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Best wishes to all for the new year. Among my resolutions: more postings.
Philip Guston, Painting, Smoking, Eating (1973; via the Guardian). I like the heap of his signature hobnailed boots behind him — I think they stand for the compulsive quality of his work. May we all contrive both to harness and indulge our compulsions, in due proportion!
So I heard we might be starting blogging again. I kind of want to do a roundup of what’s happened since we stopped. But that seems like work. So I’ll note instead that today, I gave a lecture1 on 1968: Tet, Johnson
surrendering the Alamo declining to run, MLK’s murder, RFK’s murder, Chicago (including Ribicoff v. Daley, Buckley v. Vidal, and selected truncheons v. a whole bunch of protesters) … is it the worst year in American history?
1Lecturing is for professors who should be writing their books what writing letters was for Hemingway:2 empty calories, an excursion that makes you feel as if you’ve done something really productive when kind of you haven’t.3
2I should probably have a link for that quotation but I can’t find one. Anyway I’m not sure we’re really starting blogging again, so I don’t know if I feel committed to looking for stuff like that, you know?
3Hey, html footnotes again! I can’t remember if we thought those were funny, or not.
Make a joke about Nietzsche and the eternal recurrence. Problem: surely it’s been done before.
Make list of possible farewell sayings. “Better to burn out than it is to rust.” “So long, and thanks for all the fish.” “Here’s looking at you, kid.” “It’s been emotional.” “Thumpity thump thump look at Frosty go.” Problem: there’s too many.
Have another cup of coffee.
Play around with formal ends of letters like in days of yore. “Remember, gentleman, as you hit refresh, that I am pleased to remain, Yours, &c.” Problem: would have to compose the rest of the letter, too.
Go on mad hunt for fugitive Christmas cookies.
Search wildly for an appropriate poem to parody. Candidates: Hyperion, A Funeral Elegy, the Aeneid, the Odyssey. Problem: pretentious, also “blogga feminaeque cano.”
Plainly: I’d rather take a break before it becomes a chore or I start posting pictures of cats. Thanks for reading; see you around some time maybe.
On he flared….
Roger Ebert writes about the patriarchy.
I am not concerned so much with Church teachings, but with the way men’s minds work. To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up.
And he watches the Blair/Hitchens debate.
The most stimulating thing about the debate was that it was held at all. How often do we ever hear fundamental questions debated in a civil manner between intelligent speakers? Would there be an audience on cable for weekly debates between college teams? In America, debating was the leading intercollegiate sport before the introduction of football.
Blair and Hitchens made points one might agree with, and points one might not. At one point, Hitchens asked Blair a question that hung in the air for a second and went unanswered, because Blair must have had no answer. This was the question:
“Is it good for the world to consider women as an inferior form, as all religions do?”
Of course the “we” who held the debate are Canadians.