The Whole World is Watching

Due to bad scheduling on my part, I'm not able to make it to Chicago, as planned, to take part in John Holbo's session on e-publishing, also featuring blogging mega-stars Adam Kotsko and Scott Eric Kaufman. I'm already far behind on a couple of things and travel would make it worse. Even if I would get to hang out with the blogging mega-stars.

(How I do love that expression. As the saying goes: In the blogosphere, everyone is famous to fifteen people.)

The session is part of the conference of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics, which is sometimes called the cultural right's counter-institutional equivalent of the MLA. I'm not really sure this description is valid at any level.

A few years ago, I signed up for the ALSC listserv to get a feel for whatever the group might be offering as an alternative to the MLA. I then spent months trying to get unsubscribed. This had nothing to do with politics.

Discussion on the list consisted solely of personal feuds with no substantial content whatever. It was an endless, lackidasical, and utterly pointless round of exchanges in a pissing match between two or three guys who might have wanted to blame their problems on Marxist-feminist deconstructive nihilism, at some point, but seemed to hate each other at least as much as they did those Marxist-feminist deconstructive nihilists.

I had signed up expecting something like the conversation you could imagine between Russell Kirk and Hugh Kenner about T.S Eliot. Instead, it was pretty much Beavis and Butthead for people who'd read Dante.

At that point, I started entertaining the idea of joining ALSC to form a radical caucus. We could hold sessions on Lenin's essays on Tolstoy, maybe. The idea that the MLA is full of left wingers is, from what I have seen of things, a joke, unless you confuse certain forms of etiquette and demeanor with politics. And the notion that ALSC is some kind of right-wing alternative to it is not much more credible, since it has no power and, worse, no real program.

The only thing the group has going in its favor is that it has somehow turned into an appendage of The Valve. Frankly that blog does more for ALSC than ALSC could ever do for it.

Man, do I wish I were in Chicago.

October 12, 2007 10:23 AM | | Comments (2)

Categories:

2 Comments

The strangest thing about the ALSC is how little the panels differ from those of the MLA. At both places you can hear New Historicist readings of Shakespeare, you hear people worrying about the growth of creative writing programs, and you hear people grumbling about their colleagues.

The real difference is one of scale: the ALSC fit into one boutique-y hotel, while the MLA will sprawl over half of Chicago. Also, the ALSC crowd is noticably older than th MLA crowd, and somehow manages to be even whiter.

I'd once been warned that the ALSC was "a clear and present danger" to the academy. I wish all dangers we're warned about turned out to be so mild and tweedy.

That's interesting to know. Speaking of mild and tweedy, reports that MLA is dominated by people trying to out-hip Andrew Ross are greatly overstated. What I enjoy about MLA is that it may be the one week of the year during which I do not feel sartorially challenged.

Leave a comment

Recent Work

Fidel Castro: My Life 
A review from Newsday
40 Years of "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual" 
Marking the anniversary of Harold Cruse's great book
Style and Grace 
A review of a book by the late, great Grace Paley from ... sheesh, almost ten years ago.
Oh, Canada 
National identity -- going south?
The LaRouche Tabernacle Choir 
An interview with me about the LaRouche movement, on Pacifica radio in Los Angeles
Open Library 
An interview with Aaron Swartz, one of the developers....
Sailing From Ithaka 
The new report calling for a digital platform for scholarly publishing deserves a wide audience
more

Readings

Battle of the Titans 
Dinesh D'Souza and Alan Wolfe debating? Imagine a slime mold in conflict with a patch of mildew. It's just that inspiring.
To the Tehran Station 
Not about Edmund Wilson
more picks

Blogroll

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Quick Study published on October 12, 2007 10:23 AM.

Snoopyotics was the previous entry in this blog.

Blood Without Glamour is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

AJ Ads


AJ Blogs

AJBlogCentral | rss

culture
About Last Night
Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Artful Manager
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
blog riley
rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Dewey21C
Richard Kessler on arts education
diacritical
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Flyover
Art from the American Outback
Life's a Pitch
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
Mind the Gap
No genre is the new genre
Performance Monkey
David Jays on theatre and dance
Plain English
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Real Clear Arts
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
Rockwell Matters
John Rockwell on the arts
Straight Up |
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

dance
Foot in Mouth
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Seeing Things
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...

jazz
Jazz Beyond Jazz
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
ListenGood
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Rifftides
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...

media
Out There
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Serious Popcorn
Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
Creative Destruction
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
The Future of Classical Music?
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
On the Record
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Overflow
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
PianoMorphosis
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
PostClassic
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Sandow
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

publishing
book/daddy
Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera

theatre
Drama Queen
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
lies like truth
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world

visual
Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
Artopia
John Perreault's art diary
CultureGrrl
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.