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 )
Fueling my ruminations about liberal and fascist forms of social & political order in familial relation, lately, has been Robert Elder’s new biography of John C. Calhoun (1782 – 1850) of South Carolina. Reading the book itself will have to wait, in my case, sadly. Till then, getting to know Elder’s subject and thesis a bit in his own words isn’t hard to do.
I first learned about the book from Elder’s friend and mine, my Solidarity Hall associate Elias Crim. One of the links below is Elder’s conversation with Elias and co-host Pete Davis for Solidarity Hall’s Dorothy’s Place podcast. It’s good.
Until pretty recently, the conventional story about slavery and the states in accelerating conflict in America’s 19th century has set an industrially and societally progress-oriented North opposite a tradition-anchored agrarian South in relatively tidy contrast. That story is itself increasingly folded into subsequent period history now, a new consensus view replacing it. Elder’s Calhoun develops this view and offers, among other things, a sharpened picture of the U.S. alongside its variously urgently-modernizing European sister polities.
Calhoun’s America is a large subject, needless to say. Each conversation here draws out something different in Elder’s approach to it.
It shows how little on top of things I manage to stay that I wasn’t aware, until yesterday, of podcast (and Denver-Boulder-area radio show) Looks Like New, produced by U. Colorado Boulder’s MEDLab, which is directed by somebody I’m happy to know a little bit, Nathan Schneider. If I’d been listening to this show since it’s been on, I’d have known, for instance, of Ampled when I wrote about work and organizing in December. I might’ve learned about Ampled elsewhere, too, were I sharper-eyed, as they’ve gotten some decent press in the past year. Ampled is a platform-cooperativist project in the vein of Comradery, designed to offer the services of a Patreon but on an altogether different model, one in which the service’s users are its owners. And this one’s up and running, serving a modest but growing number of musicians.
Check out Nathan’s interview with Ampled co-founder Austin Robey. These things aren’t easy to put together (as the Comradery team’s effort toward a yet-to-be-announced launch attests), but it’s well beyond concept at this stage. It’s being done.
CBLDF, the 35-year-old U.S. advocacy org for expression rights in comics publishing, appears to be emerging on its feet from a year in which it faced not only COVID’s wild effects on comics-connected commerce and consumption but a dramatic #metoo-spurred shakeup. Two February webinar events, styled as member meetings, are available for viewing on the org’s site and its YouTube channel. (Another, apparently open to all, is set for Mar. 25.) Both seem to me good for appreciating the state of an industry undergoing a lot of change on a lot of levels. The second, ‘Comics After COVID,’ appeals to me more particularly as something of a snapshot of the business as ecosystem of small-scale producers extensively interdependent and increasingly attentive to a common task of cultivation.
‘When people invest at an early stage in a tech startup, usually they’re looking for an exit. Right? They’re looking for the company to sell, to IPO, to be acquired. And cooperatives really are going in a different direction. The goal is to create long-term ownership within that community, whether that community is workers or consumers or farmers or musicians. We’re not trying to sell the company. We’re trying to bring that company wealth and voice. … Basing the investment returns on appreciation of stock price is really different. So, instead, generally our investments have to be repaid out of actual company cash. … And so, you have to act like a real company. You have to actually generate cash in the business and profits in the business in order to pay back investors. And we don’t think that’s crazy, and neither do our investors.’
Start.coop is about rediscovering the business growth potential of cooperatives in N. America in the 21st-century. Co-directors Greg Brodsky and Jessica Mason explain in this 20-min. interview episode.
Another item on the organizing media freelancers theme — this one a little in advance of the date, for a change. Representatives of the National Writers Union’s Freelance Solidarity Project (of which I’m a member) and the venerable IWW’s Freelance Journalist Union hold a joint online event this coming Tuesday, Mar. 9, titled ‘The Case for Solidarity.’
now on 1 of 11 pages