Quick Study: September 2008 Archives

There is an interview with Arts Journal founder and presiding eminence Doug McLennan over at the AJ blog Life's a Pitch. So I learn only indirectly, since Doug is a pretty hands-off guy with regard to what folks do around here. But I'm glad to have a chance to plug it.

AJ is now into its tenth year of publication (it started on 19 Sept 1999, he mentions in the interview) and gets from 45,000 visitors per day, with some 33,000 people signed up for the email. On the one hand, a lot. On the other hand, a fraction of the growth that Inside Higher Ed has had in under 4 years. I'm not sure why that is, though each is clearly occupying a large portion of its mass-media niche market.
September 27, 2008 1:10 PM | | Comments (1)

Thanks to Henry for the link to my Nation piece. It seems that some Crooked Timber visitors are under the impression that my name is Lemmy and that I used to be in Motorhead.

Such is not in fact the case, though you'd be surprised how often I get that.

September 26, 2008 8:44 PM | | Comments (2)
A commentator named Howie posting to a webpage called Freedom of Speech links to Quick Study and says:

I gather that the folks in and around "artsjournal" or "inside higher ed" have a habit of "fisking" Jon Swift, so maybe he's not representative of anything much more than that sector of the audience who "gets get all their news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues."
Now, I do not really understand this very well -- and you'd think I would, given that the set of "folks in and around" both IHE and AJ is not enormous, and may even consist of a single member. Furthermore, I do not fisk, or at least hope I don't. It sounds kind of dirty.

Be that as it may, it seems at least slightly possible that a blogger bearing the name "Jon Swift" might be writing in a satirical vein. If so, when Swift includes himself among those who get "all their news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues," it might not  be meant to be taken literally. I am just going to put that idea out there on the table.

Other than that, I will concede some of Howie's point in the parts of the comment that I do understand -- namely, that it might be somebody other than Palin who assumes the role of Telegenic G.O.P. Demagogue.

But there are going to be plenty of folks out there who will see her as a victim of (warning: irony ahead) Katie Couric's hard-hitting, attack-style interviewing methods, and look back on her fondly. So my guess is that Palin will, over the long term, come out ahead.

(Thanks to Brian Book at The ITT List for linking to yesterday's post.)
September 26, 2008 11:51 AM | | Comments (4)

My column yesterday was about a book called The Anti-Intellectual Presidency. In it, I expressed some very faint hope that the cretinizing effect of recent exchanges between the Demopublican and Republocratic candidates might be mitigated once the debates started. It is clear that I have no great future as prophet before me.

Aside from the bizarre and even desperate move by McCain himself to get out of Friday's scheduled event -- and to postpone indefinitely the Veep debate -- we can now witness Palin's most recent interview. It will not do to read the transcript. Only while watching the actual video is it possible fully to appreciate the wisdom of Palin's handlers in keeping her away from open microphones as much as possible:

Even so, it seems to me obvious that this is the face of a future president. Perhaps not this decade, but sometime in the next. It is important to understand that -- and, if not to accept it, then in some way to come to terms with it.

The trends that, as Lin argues in his book, hollow out any possibility of serious political discussion are precisely why Palin will be an ideal vehicle for a politics that evades deliberation, as well as the proxy for that segment of the American public (not a small part) that loathes it.

She will be better coached in the future, and learn the art of translating ignorance into arrogant self-confidence. She was able to manage that on a state level, but will need a little more practice to pull it off on the larger public stage. All it will take is time.

UPDATE: Aside from being one of America's finest book reviewers, Jon Swift is making a sober estimate of the state of the polity: "McCain is not by nature one to be rash and impulsive, but I think it's time for him to throw caution to the wind for a change and ask Barack Obama to agree to suspend the entire election/"

September 25, 2008 10:01 AM | | Comments (4)

For my relocated comrade Alex, now in Chicago, who liked the Count video ....

via All Intensive Purposes

September 23, 2008 6:14 PM | | Comments (1)
In 2006 Bernard-Henri Lévy addressed an open letter to the American left in the pages of The Nation. He had recently toured the country while writing a book called American Vertigo and mentioned, in passing, that he had lost count of "how many times I was told there has never been an authentic 'left' in the United States, in the European sense." With a command of dialectical contradiction perhaps acquired during his days as a Maoist '68er, Lévy proved generous with advice for his "progressive friends" in the United States, despite our virtual nonexistence.

September 23, 2008 4:22 PM | | Comments (4)
Rich Byrne was editor of the Research section at the Chronicle of Higher Education, back in the day. One of these days, there ought to be a satirical novel covering all the stuff I'll just be leaving quietly between the lines here, for now. Anyway, Rich has departed to take over as editor of a new magazine. I'd like to think he will have at least consider writing that novel in his spare time, if he gets any.

And congratulations, too, to my New Politics comrade Jason Schulman, who successfully defended his poli-sci dissertation over the weekend and is now Herr Doktor Schulman -- coming to the editorial board meeting immediately after doing so, in fact, since we were meeting one floor up from his defense at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

It is good to be able to acknowledge the progress of friends at a time when the horror of other news continues to deepen, compounded by another sad development.

That's just the tip of the iceberg, of course. It's pretty bad when the obituary page is one of the less depressing sections of the newspaper.
September 22, 2008 1:41 PM | | Comments (1)

As mentioned in a recent column, my wife and I developed a mythology about Cuttyhunk Island (population maybe 50) while on vacation there a couple of weeks ago -- one involving the sacrifice, by locals, of tourists to the sinister fish gods. Then, while visiting the Cuttyhunk Public Library, we happened to notice a copy of Shirley Jackson's short fiction atop the stack of newly returned books. Not that this proves anything, of course.

Here is my short guided tour, filmed with a digital camera as Rita drove the golf cart. I think there may be three or four trucks on the island. Everybody else drives golf carts. Unfortunately we did not take pictures of the more pimped-out ones.

September 17, 2008 3:50 PM | | Comments (1)

Between going on vacation for ten days and then attending a National Book Critics Circle board meeting this weekend, I have put this blog on de facto hiatus for a bit. Time to resume....

On Friday -- after years of searching for anything on CD by Fred Smith's post-MC5 group Sonic's Rendezvous Band -- I found the recently issued recording of the band opening for the Ramones in Detroit thirty years ago. Evidently there have been a few bootlegs and limited-edition releases. But for some reason one of Detroit's great bands (another member had been the drummer for the Stooges) never came to the attention of a label with any clout.

So let's start the new season off with the A side of SRB's single -- the only one they ever released, I think....

September 14, 2008 3:41 PM | | Comments (2)

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Quick Study in September 2008.

Quick Study: August 2008 is the previous archive.

Quick Study: October 2008 is the next archive.

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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
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
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

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

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

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
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Slipped Disc
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds

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

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

Aesthetic Grounds
Public Art, Public Space
Another Bouncing Ball
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Modern Art Notes
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog
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