Thursday, May 06, 2021
From the medium’s beginnings, starting in 1839, photographers sought to have their work recognized as art. Indeed, the modern history of photography has been written as a kind of pilgrim’s tale, a major plotline of which is a progressive discovery of the medium’s unique artistic nature following a series of unsatisfying imitative encounters with the arts of painting and drawing.
Wednesday, May 05, 2021
American Scholars will "challenge the ideologies that are being purveyed" in mainstream schools, including critical race theory, postmodernism and socialism, he said. It wants to prepare students for the "political outlook" they are likely to face in college.
… Chinese leaders “have not been forthcoming through this process,” and that U.S. analysis “is not based on an assumption that what they say is true.”
McCulloch’s son William told the Guardian that his father was “over the moon” at the sales. “He has been writing poetry for years, and sent it to different places, but always got rejected,” he said.
Tuesday, May 04, 2021
… After [Andrew] Sullivan left , he quickly attracted some 60,000 subscribers to his new newsletter on the independent online platform Substack; he more than doubled the income he was earning at the magazine, he said. One media critic described Sullivan’s success as “gut curdling” to other journalists. Substack reportedly recruited Yglesias, offering him a hefty advance to join after news of his clashes within Vox emerged. Among the other popular features on Substack are Mounk’s free-speech newsletter Persuasion, which aims “to persuade, rather than to mock or troll, those who disagree with us” and gained about 25,000 subscribers just weeks after it debuted in April 2020; and former reporter Matt Taibbi’s widely read media criticism, published under the rubric TK News.
More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science. While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited.
Monday, May 03, 2021
April would not be April without its characteristic tinge of melancholy. All of those cherry, plum, and pear petals drifting down beneath a blue sky, carpeting the green grass and the sidewalks. It's wonderful how April and October share a similar bittersweet wistfulness and wistful bittersweetness, isn't it? Every six months, year after year, the falling of petals and the falling of leaves. Trying to tell us something
It will surprise no one that I am not a fan of wokeness.
… In Praise of a Brazen Poet: On the Essays of Kay Ryan, Outsider. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
“Something nonsensical in the heart of poetry is the very reason why one can’t call poetry ‘useful’,” she explains at one point, and then adds, a little later, “This is why Auden and others can say with such confidence that poetry makes nothing happen. That’s the relief of it. And the reason why nothing can substitute for it.” We don’t expect critics to assert such truths anymore, let alone with such confidence. We expect them to “problematize,” to qualify. Ryan’s own confidence, then, is thrillingly anachronistic: obstinate, sure, but warming, too, as if a cast-iron stove were squatting in the middle of that valley.
Sunday, May 02, 2021
Saturday, May 01, 2021
Then it happened. Upon exiting the car in downtown Washington, I had one of those Charlton Heston end-of-civilization epiphanies. Here in the cool spring air were people who actually wore these things outdoors, as a matter of habit. “You maniacs!” I shouted more or less to myself, trying to remember when it had first been established beyond any reasonable doubt that there was no meaningful risk of outdoor transmission of the virus. I stumbled along in a daze past double maskers, a species I assumed were bred only in captivity, and a child wrapped in some kind of translucent garbage bag. Rain began to fall.
Friday, April 30, 2021
The Stasi became a highly effective secret police organization. Within East Germany it sought to infiltrate every institution of society and every aspect of daily life, including even intimate personal and familial relationships. It accomplished this goal both through its official apparatus and through a vast network of informants and unofficial collaborators (inoffizielle Mitarbeiter), who spied on and denounced colleagues, friends, neighbours, and even family members.
Localize. Decentralize. Break down the overly large into a smaller and more human scale. I mourn the death of the minors but perhaps it presages the death of the majors, or at least the rebirth of baseball in organized forms that respect the local, the idiosyncratic, the unregimented.
My guess is that Hunter meant for the Denhams’ plight to symbolize the condition of England after World War II, when unrelieved gray austerity was a way of daily life. But when I saw “A Picture of Autumn” in the theater, I was no less struck by the way in which it portrays the difficulties of sons and daughters whose aged parents can no longer care for themselves. That both interpretations are equally valid is a sign of the play’s thematic richness, and the fact that so much of it is so funny is a tribute to the author’s dramaturgical skill. Mr. Kaikkonen’s cast gets its laughs without stretching for them, and the production, as always with the Mint, is designed and mounted with consummate skill.
I'll take anybody to get rid of Krasner.
Thursday, April 29, 2021
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Believe or not, doing the things that must when some passes and you are one those responsible for putting things in or order. Thank God my brilliant friend Katherine Miller was there to help. I could not conceivably have done it without her help. So: I will blog again tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
I think the problem facing this country today is how timorous, credulous, and servile so many of our citizens have become.
Monday, April 26, 2021
My friend, the composer Harold Boatrite, passed away this morning. I share power of attorney for him with our friend Katherine Miller. So we will be involved in the funeral arrangements. We were friends for 50 years and I just spoke with him last night. So I'm pretty bummed out and really not interested in blogging just now. Here is a piece of his:
Sunday, April 25, 2021
Waspish, contrarian and mean spirited but never banal: Auberon was one of a kind. He was the son of the celebrated novelist Evelyn Waugh. Auberon came from a long line of writers and eccentrics. His forekind would be traced to 17th century North Britain. Waugh actually has a meaning: it means something like valiant. Thence they transmigrated to northern England wherein their surname was pronounced ‘woof.’ The Waugh’s were a most gifted race. They produced physicians, palmary writers and even a religious maniac who argued that the evidence for evolution was planted by Beelzebub to fool those of little faith
… outside of the Twitter bubble and large city centers where mask virtue-signaling reigns supreme, no sane person has been wearing a mask outdoors for months. The science doesn’t support it. As Slate noted in its late-to-the-party piece, the chances of catching COVID during a brief moment passing someone else on the sidewalk are lower than getting struck by lightning.
The American Humanist Association, in withdrawing its award to Professor Dawkins for his work, did not in the least revise their estimate of its worth, but rather condemned him for obliquely expressing an opinion contrary to a moral orthodoxy at least as doubtful as any religious orthodoxy. Its closedmindedness is worthy of any totalitarian regime.
I, too, am no big fan of Dawkins, but I certainly he should be allowed to say what he wants.