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 )
Southern-UK student Simon Roper’s popular YouTube channel is a favorite of mine. Here he weaves a little historical context around a shift rapidly overtaking in ordinary spoken English, in western-world English-language cultures at least, within roughly the five decades of my own lifetime — and very much still, unquestionably, to various degrees a matter of low-grade mundane cognitive (and perhaps also social) discomfort for many of us.
Going to commend to you for viewing / listening a recent video, below, by Vlad Vexler, whose stuff I follow fairly casually and by no means uncritically, for the compressed and (in his own word) ‘cartoonish’ account it offers of the enduring idea of Russian civilization as Christian heir of Hellenistic-Roman imperial world and Hellenic root. Perhaps especially noteworthy in it, for me, is brief mention of 1930s & ’40s Soviet architectural neoclassicism. (Stalin, too, indeed, by a certain implication, belongs to the line of Christian princes — if I can be forgiven a following-on in the cartoonish mode much too rash probably for most folks’ toleration.)
Just to be clear, I’m not so interested in where Vexler is going with his story in the video’s last third or so. His analysis and hedged bets about what’s next for Putin & regime may or may not be worth considering, I don’t know. Likewise those of that yet more prolific and compelling content creator Timothy Snyder! If Vexler’s very compact ‘cartoon’ of a history of Russian national-imperial genealogy in the video appeals to you, though, I’d like to suggest also checking out some, at least, of Snyder’s semester of lectures on Ukraine, completed last month, in which this theme features throughout (and gets developed in less cartoonish fashion — arguably!).
At the time of this posting, by the way, Vexler’s video has been designated ‘age-restricted’ by YouTube and can only be viewed on their site. YouTube’s judgment could be reversed at some point, so I’m keeping the video in my post. Your guess as to why it merits (for now?) the badge of shame is good as mine. [UPDATE: YouTube has rescinded (for now?) the badge of shame, and the video will play below.]
I think the answer to ‘Can we all bring back blogging, together?’ probably has to be No.
I mean, for one thing, blogging never went away (see e.g. the site you’re looking at right now), it merely suffered diminishment. At a certain point a dozen or so years ago the world’s digitally-connected started to see blogging as something without much of a future of its own. And — for a second thing, then — this now more or less universally shared perception is unlikely to change by a great deal, ever, I would say, judging by how things stand at the start of 2023. (For a third thing, though: blogging really sort of made its comeback already a few short years ago, under the name of newslettering, with no want of fanfare.)
None of which is to say that I’m down on this little project from two designer-creators, Ash Huang and Ryan Putnam, to give blogging a boost while ‘social media’ appears to be on the ropes. Quite the contrary! I’ve signed up (just this morning, so a little late according to project setup bounds, I guess) to participate, in fact. I suppose this post itself qualifies as participatory.
Listening off and on today to video of a public event I knew of beforehand and might, a few weeks ago, have chosen to attend in person. (Still really only partly wish I’d gone, delight in many ways though it clearly would have been to experience first-hand. I’m a crowd-avoider.)
How many long-time spouses of men who have so little difficulty talking about themselves and their work, and whose habits in doing so are as set as Spiegelman’s evidently are, will very readily sustain the pleasurable creative effort Mouly pursues, live on stage here, in drawing him along from thought to thought? I suppose there’s professional remove, in part, that she’s able to bring to it in this setting. She sees him as someone — someone of his generation, it may be right to say — whose story and whose stories need to be heard (in this I’d agree wholeheartedly), and she makes the most of the conversational opportunity. In any case, what one imagines could easily have been an interesting older guy’s tedious, perhaps only occasionally illuminating holding-forth is here instead a measured exploration of memories and vital individual perspective.
A little late, I recently caught a good 10-min. interview that Daniel Warren Johnson gave this year to CBR’s Caitlin Sinclair Chappell at the annual mega-event comics convention in San Diego, held in summer. I regularly watch / listen to Johnson’s weekly YouTube ‘Friday with DDubs’ and am an appreciative though not exhaustive reader of his work. I don’t follow so closely that I could deliver a succinct account of his career as a popular comics creator if asked. (Not that anybody’s asking!) Chappell, happily, is a great interviewer. This short chat did a lot to stitch together a more cohesive picture of how Johnson thinks and works for me.
“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 …
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 …
now on 1 of 13 pages