Quick Study: October 2008 Archives

Over at Critical Mass, Jame Marcus synthesizes the responses by National Book Critics Circle members to a survey of members about books they are reading lately and would recommend.

The best thing about it is that the responses are not tied to the fall publishing season.

Some new books are listed, of course. But so are titles by Robert Penn Warren, Sinclair Lewis, and Richard Hofstadter -- all of them topical (sometimes too topical, alas) even if the authors aren't turning in appearances on CSPAN.
October 31, 2008 12:22 PM | | Comments (0)
I'm trying to decide whether to continue using Bloglines (in spite of its glitchiness) or to shift over to Google Reader.

Not that this alternative is an all-or-nothing deal, necessarily. My in-house technical advisor points out that Bloglines has useful features I don't know how to use, yet. So it might make sense to experiment with GR while also trying to determine whether Bloglines has some virtues to make up for its defects.In any case, comments are welcome on the relative merits of each.
October 29, 2008 11:31 AM | | Comments (7)

Per the comments section at TNR: "The only way this could be funnier is if Leon Wieseltier had done it."

Well, it wouldn't hurt.

I've said it before and repeat it here now: Each day this campaign makes all of us just a little bit dumber.

October 28, 2008 4:27 PM | | Comments (0)
Westward ho! As mentioned in the latest Insider email bulletin to IHE readers, I am headed next week to the University of California at Davis to speak at the Public Intellectuals Forum, sponsored by the Humanities Center there. An overview of the lecture series appeared in April in a local newspaper. Profound thanks to Eric Rauchway for the invitation.

Plus I'll give a less formal talk called "Confessions of a Book Reviewer" at a lunchtime meeting on Tuesday. Sort of a mashup of themes from my Balakian acceptance speech, favorite quotations by critics (not just Orwell) reflecting on the process, and stuff that Rita listens to me vent about from time to time.

The full title of my Humanities Center presentation, late Tuesday afternoon, is "Sex, Socialism, and Self-Education: The 'Little Blue Books' and the Making of the Mass-Market Intellectual." This will be my first effort to present some work I've been doing for the past three years. (Also -- if all goes well -- my first attempt to lecture with graphics from my laptop.) 

I've done a little of this sort of thing over the years -- serving as a "resource person," as university lingo evidently has it -- by speaking to classes at Beloit College, conducting a seminar for young journalists from Northern Ireland and the U.S. (here on a fellowship from the British Arts Council), and so on. The response from students has always been very encouraging.

I'd be ready to do more of it, were opportunities to come up. To be an old-school "public intellectual" (as opposed to a professor with media access) means spending an awful lot of time working in solitude. This, frankly, is getting old. But thus far the invitations have been few and far between. A few years ago someone explained that my work comes under the heading of "creative nonfiction." So perhaps it's a matter of proper branding?

It might be time to start putting together a set of talks on various topics I've studied and thought about, and going out on the road to lecture and/or meet with classes. My needs are modest. I try to give value for the honorarium. Advice welcome. References available on request.
October 10, 2008 11:34 AM | | Comments (1)
In this week's Intellectual Affairs, a symposium, of sorts, on the recent brouhaha over whether or not contemporary U.S. literature is too insular for Nobel consideration.

Most of the people approached for comment responded. If any stragglers end up sending their thoughts in after all, I might do a post to Critical Mass.

The prize is announced on Thursday. For the past several years, I've hoped it would go to the Syrian poet who writes under the pen name Adonis, but obviously I'm learning not to expect too much. The comments by Ted Genoways (which appear as the last part of the column) in many respects are the closest to my own attitude towards the Nobel for literature, at this point. That Borges never got it is a pretty good indicator of what the prize is really worth.
October 8, 2008 10:26 AM | | Comments (1)
At the Times blog Paper Cuts, Jenny Scheussler points to some poetic responses to last night's debate. The best are in the form of haikus.

Here is Joe Biden, verbal samurai:

Haiku's not the form
For Senator Joe Biden
Because the last line may come out slightly longer than is absolutely necessary due to the subject's ability to analogize all topics to a seminal moment in the history of this great nation of ours, America, the UNITED states of America.
But it turns out that Sarah Palin is more avant garde:

So jobs, they ... you know,
Health care's really .... it's - Katie,
That bridge? I said no.
Via Printculture

UPDATE: Proving that graphical display is the key to understanding process, Ezra Klein has a flow chart.
October 3, 2008 10:47 AM | | Comments (0)

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

Quick Study: September 2008 is the previous archive.

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About Last Night
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Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
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rock culture approximately
critical difference
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
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Richard Kessler on arts education
diacritical
Douglas McLennan's blog
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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
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Paul Levy measures the Angles
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Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
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Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude

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Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
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Martha Bayles on Film...

classical music
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Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
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book/daddy
Jerome Weeks on Books
Quick Study
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lies like truth
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Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
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