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

H ere is a nice little Latin phrase, and rare too, (one can’t be too recherché or brief in one’s Latin, it’s getting so common) …

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 )
31 May 2023
5 May 2023
29 Apr 2023
28 Mar 2023
26 Mar 2023
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2 Apr 2023

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Here in the academic enclave neighborhood of southern-Chicago shoreland where I’ve been living just a few years — on multiple counts a foreigner-outsider, no doubt permanently — I got myself out to a book talk organized through an arm of the divinity school last week. There are a lot of  …


22 Feb 2023

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In an online venue I’ve had involvement with in recent years, an essayist addressing one of the world’s more terrifying current cases of official oppression of a people group within borders wrote something that’s been a little bit under my skin since. Can we expect now, the writer asks, a  …

Masking up

11 Feb 2023

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Thanks to the YouTube feed (in my case, with judicious use, not the mere garbage-dump brain-damage engine it can easily become), I learned this week about a touring exhibit now open at the United Nations facility in New York, headlined ‘#FakeImages.’ The video is included here, below. It might have  …


24 Jan 2023

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“The reason what makes a media business such a riddle,” writes ex-Digiday-pres Brian Morrissey recently, “is media itself is no longer an economic function wrapped inside a corporate entity. Media, like tech, is embedded in every company and most endeavors.” (Those of us frequently guilty of worse, if no one  …

October quickies

22 Oct 2022updated : 23 Oct 2022

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Site note

21 Sep 2022

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I started stripping down the front of this site a couple of months back, and I’m going to begin on the old blog here, too. Not sure yet exactly where this is going, though of course I have thoughts. But anyway the two or three of you who’ve been with  …

Serving History

19 Sep 2022updated : 21 Sep 2022

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Iqbal went to Europe in 1905 in the steps of another beloved teacher, Thomas Walker Arnold of Government College in Lahore. Arnold was a historian of Islam and Islamic art. He was a great friend of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, who had helped found a new college at Aligarh in  …


2 Sep 2022updated : 6 Sep 2022

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Hop down to items in latter part of this post if you prefer: Sam Aronow, ‘Jewish History’ episode on Moses Hess Bruce Gordon, course lectures on early modern Christianity, Yale Divinity Alan Brinkley, Rick Perlstein, Jackson Lears, Michael Kazin on Henry Luce’s journalism Federico Finchelstein on memory, history, and the  …

November quickies

19 Nov 2021updated : 22 Nov 2021

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now on 1 of 13 pages