main: December 2008 Archives

Well, yikes.

Susan drives me mad with her long explanations of things one only needs the eyes and the sensitivity of someone like Irene to see. She discoursed on Bosch at the Prado and was just now explaining that women are the main support of the Church. She launches into these textbook dissertations, like footnotes, which I find unbearable.
Never once while reading Susan Sontag's diaries (column) did it occur to me that "H" might still be alive.

Thanks to Caleb Crain for pointing out this fascinating, but mostly appalling, item.
December 31, 2008 11:04 AM | | Comments (1)
There are various consequence to being around academics so much, even when not at MLA. Here is one of them: regular exposure to commentary on journalism in which the vigor of perfect self-assurance is never dampened by a complete lack of knowledge.

That is a topic for another day. (People in lit seem particularly bad about it. I have theories.)

Right now, instead of just bracing for the onslaught, I can celebrate. The urbane and peripatetic Richard Byrne -- editor, playwright, alchemist --  has just published "Ranter and Corantos: Renaissance Journalism" in The Nation.

Besides recommending this piece, I want to add a small reference of tangential interest.
December 27, 2008 11:43 AM | | Comments (0)
I'll be heading to San Francisco before long to attend the Modern Language Association convention, which starts this weekend.

The plan is for me to live blog it (or should that be "live-blog"? "liveblog"?) for Inside Higher Ed. I will post the coordinates for said blog once they are available. [UPDATE: Here it is.]

Meanwhile, no column this week. I have not been posting links to it here all that often this year, or indeed to very much of my other work, and for that matter have tended to go long periods without blogging much at all. This wasn't a matter of policy. My attention has been elsewhere.

All of it might change in the new year. Then again, maybe not. I'm still trying to figure out how to function in this post-print environment. I'm glad to have escaped the Chronicle well before routine executions became the norm, and the audience for Inside Higher Ed has grown to well over half a million readers, and its staff keeps getting larger. All to the good. But I'd like to figure out how to get the column to the attention of non-academic readers. No brainstorms have occurred. Where blogging fits in that effort, it's still hard to say. 
December 23, 2008 10:15 AM | | Comments (3)

I've posted this once before, but then the clip was taken down. It's so much better than the version available on CD (particularly the lead, starting at about 4:00) that I'm left wondering if there is some way to download the audio track.

December 17, 2008 3:35 PM | | Comments (3)
At the blog newcritics, Chuck Tryon points out something I would have missed otherwise, given the need to avoid national news magazines in the interest of anger management:

Newsweek, of all places, has a fascinating intellectual exercise in which they ask several of their film and media writers to name one popular culture text that "exemplifies what it was like to be alive in the age of George W. Bush." Obviously, the idea of capturing the zeitgeist of eight often turbulent years with a divided electorate and a fractured media landscape is an impossibility. No single text can encompass the tragedy of September 11, the war in Iraq, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the housing bubble and collapse, and our news media's often vacuous response to all of these events. But the Newsweek writers offer some interesting choices, ones that collectively seem to move toward capturing some sense of Bush-era culture.

I tend to think Battlestar Galactica wins, hand's down. (Per earlier item.) See the rest of Chuck T's entry here.

(Crossposted at CT)
December 17, 2008 12:48 PM | | Comments (5)
The long-awaited redesign of the National Book Critics Circle website is now complete, thanks to the efforts of board member Lizzie Skurnick. I believe the expression to use at this point is "huzzah!"

This means -- among other things -- that the NBCC blog Critical Mass will no longer have its mascot, the Fox of Letters:

New Image.JPG

Evidently opinion is divided on this move. I have no preference either way and simply note this as a sign of the changing times. Liz has indicated that from now on anyone even mentioning the damned fox needs to buy her dinner. It seems like the least we can do.
December 15, 2008 5:48 PM | | Comments (0)
My longtime dream of carrying a sign saying "Victory for Chicago Workers" while wearing a fedora has finally been realized.

Two, three, many factory occupations!

UPDATE: See also my post at Crooked Timber.
December 12, 2008 12:46 PM | | Comments (0)
Christopher Phelps's review-essay of A Hubert Harrison Reader from the Marxist journal Science & Society, uploaded here by permission of the author.

Hubert Harrison - S&S.pdf

December 9, 2008 6:33 PM | | Comments (2)

From the letters-to-the-editor page of the latest issue of Weekly Worker, newspaper of the Communist Party of Great Britain:

Firstly, I would like to apologise to Ian Mackaye, legendary front man of Minor Threat and Fugazi among others, for getting his name confused with Iain McKay, the Weekly Worker letters page in-house anarchist (Letters, November 27).

Okay, just don't let it happen again.

December 4, 2008 11:22 AM | | Comments (1)

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