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Two weeks

August 17, 2011

What can I say–I’ve been out of town. And for the last two days I’ve been busy catching up on my RSS feeds. So, in lieu of a lengthy post, here are brief notes on articles I’ve found interesting:

I’ve never heard of David Jones, but apparently he had the endorsement of Yeats, Eliot, and Auden. Now I kind of want to. But I also am somewhat skeptical of finding him to be an actual modernist master. If anyone knows much about him beyond what this article says, please tell me.

I have heard of John C. Wright, a Catholic sci-fi author whose books I’ve never read, but who occasionally writes interesting articles. This one discusses the links between fictional magic and the occult, and is good; this one discusses the proper attitude of Catholic writers towards magic, and is better. Nothing revolutionary, but good exposition of a complicated subject, except for some rather dreary ranting against modernist literature.

And I have no interest in Jaron Lanier, per se, but his way of being interests me in much the same way as that of the maker of Dwarf Fortress. The true geeks seem often to be somewhat disturbed individuals, or if not disturbed, at least pathetic, but at the same time it’s difficult not to respect them. They actually care about things, in a deep and selfless way; the problem is that the things they care about don’t actually matter. Though Lanier is relevant in way Tarn is not; his concerns about the role of technology resemble my own, and he might (might!) be useful in that regard.

There were also articles on WWII (did Japan surrender because of the nuke, or because Russia declared war on them?), spoilers (perhaps hearing spoilers in advance actually deepens our enjoyment of stories), torture (it was common in the past, then made uncommon by the Enlightenment, and now is common again because of encounters with foreign cultures–really?), and digitization (is what we gain from the physical text the ability to decide for ourselves what about it is worth recording?). I don’t have much more to say about the articles themselves, but don’t be surprised if one of these topics doesn’t end up inspiring another post later this week.

(Also, the Grizzly Bear song Two Weeks is worth listening to.)

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