main: May 2009 Archives

Thanks to fellow Austin emigre Doug Barnes for introducing me to Kelli Rae Powell....

The solo-female-singer-songwriter-with-ukelele trend may not square with my usual musical diet -- but then consistency in such things is not that much of a virtue.

May 24, 2009 5:36 PM | | Comments (1)
The main lesson I have taken away from hosting the discussion with Adam Gopnik at FireDogLake yesterday is that it's probably best not to host an online book salon on the weekend -- and esp. not a holiday weekend.

It went reasonably well, but the turnout was small. I had hoped the participants would include at least a few people who had actually read the book. That did not pan out. And naturally, the individual who knew the most about Darwin (and Wallace) only turned up after the whole thing was over -- by which point both host and guest were gone.

If you do something scheduled anytime M-F, you have the advantage of all those bright folks who are stuck at their desks at work -- while over the weekend, it's mostly though not entirely an audience that, at the moment, doesn't have something better to do.

(So notes the guy posting a blog entry on a Sunday afternoon.)

In any case, this was something it would be interesting to do again, if better scheduled.

While at the Chronicle some years ago, I held the unofficial title of King of the Online Colloquies, which would have been impressive had anyone else been interested in occupying the throne. But it does involve a skill set, of sorts, and I wouldn't mind a chance to make use of it -- albeit not necessarily pro bono.
May 24, 2009 1:21 PM | | Comments (1)
My amigo Rich Byrne points out to me this TNR article about Shakespeare, describing it in such language as would make a gangster blush.

This seems like the right time to unveil to the public my idea for a screen adaptation of Lear with Keanu Reeves playing all the parts.
May 22, 2009 6:16 PM | | Comments (1)
Quick Study has been grinding down to a standstill for quite some time, for reasons it would take a sustained essay on disenchantment with the internet even to begin to explain.

Looking back I am surprised to see even a couple of items here since the start of the month. They were distractions from grief. I barely remember posting them. We have had one reminder of mortality after another in this household lately. I'm not going into details because friends already know and who else would care?

But it's meant putting my scale of priorities up for close review. Blogging, here or anyplace else, has not been high on the list for a while now. Of late, it hasn't made the list at all. It requires a kind of sociability, however attenuated, that just hasn't been possible.

Sometimes, though, you have to fake it until you make it, and it seems like the time to attempt sociability again has come. At this point, I have barely any sense of whether this blog still even has a readership. Be that as it may, let me express appreciation to Jeet Heer for posting this -- and thank Eric Banks for announcing the book salon that I will be hosting Saturday at Firedoglake.

Also: I will be at Book Expo next week. It would be good to hear from friends who will be there. Let me stress the word friends. If you have just published the third in a series of novels about werewolf romance and are hoping I might write about it -- seriously, this is not the time.

I'm not encouraging you to come back later, either. It's just not going to happen. 
May 22, 2009 12:53 PM | | Comments (9)

My piece about Hubert Harrison as book reviewer had the lead spot at the Columbia Journalism Review website for a little while there yesterday, but as of this morning it is well beneath the "fold," if that's the best way to put it. Oh well, so it goes. Ephemera is such a fickle muse.*

The founding father of Harrison scholarship, Jeff Perry, will lecture about his life and work next month at Socialism '09 in Chicago. I am going to be there, too, speaking on C.L.R. James.

* UPDATE: Thanks to Critical Mass for getting the word out.

May 8, 2009 11:36 AM | | Comments (0)

Over the past two weeks, I have seen my wife all of about two and a half days. It's a long story involving family illness and death, complicated by circumstances that kept me from being there with her.

A few days ago, I got the new album by Danielle Ate the Sandwich. So now we have a theme song:

May 7, 2009 3:12 PM | | Comments (0)
A couple of people have come to Quick Study lately via a link at U.S. Intellectual History, where Tim Lacy points to a recent post here and characterizes it as follows: "Scott McLemee reflects on the hazards of online intellectual life in an age where everyone thinks of her/himself as important, as part of the conversation."

This is, to put it one way, a misreading. The issue is not people considering themselves "important" or "part of the conversation." The issue is people acting like assholes.

The distinction here is radical. The normative assholery of comments sections (at least in places with a lot of traffic, unlike either USIH or this blog ) typically involves acting (1) without any self-respect and (2) with no interest in communicative rationality whatsoever, just the making of spiteful noises. I consider these things the exact opposite of "everyone think[ing] of her/himself as important, as part of the conversation."

Of course people do have a right to act like assholes. Furthermore, it is clear that there is no cost or obstacle at all to doing so online. There is no filter, and opportunities to "act out" with no risk, no expense, and no consequence are roughly numerous as drops of water in the ocean.

But that does not mean that it is a medium in which nothing is limited. For attention is scarce. And no serious person is under any obligation to give it away, least of all to people who don't act like even they think they deserve it.

That was the point of what I wrote. It seemed clear enough. But the lesson of my five years or so online is that communication is a utopian thing to expect.
May 7, 2009 11:45 AM | | Comments (3)

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This page is a archive of entries in the main category from May 2009.

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culture
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
Dewey21C
Richard Kessler on arts education
diacritical
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dog Days
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
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

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

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

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

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

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

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