But you can call me Scott. You may remember me from my star turns as “electrician” in Brick (2005) or “electrician: Los Angeles” in The Kid Stays in the Picture (2003), but that’s not the real me. This is the real me. (But this will be my legacy.) I know what you’re thinking. Why would Ari and Eric invite a guy who studies literature to join them on the edge of the American West?

I don’t know either.

I don’t “do” history. I’m an historicist. Understanding the difference between the two would require I provide you a detailed account of why the items on this list are on it, but such an account would desecrate the very thing it describes. (Sins of non-omission make the Baby Greenblatt cry.) This is because historicism is less about evidence and attentiveness and archives and more about Hayden White and Michel Foucault giving me permission to make shit up.*

I want to thank Ari and Eric for giving me the opportunity to play truant at two group blogs until I finish my dissertation. I’m truly honored they esteem my drivel enough to let it sully their good names, and will do my best to disappoint their justifiably low expectations.

* Consider my dissertation. Done? Now consider the fact H.G. Wells wrote a book about the future in which he claims nothing needs to be done about the “swarms of black, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people, who do not come into the new needs of efficiency,” because the ethical system of the New Republic will employ “the method that nature has followed hitherto in the shaping of the world, whereby weakness was prevented from propagating weakness” (298). How is that not social Darwinism? Or this:

For a multitude of contemptible and silly creatures, fear-driven and helpless and useless, unhappy or hatefully happy in the midst of squalid dishonor, feeble, ugly, inefficient, born of unrestrained lusts, and increasing and multiplying through sheer incontinence and stupidity, the men of the New Republic will have little pity and less benevolence. (300)

How is that not social Darwinism? Because I say so.