When a rumor began to circulate during the first week in January that Michael Bérubé would soon be shutting down his blog—confirmed in due course by an official statement/explanation—it was big news in this little world of “web” “logs.” Sure, there are plenty of places online where you can find discussions of Stuart Hall, economic populism, Ralph Nader, the NHL, and disability studies. Just not all in the same place at the same time. Bérubé had been at it for three years, during which he built up a large readership and even managed to include a number of blog entries in a collection of essays published by a university press.
So when the news got out, there was a general groan of dismay from many quarters of the academic and lefty/progressive commentariat in the United States. And in particular from that subset of each consisting of hockey fans. The shutting down of Bérubé’s blog also met, it must be said, with cheering from members of the Peoples’ Revolutionary Committee for a Committee of Revolutionary Peoples who were still upset that he had occasionally written disobliging things about Slobodan Milosevic.
No doubt there were also sighs of relief—gentle tears of gratitude, even—elsewhere.
It was in short an epochal event: the end of an institution, the twilight of an era, etc. Then came February and it all really was history.
Well, after some downtime—during which he’s probably written a couple of books—Michael Bérubé is now joining Crooked Timber. He is being taught the secret password (“Is there no help for the widow’s son?”) and handshake even now. In the meanwhile, please join me in welcoming Michael back into the fray.