It was a book about Bob Dylan that named the territory with which this weblog is concerned. So it makes some sense for Dylan himself, in the autobiography I’m just getting around to, to offer the following manifesto. I may have to tack it up above the door:
The madly complicated modern world was something I took little interest in. It had no relevancy, no weight. I wasn’t seduced by it. What was swinging, topical, and up to date for me was stuff like the Titanic sinking, the Galveston flood, John Henry driving steel, John Hardy shooting a man on the West Virginia line. All this was current, played out and in the open. This was the news that I considered, followed and kept tabs on.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
In related news, I’m finally reading Against the Day. A review would be superfluous: Pynchon apparently spent nine years writing this novel expressly for me. Seriously. I’ve never made it past page 800 or so of any other Pynchon novel, but this one makes turning into an obsessive annotator seem agreeable, if not virtually required.
Welcome to another year of Old is the New New. Rest assured you shall never be troubled here by the urgent, the imperative, or the what’s happening now.
Several months ago, I stunned the world with the late-breaking news that Moby Dick is awesome, but I don’t think I conveyed how completely Melville had harpooned my imagination. Now Henry Jenkins, who I’m going to see this week, asks: “Was Herman Melville a Proto-Fan?”
(Just testing this Performancing Bookmarklet Plugin Widget Thingamabob.)
Sunday Times review of Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea, by Christine Garwood.
Recent flat-earthism was revived by an awkward Lancashireman (if that’s not a tautology), one Samuel Birley Rowbotham of Stockport, a radical socialist, quack doctor and all-round pain in the neck. With scant education concealed by tremendous energy and self-belief, Rowbotham started touring England in the late 1830s, arguing that the earth was a flat disc, the sun was 400 miles from London, and that we age only because we ingest too much “phosphate and sulphate of lime”. He comes across as a Victorian hybrid of David Icke and Dave Spart. Garwood vividly evokes this milieu of bolshy, furiously autodidactic working-class men in their splendid Mechanics’ Institutes and Owenite Halls of Science, determined to prove those toffee-nosed boffins down in London wrong. Even if they were spectacularly wrong themselves, there’s something appealing about their stubborn contrariness.
My whole life has led to acquiring this book: