Rescue Tenure from the Monograph

“Rescue Tenure From the Tyranny of the Monograph” by Lindsay Waters in The Chronicle of Higher Education argues that we are spewing out too many second-rate books as we force new scholars to publish one or two to get tenure. His remedy is to return to a few excellent essays for tenure and to publish fewer books that are full of “gusto” (accessible and moving to a larger audience.)
The realities of the pressures to get tenure are unlikely to change, so I doubt the community can easily change course, but what if the form in which early publishing took place were changed? What if blogs, wikis, discussion list participation, and other forms of social/network writing were assessed. Early in a career is when academics should be writing with and for others in order to establish their network of ideas. Books can come later out of what has been tested in the creative common.
How would one assess quality (and quantity) for such writing? I can think of some bibliometric methods (Google as tenure tool), but they would be crude and easy to manipulate. Ideas?
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Blue Company; E-mail Fiction

Thanks to Words’ End blog by Vika Zafrin I discovered Blue Company 2002 Archive which was apparently distributed by e-mail. The notes combine text (formatted) and drawings into original mixed media fiction. Another idea for images and text on the net.

The author’s blog is at robwit.net. There are more experiments there. I can’t help wondering if the web has freed writers to be able to work with images cheaply (without having to worry about publication costs.) Its the future of futurism and futurist typographic poetry.

Vernon God Little, DBC Pierre

Just finished Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre – a disturbing book that won the Man Booker Price in 2003. See an Extract. The main character is a teenager that everyone suspects was an accomplice in a school murder spree. The language makes the book – it starts as trailer-trash talk, but you begin to realize that Vernon is brighter than the awful people of his Texas town almost all of whom are disgusting, overweight, twisted, or manipulative. The end gets surreal as Vernon manipulates others once a fellow death-row inmate teaches him about God and working with people’s wants. It is not clear if the final part is a hallucination brought on by the drugs that kill him, or real events after an unlikely pardon.
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Next Episode

Finished another book from the Canada Reads, Hubert Aquin’s Next Episode. Not sure it is that good. While it has the type of dense allusive prose that can impress people and it deals in an interesting way with Quebec seperatism and terrorism, it was a pain to read. At some point the story wasn’t interesting and characters became codes without much depth.
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