July 22, 2021

It's odd, I seem more committed to gathering the links and saving them on my computer than I am to sharing them with you.  By now I have quite a backlog.  What is up with that?  

Who knows. Anyway, here are some more links:

Pretty good, but I fear a little bit still not “outside” enough, not recognizing our transcendence. Ask the sciences to legitimate their descriptiviism, and you see that the acid they try to scatter on normativity actually endangers far more than Our morality. It endangers our capacity to track the truth.


Do I think it’s funny that the Harvard Business Review began to worry about social media “getting away from us” only in the wake of the GameStop episode?  That the 2016 election and the 2020 election and everything in between (anti-vaxxer stuff?), and since, didn’t make the cut for them? No, no I do not think it’s funny actually.


Nice piece about William Walton, neglected twentieth-century English composer, by Terry Teachout. And here’s a pretty good version of Belshazzar’s Feast, by Walton; and here is a good recording of his Crown Imperial, from 1937. Two things about him strike me from this piece: one is Teachout’s suggestion that he was wholly secular, and that this secularity gave his work a kind of immanent claustrophobia (my words, not TT’s).  The other is that he never really got over his feelings of insecurity because of being lower middle-class.  His stigmatization there harmed his career, he thought, and maybe he wasn’t wrong.  In any event he kept writing after World War Two, even in the face of deep indifference.  Something powerful to be learned from that.


This I think is a shallow political move, for reasons of strategic electoral positioning, that could make it much harder for France to confront its own past and move forward.  (Follow up: Basically, Daniel Drezner’s piece seems spot-on to me.)


Good small piece on Escape from New York, John Carpenter’s dystopian pic that turns 40 this year.  Wish they would do a piece on his The Thing, which turns 40 next year. 


Adam Tooze is a good writer and a good thinker—his book Crashed is a really sharp read of the past few decades’ political-economics, and merits your attention (and he has a new book coming out soon!)—and this small piece on China and its twentieth-century history does not disappoint, not least for little observations like this: “In his classic book Imperialism (1902), the economist JA Hobson mapped different futures for the 20th century depending on the trajectory of China’s history. Whether China was broken up, subordinated to a foreign power or asserted itself as a nation state, the Middle Kingdom would shape the future. Hobson’s insights were forgotten in the West over the course of the 20th century. But his observation is what confronts us today.”  And this i think is insightful too: “It is not clear that American politics can digest plurality other than from a position of dominance.”


More tomorrow, I promise!  Hope everyone is doing ok today.  Not too terribly hot in Virginia today; I hope it is pleasant where you are, as well.