Article

God Said No, Abe Said What

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.

Article

The Further Adventures of Ben Franklin's Ghost

The other day, I posted about Ben Franklin’s posthumous popularity as the go to ghost for American spiritualists. Probably Franklin’s most frequent and energetic earthly correspondent was an abolitionist minister turned spiritualist named John Murray Spear. In 1851 or 1852, Spear and his daughter Sophronia began seeking messages from the spirit world. In 1853, they announced that Spear had become the mouthpiece for the General Assembly of Spirits, a benevolent association of departed worthies like Franklin, Jefferson, and Emmanuel Swedenborg. The Assembly of Spirits was divided into a number of committees and subcommittees: the “Educationizers,” the “Governmentizers,” the “Healthfulizers,” the “Agriculturalizers,” and so on, but it was the “Electricizers,” headed of course by Franklin, who had immediate plans for Spear.

Read more