July 2008 Archives
The sudden availability of space was quite enjoyable. Of course, it did not last long.
Being a "late adopter" of the tools and norms of this medium, I've only just figured out that it is possible to set up an Amazon wishlist, then put it out in public space.
In case any reader out there wants to express support in some tangible way....
The whole things seems only slightly more dignified than the posture implied by the catchphrase "ain't too proud to beg."
Phil Ford writes:
I was teaching my American Music in the Cold War course back at Texas and everyone in the class was staring at the open iTunes window that lists the albums you've loaded in. Right up at the top of the list is Rush's 2112 (alphabetical, see?), and it slowly occurs to me that no-one's listening to my lecture--they're trying to figure out what music I listen to. And I should note parenthetically that I don't listen to Rush because it's Relevant To My Interests, I listen to it because it rocks (however dorkily) and because I grew up in Sudbury Ontario in the 1970s. One of my students asks, "you listen to Rush?" Um, OK, yes, I do. "Awesome." Which goes to show you, I guess, that what you might feel is a guilty pleasure is could be someone else's cool. It never occurred to me that my undergrads, who were all born in the late 1980s and early 1990s, would have mythologized the 1970s as the Last Good Time. Growing up in a hard rock mining town in the 1970s and listening to Rush didn't sound depressing to them, it sounded kind of cool.
They were, of course, entirely correct to think this.
The risk of staging the play now is that of turning it into a period piece -- the period in question being May '68, more or less. Rich thinks Forum dodges that bullet. At his recently launched blog Balkans via Bohemia, he write:
The danger of doing Marat/Sade in 2008 is indulging in perverse nostalgia -- leaning on Bobby Kennedy and mutual assured destruction and a Europe where revolution is taking the barricades against the bourgeoisie. Forum's Marat/Sade scrolls forward to an America where war and religion and history are contested categories. The questions that this Marat/Sade poses are worth pondering. The Forum production pushes forward in all directions -- the futility of revolution is (almost) fun; assassination is as sexual as it is brutal, and politics is a carousel of sensual brutality....Well, better than "show biz for ugly people," I guess, which is the norm around DC otherwise....
It happened that the new Drive By Truckers album was playing when my wife grabbed the digital camera to record Peanut entertaining herself the other day:
Actually this sort of thing has happened once before. Last time, it was Young Marble Giants on the CD player:
Heavy metal makes the cats agitated, but we have no footage of that.
My first impression on seeing this cover was that the New Yorker had written an exposé revealing that Barack Obama is indeed a Muslim, Michelle Obama was a member of the Black Panthers (or the Mod Squad) and that the Obamas hate America and burn American flags in their fireplace. Then David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker, issued a statement saying that the illustration is actually intended to be satire, a decadent form of humor invented by the Romans shortly before their civilization was overrun by barbarians.Sometimes reading Jon Swift is like being held down and tickled. This is one of those times.
I loved the illustration, which I thought was a very powerful statement about how Barack Obama should not be elected President, and as Jonah Goldberg noted, it could have been a cover illustration for the National Review, which used to be called the Harvard Lampoon before it went national and changed its name.....Real Americans, I think, prefer straight talkers, like John McCain, who means what he says when he tells us that he doesn't know very much about economics, can't figure out how to use a computer and believes that we will be in Iraq for 100 years.
For some reason I forgot to get Brighter Than Creation's Dark when it appeared in January. The last couple of Truckers albums have had a few good songs amidst a fair bit of material that just didn't hold up to repeated listenings. Plus there was the worry that the band would lose too much with Jason's departure. So it seemed like something I could postpone.
Now I'm sorry that was the case, because Brighter is probably as good a record as they've made since Decoration Day, which is saying something. You can find several cuts from it at their MySpace page, including "That Man I Shot," their Iraq song (lyrics here).
No decent footage has shown up of the band performing any of the new album. But for now, here's a clip of an old Cooley song, "Women Without Whiskey," that is easy to overlook because whoever posted it to YouTube got the title wrong.
For most university presses, a book that sells a million copies is a rarity. When that book relates to the history of the region in which the university is located and a much-loved literary figure in the state, well, that would be almost too good to be true.
But what has been true for the University of Nebraska Press is about to end. Black Elk Speaks -- a story of American Indians on the Great Plains -- is heading East, to the State University of New York Press.
While any loss of a book like Black Elk Speaks would hurt, some at Nebraska and others in the university publishing world see this as more than just a coup for one press and a disappointment for another. According to Nebraska officials, no one currently at the press knew that the trust that controls the book was contemplating a move. One person who did know last year was the press director, who then moved to SUNY Press, where he signed a deal to move the book shortly after arriving.....
A note to anyone who might pick up the link from this blog entry: While SJ and I do share the same first name, we are not, in fact, the same person.
Any sense that they ought to pay any attention to books qua books barely exists. I imagine the top editors having jacks at the back of their heads so that the cable TV feeds can be plugged right in. As far as I can tell, the brain death started at some point in the 1980s -- not so coincidentally, as CSPAN was coming into prominence.
In July 1970, Newsweek ran a cover story on how various historians diagnosed "what ails the American spirit." A year or two back, I tracked this down and was impressed by the quality of it. I forget who else was interviewed, but one of the historians was Richard Hofstadter. A fair bit of space was given to his answers, and the result is a document that still bears reading by anyone interested in how Hofstadter understood the period.
Fast forward 38 years and you have this thing, which barely qualifies as a special on the History Channel. And not one necessarily more insightful than Was Hitler a Crankhead? (or whatever the documentary in heavy rotation about the Fuhrer's drug use is called).
That, at least, required some archival digging for film footage that showed the dictator looking jittery. The Darwin-Lincoln cover story reads like something from a college literary magazine of no particular distinction.
POSTSCRIPT: A hunch, just now: It will in short order become a book. Or rather one of those network-special tie-in commodities disguised as a book. It's all starting to make sense actually.
...decides that it is torture, after all.
Glad we have that cleared up! Needless to say, he is treated more gently than any dominatrix's client -- let alone a detained suspect.
Now if we can just subject enough members of Congress....