Monthly Archives: June 2009

links for 2009-06-07

Cantwell continued

I’m continuing to read Robert Cantwell’s When We Were Good: The Folk Revival, and still experiencing, in about equal measure, dissonance of the loathed and the admired: too-frequent overblown PostModernist claptrap, but mixed with really astute observation. Here’s a nice bit of analysis, replete with apposite coinage and illuminating simile:

Culturally, the banjo was an enigma, having been thrust out of a series of social niches through associations that had themselves become indefinable: abandoned by black culture, which reconstructed it from an African progenitor, forsaken by the Gilded Age parlor society in which it had a brief vogue, repudiated by jazz as jazz moved uptown –it was the instrument that history left behind. To take it up, as [Pete] Seeger had, was a gesture at once disarmingly candid and hauntingly emblematic, a fundamentally comic piece of cultural scavengery that like a clown’s broken umbrella solicits ordinary good will in conventional terms as it also legislates some independence of norms and conventions. (pg. 245)

T.S. Spivet

Intrigued by Christopher Lydon’s interview with author Reif Larsen (a 45-minute podcast), I asked the nice folks at Amazon to slip The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet onto a brown truck and hey presto it arrived yesterday. I’ll bet that you’ll do something similar once you’ve visited the book’s Web site, though some might be deterred by the last sentence of Philip Marchand’s review:

Like the Smithsonian, the novel is full of acquired curiosities whose significance and place in a larger order is very hard to figure out.

Yes, well, some of us think life’s a bit like that. And some of us (but not all of us) really relish the figuring. Probably the same people who relish Codex Seraphinianus (explore some images)

links for 2009-06-02

links for 2009-06-01

  • "…the web's most comprehensive site devoted to the art of landscape, nature and documentary photography using digital as well as traditional image processing techniques. … instructive feature articles, product reviews, travel and technical discussions, inspiring portfolios, and a Discussion Forum…"
    (tags: photography)