lived experience. I admire the scholarly content of Jill's blog, certainly, but I admire it even more because it is situated within the record of a life that covers the spectrum from the mundane to the tragic. Personally, I think that is exactly what serious scholarship should aspire to.