In 1967 the literary critic and theorist Roland Barthes formally announced the Death of the Author. “It is language which speaks,” Barthes declares, “not the author.” Echoing Bakhtin’s concept of heteroglossia, Barthes writes:
We know that a text does not consist of a line of words, releasing a single “theological” meaning (the “message” of the Author-God), but is a space of many dimensions, in which are wedded and contested various kinds of writing, no one of which is original: the text is a tissue of citations, resulting from the thousand sources of culture. The writer can only imitate a gesture forever anterior, never original. (emphasis added)
There’s nothing new to say. Writing is a performance, a mix of styles. The author’s ideas are someone else’s. He merely borrows and reappropriates them in his text. Assuming the author creates, that it’s his Genius on display, is false. He is simply a conduit of culture; language speaks through him.
This is true of blogs. Even when I’m not setting off another writer’s words in block quotes, I’m summoning ideas already thought. Baudrillard. Bakhtin. Barthes. Putting dead philosophers’ words in my mouth.