Dear visitor, if you take the trouble to read : I apologize for all the bad, syrup-thick blog prose here. Man is it bad, so much of it. I wish hereby to take responsibility and express regret for many wrongs committed by keyboard. — pdb
That’s Poe in full smirk, ‘How to Write a Blackwood Article’ — parody it might have done me good to come across sooner than I did, some years back now.
Quare id faciam I pulled from one of Catullus’ better-known little verses, encountered in low-level Latin courses in college. Embarrassing, yes, that I borrowed it in the first place (albeit without much pretension; just liked the excised snippet for itself) twenty-odd years ago. More embarrassing that I’m kind of using it as a handle still !
Well, I’m kind of attached to it still — what can I say? Not every dumb thing you do when young has to be repudiated utterly.
brief items( see all )
Something further — see brief item of March 30 — on John C. Calhoun, that peculiar(ly important) figure of the seven short decades between establishment of the U.S. as a nation and the conflict between South and North, known here as the Civil War, that redefined it.
To be clear, this is an episode much more about the twentieth century than the nineteenth, as you’d expect of Know Your Enemy. But it illuminates helpfully Calhoun’s significance as a theorist and shaper of American modernity.
A comment left this morning by my friend Laura on the last of these brief-item posts has had me revisiting two summer-of-COVID episodes of the Digiday podcast today, interviews with The Dispatch CEO Steve Hayes and Defector operations VP Jasper Wang — separately on the show to talk about their quite differently politics-oriented internet-based publications’ remarkably similar business schemes.
I’ve given a good deal more attention to Defector than to The Dispatch in the past year or so. But there’s no denying that the latter’s case lends the former’s a degree of the vividness and weight it has for me and (I suppose) many others right now, both of them read as phenomena of the moment’s ‘great media unbundling.’
It’s an especially curious thing to hear Hayes speaking, without trace of irony, from the position of a smaller market player concerned to protect the work he’s become invested in from destructive forces hyperconcentration in the financial order generates. Digiday host Morrissey’s repetitions of the expression notwithstanding, Hayes and crew are in no meaningful way ‘small-c conservatives.’ In respect to policy, these guys are simple ideologues of unrestrained capital. They share with a Paul Ryan the dream of a world where everything outside the bounds of an arbitrarily-conceived, always unstable space of ‘the private’ is reducible to commodity — ideal that a recently rising, no less dangerous modern U.S. right has taken, with good justification, to attacking as ‘dead consensus’ American conservatism. (Conflict much on my mind these days.)
Without quite acknowledging the trend they’re part of, these same embattled (for branding purposes, at least) Reagan-Thatcher-gospel believers are building something of a cooperative media enterprise together. It sure is interesting.
‘The impressive thing is the range of conversations he maintains, the catbird-seat view of a diverse and sometimes precipitously-changing small industry with outsize cultural impact. People do just like to talk to him, plainly enough, but I think he enjoys the wide respect and gets to pull so much story together, working alone, in large part because he’s built the thing out in a manifestly serious way. Not just being a swell fellow that’s earned all that trust. Anyway, for my part, this is what I’d love to hear him have occasion to talk about — building that up (and where he thinks he might go with it, insofar as the question applies).’
That’s from my note to Simon Owens suggesting that he invite David Harper, the guy who runs online comics journal SKTCHD and hosts linked weekly podcast Off Panel, to be a guest on his (previously mentioned) podcast The Business of Content.
Well, connection was made, and I indeed got to hear them have that chat. This was a couple of weeks ago, in fact; I’ve just been too busy to get in a post about it here.
There’s a degree of purely private satisfaction for me in listening to them talk, naturally. But it’s good to have a glimpse of Harper’s project through Owens’ viewfinder. Harper is maybe a little unusual as subject for Owens’ journalism — certainly not among the bigger media-pond fish he tackles, anyway. The total media marketplace in our digital age, though, obviously includes an awful lot of strictly organically-conceived and -grown, personality-driven ‘niche’ work that may well only ever amount to modest businesses. Harper’s is what I’d call a sweet example (as also in many respects is Owens’, for that matter). I know I’m far from alone in finding this layer of market ecosystem fascinating matter.
The immediately previous post might lead someone to guess that when it comes to political and economic alternatives, I’m only about the ‘third-way.’ That isn’t really true. I am wary of labels, but I’d be happy to be thought of as a socialist on some understandings of the word, especially if what can be called the ‘early socialism’ of two centuries ago is acknowledged as viable tradition. I’d much rather be lumped in with the left than the right, generally, if we’re being sloppy about it.
This post isn’t for sorting out my views on anything, though, it’s just for observing that the DSA — of which I’m not a member — holds an event on religion and socialism this Saturday and Sunday. (I only learned of it over the weekend.)
Presenters are to include representatives of the DSA Muslim Caucus. I think of this and the previous post as complementaries to a degree.
‘Yes, well, I’m neither capitalist nor socialist, I’m …’
In the circles I’ve moved in, the word you’d expect to follow is ’Catholic.’ The Catholics I know often readiest with something of a developed identity and a line of argument in this vein regard themselves as advocates of distributism, a term with some popularity a century ago, in the English-speaking world particularly, through the influence of G K Chesterton in association with his friend, Manchester M.P. Hilaire Belloc. If you know a bit about the history here, the term’s associations may be troubling. (It’s partly from acquaintance with this history over about a decade now that my own concerns about the problem of pinning down fascism have gradually grown.)
But it’s far from true that such a ‘neither capitalist nor socialist’ preface must come from a Christian perhaps on the slippery slope to one of the many forms of fascistic Western-civilizationism. The world’s more complicated than that.
I’m excited lately about a new podcast called Re-Envision Business, hosted by U.K.-based Sheeza Shah, whose roles include heading operations for the international anti-inequity business network Zebras United. For her most recent guest, Umar Nasser, it’s ‘I’m neither capitalist nor socialist, I’m a Muslim.’ Check out their conversation, which ended up long enough that it had to be presented in two parts.
(Update: See also the post that follows this one.)
now on 1 of 11 pages