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A Rule of Storytelling and Unhappiness

As my friend began reading William Morris’s News From Nowhere, or, An Epic of Rest, I thought I might take that journey too–and the existence of an audio recording guaranteed it. (Plus, what a great damn subtitle to entice a guy like me!) I’ve only just started, just now finishing Chapter 5 on this morning’s […]

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UPDATE! Coming Up on Interchange: “Later also headache”

The title of this post comes from Naomi Baron’s Words Onscreen which will serve as the basis of an upcoming Interchange program. “Later also headache” was a description given by a German respondent as to a negative aspect of “reading onscreen.” Here’s a look at the schedule for the next month or so, but you […]

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Serving the Word

It might have been but a deception of the vapours, but, the longer the stranger was watched, the more singular appeared her manoeuvres. “Benito Cereno” by Herman Melville In a recent scholarly biography of Louis Agassiz, Christoph Irmscher, in a chapter on Agassiz’s notorious “race science,” notes that Agassiz is in no way the lone […]

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The Work of Language

This is from Dan McCall’s preface to the Norton Critical ed. of Melville’s Short Novels. ********* He read voraciously; in Moby-Dick he said, “I have swam through libraries.” When he began to read Shakespeare, for example, something not altogether conscious or voluntary began happening to him. In American Renaissance, …F. O. Matthiessen concludes that Melville’s […]

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Pouring Out of Various Devices

After reading pages 40, 43 and 44 of the 9/25/14 New York Review of Books. 1. p 40: a review essay by Robin Lane Fox on several gardening books and an exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden called “Groundbreakers: Great American Gardens and the Women Who Designed Them.” Gardening is for the “birds.” It […]

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Part I–This American Life On Animal Sacrifice

I am a casual listener of This American Life. When our family of four drives to and fro to relatives’ homes we will listen to it along with Radiolab. These are “family friendly” podcasts normally (not always though). I’m often grumpy with Radiolab as they tend to answer the questions posed by their topic in […]

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The Ungraspable (Extractable) Phantom

“But the list is artful…” (Harold Beaver) Melville opens Moby Dick, often considered the greatest book written by an American, with a list of extracts. That is, our greatest author offers as opening gambit the words of others. And many of them. There are eighty extracts. They begin at the beginning, with Genesis, the beginning […]

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Becoming Commoner

Let’s give Henry a prefatory statement to center our thinking before we dither about in the malleabilities the minded self: The penny-post is, commonly, an institution through which you seriously offer a man that penny for his thoughts which is so often safely offered in jest. And I am sure that I never read any memorable […]

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In Silent Misconstrual Walks the Con

Coda to “Briggflatts” (1966) by Basil Bunting. A strong song tows us, long earsick. Blind, we follow rain slant, spray flick to fields we do not know. Night, float us. Offshore wind, shout, ask the sea what’s lost, what’s left, what horn sunk, what crown adrift. Where we are who knows of kings who sup […]

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Listening to Literature, or Hearing Hard Words

I believe I’ve said somewhere else that I really only discovered a “fecundity” of thinking in myself* when I started listening to audiobooks while walking.  You know how you need to justify reading to yourself as an activity that isn’t just “wasting time” (stupid American “values”)?  Maybe you don’t, but something in me, still, even […]

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Luis Buñuel’s The Young One: Anatomy of White Male Supremacy (WFHB’s Interchange)

AUDIO: Luis Buñuel’s The Young One: Anatomy of White Male Supremacy We open with the jazz tune, “Epistrophy,” from Eric […]

WFHB’s Interchange – A Targeted Divide: What Bullets do to Bodies and Lives

AUDIO: What Bullets do to Bodies and Lives This is the special 90-minute finale for our series A Targeted Divide. […]

WFHB’s Interchange – A Targeted Divide: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen-Protector

AUDIO: Crime, Decline, and the Rise of the Citizen Protector For our second show in our three-part series, A Targeted […]

WFHB’s Interchange: A Targeted Divide: Gunning Down the Bill of Rights

AUDIO: Gunning Down the Bill of Rights Today we begin a series of three programs on Guns in the USA […]

WFHB’s Interchange – Undermining Zinctown: The Feminist Socialism of Salt of the Earth

AUDIO: Undermining Zinctown We open with music composed by Sol Kaplan for the film Salt of the Earth. Kaplan was […]

WFHB’s Interchange – An Interview with Jasper Bernes on Logistics and Food Systems

AUDIO: Capital’s (Hidden) Art of War and the Belly of the Revolution In the book of Genesis in the Hebrew […]