August 2010 Archives

My feelings about DC are more ambivalent, and rather less boosterish, than the sentiments expressed in this video. But anyone who lives here should check out ReadysetDC.

I'm going to keep an eye on the site. Here's hoping they are right, and that developments in the cultural landscape will make living here seem a little more interesting than it has been, so far.

The ReadysetDC Manifesto from ReadysetDC on Vimeo.


August 22, 2010 2:03 PM | | Comments (0)

It's good to see nerd girls being assertive. Now if one of them would just invent a time machine and go back to 1978 to let me know they exist, since there wasn't any evidence of it in my East Texas high school at the time.

August 17, 2010 12:21 PM | | Comments (0)
Almost four months after it ran, this post has drawn a few thousand visitors since the weekend, thanks to links at a couple of high-visibility blogs. Go figure.

In the interest of continuing the trend, I will begin implementing some of the ideas proposed by The Anti-Moderate:

Suppose there's a blogger out there, not averse to gimmicks, with unlimited time on his or her hands. This blogger wants every web-savvy theo/philo/literary/theory geek to visit the blog on a daily basis, but doesn't want to actually write thoughtful original posts.....

(1. The Zizek interactive timeline. This would be a static page that allowed user generated content. Some kind of flash thing, perhaps, with an ongoing schedule of Zizek's appearances and publications, together with user-generated pictures and anecdotes associated with each appearance/publication. This gimmick alone would ensure vast traffic.....

(2. The Pot-shot Weekly. This would be a kind of blog post to be written once per week. The blogger would vent his spleen on some extremely popular figure / post / blog, thereby generating both traffic increasing blowback and also the traffic increasing support of all the lurkers who feel gladdened that some brave soul has finally expressed their own antipathies. To ensure this feature did not discredit the blog each pot-shot would have to be written humorously and also address itself to the social and/or political aspects of its target rather than actual content or argument or methodology. In other words accusations of racism would be fine -- but verging on the arguable or falsifiable -- so accusations of arrogance, bad "tone", and eccentricity would be better.

(3. Numerous easy, short, daily features. For example: philosophical term of the day; new book of the day (easily garnered from the websites and catalogues of academic presses and then carefully spaced out); hipster-intellectual youtube video of the day; theological lolcat picture of the day; etc.

(4. Controversial lists. Of anything relevant to the audience, thus: best ten books on x relevant subject; worst/best opening lines of philosophy books in last 20 years; best five pens for theorists; five worst morons with blogs; most underrated philosopher. (Note: all real examples I have seen.)

(5. Tantalizing excerpts from new books -- no commentary, just quotes.

So there it is: the fool-proof plan for a gimmick-heavy, theory-geek-snaring, traffic-rocket of a blog.

It still sounds like a lot of effort. Of course, Anti-Moderate does say that said blogger would need to have "unlimited time on his hands," which does not seem to apply.

See also this item, which I am happy to have midwifed, or at least precipitated, however indirectly.

In case Anti-Moderate is reading this: Please let me know how to get in touch, since I know someone who has asked how to reach you. (Some interest in reprinting the Mills-inspired item, is my sense of it.) Just drop me a line here as a comment, which won't be published.) 

August 11, 2010 5:16 PM | | Comments (0)
It would be interesting to know how the Tea Party would square my denunciation of Bellesiles and the New Press with my role in Journolist's efforts to create a totalitarian regime guided by Barack Obama Thought.

On second thought, who am I kidding? No it wouldn't.

August 4, 2010 9:46 AM | | Comments (0)
While we were having lunch on Friday, Henry Farrell showed me the digital edition of Nixonland by Rick Perlstein*, which has video clips embedded at appropriate spots in the text.

It turns out we were having the same thought at about the same time: One more reminder that we are actually living in the science-fiction world we read about as young nerds. (Or younger ones, rather.)

Electronic Home Library.jpg


Via Michael Lieberman at Book Patrol, a glimpse of how that future once looked. Here's the text from the comic strip that appeared in The Chicago Tribune in 1959:

Some unusual inventions for home entertainment and education will be yours in the future, such as the "television recorder" that RCA's David Sarnoff described recently. With this device, when a worthwhile program comes over the air while you are away from home, or even while you're watching it, you'll be able to preserve both the picture and sound on tape for replaying at any time. Westinghouse's Gwilym Price expects such tapes to reproduce shows in three dimensions and color on screens as shallow as a picture. Another pushbutton development will be projection of microfilm books on the ceiling or wall in large type. To increase their impact on students, an electronic voice may accompany the visual passages.

All in all, I would prefer to read a book on the ceiling than on my Blackberry. The march of progress must continue

* That's three ex-Journolisters mentioned in one sentence, for any paranoid obsessives out there who are obliged to keep track.
August 1, 2010 2:12 PM | | Comments (0)

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