Featured Post

BFRC

I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Ancient

 Nobody can ever think of their own times as "ancient." Because time moves in only one direction, every new day, indeed every moment in time, is the latest so far.  This is a trivial and obvious fact. The pretensions to modernity of 100 or 1,000 years ago seem quaint, but that is only because those dates don't seem as late any more. For every generation, it seems as though it were 23:59.  

Now people will write in and say that our times really are late ones. I don't disagree with that at all. It seems that way to me as well. How could it not seem that way. I'm only pointing out that this perception is the inevitable product of any linear notion of history. 

Friday, June 18, 2021

Headline

 from our local newspaper:


KU says it won’t use controversial faculty termination policy; 18-year-olds can now conceal-carry firearms

Eurocentrism

 There was an article about an African script that some of my FB friends highlighted. It was supposed to be a great intervention against Eurocentrism, or the supposition that only Europeans are literate. But then, in the middle of the article, the revelation that the real mistake is to see literacy itself as a great cultural achievement... So the logic... Africans have developed writing systems too (not a great surprise, since Carthage was a Phoenecian city), but writing systems are not a big deal in the first place?? The intellectual incoherence is striking. 

Thursday, June 17, 2021

False quote of Unamuno

 «El fascismo se cura leyendo y el racismo se cura viajando». This was not said by Unamuno. The correct sentence is by Pío Baroja and is ""el carlismo se cura leyendo y el nacionalismo viajando".  

So they have Unamuno sdaying "fascism is cured by reading and racism by traveling."  The real quote, by someone else, is that "Carlism is cured by reading and nationalism by traveling."  I don't even know if people talked about "racism" in Spain in the 1930s. Even in the US growing up in the 1970s I heard more about being "prejudiced" or "bigoted." Unamuno was racist himself, I'm pretty sure.  

There are a lot of people who have read a lot of books and traveled to other places who are racists and fascists.   

typography

 The New York Review of Books quotes poetry in italics. Since the columns are very narrow (four to a page), even many short lines of verse will not fit, and have to be extended to two lines via indentation, so the poetry quoted in any article is nearly illegible.  There is no particular reason to use italics (they quote prose in roman type). The problem of the narrow columns then would be not so bad. 

This mistreatment of verse seems an accidental by-product of a format designed for prose, but it has unintended consequences. When they print a poem as a contribution, they enclose it in a box perfectly suited to its length and width, never breaking a line where is isn't sposed to be broken.   

A short phone conversation

 I once reviewed a book for a press, prepublication. It wasn't bad, just thin in a few places, as though the author had read only the poet sh/e was studying in the book / dissertation. This was a long time ago, before email, I think. I don't recall the poet or the author of the book, but I think it was for Bucknell. They used to publish everyone's dissertation on Spanish poetry, including mine. I did my normal job, trying to be both rigorous and helpful. The editor of the press called me up one day (this is why I think it was before email) and read to me the highly appreciative letter he had got from the author, how helpful I had been, etc... He just read it to me, I thanked him, and he hung up. I didn't think much about it in years since then, but today I was thinking of a harsh review I wrote about a book on Brines, how I would not do that today. 

I like to think I have always wanted to be both helpful and rigorous. Kronik, Fernández Cifuentes, and a few others were know for harsh book reviews. I've done some myself, but will not in the future. I think such criticism is valid and necessary, but I just don't think anymore that I am the one the needs to do it.    

Monday, June 14, 2021

Swimming Dream

 I was traveling somewhere but by water, swimming. I was worried about my devices, apple watch and phone, getting wet and ruined. Other than that, there was no sense of effort, struggle, or danger, and the water did not feel cold or wet in the slightest.