Mediadiet 16 februari 2019

One of the most familiar activities of a historian is extracting precious metal from the deep mines of unpublished materials held in archives. But Hobsbawm himself was never an archive hound: his preferred strategy was to read an astonishing range of printed sources in several languages and then produce an original and challenging interpretation out of them. Reflecting in old age on his own practice, he declared: “I would most like to describe myself as a kind of guerilla historian, who doesn’t so much march directly towards his goal behind the artillery fire of the archives, as attack it from the flanking bushes with the Kalashnikov of ideas.”

The Guardian, “Eric Hobsbawm by Richard J Evans review – Marxist intellectual, national treasure“, 15 februari 2019

Vad är Baldwin-receptet? Legeringen av självbiografi, politik och journalistik? 
– Ja, men också inslaget av poesi och lyrik. Det kallas stil, ett ord jag inte riktigt gillar. Det är något större än stil: det handlar om klarhet. Att sätta ihop meningar så att det lyser upp vad man vill säga. Det är många som beundrar Baldwin, men få försöker åstadkomma just det. Folk underskattar betydelsen av att skriva vackert. I akademin fnyser man åt det. Det finns en misstro mot att skriva vackert, som om man försökte gömma något. 

DN, “Ta-Nehisi Coates: ‘Föreställ dig en svart president som öppet erkänner sexuella övergrepp – det är omöjligt’“, 16 februari 2019

Winners Take All doesn’t name it, but what it’s really describing is an institutional crisis in which the political landscape has been cleared of its forces for representation and reformation. Instead, power has been put in the hands of a group that believes trade unions are merely cartels, thinkers are far inferior to “thought leaders” and hell is other people voting.

The Guardian, “Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas review – superb hate-reading“, 14 februari 2019

Hilmas revansch

Jag tror att det var Joanne McNeil som första gången (i sitt nyhetsbrev All My Stars) berättade om vilken glädje det var att ha Hilma af Klints “Altarbild, nr 1” som skärmsläckare på telefonen:

It fills me with joy each of the hundred thousand times I look at it every day

Sedan jag lade till den själv kan jag bekräfta att den är ett balsam för själen. Jag har också noterat andra som börjat använda den. Tänk en tyst global rörelse där Hilmas mystiska verk letar sig in i allas startsidor och sakta men säkert förvandlar mänskligheten.

Slumpexcerpt

Jerusalem wasn’t a mall, its walls only contained a mall, because given all its gates and security checkpoints, it was more like another airport. A mystical airport. A ruined terminal connecting future and past. More than international, interstellar.

Joshua Cohen, Moving Kings (2017)

Ensamt excerpt

Fick ett till citat från Readwise idag, ur A Meaningful Life:

Lowell and his wife had very few friends and they entertained virtually no one in their apartment except the cleaning woman, who would occasionally be found at the end of the day curled up in Lowell’s Eames chair, sound asleep with the television going full blast and a bottle of Lowell’s gin beside her on the floor.

Spöktecken

Propagerande felaktigheter.

To sum up – in 1978 a series of small mistakes created some characters out of nothing. The errors went undiscovered just long enough to be set in stone, and now these ghosts are, at least in potential, a part of every computer on the planet, lurking in the dark corners of character tables.

Dampkraft, “A Spectre is Haunting Unicode”, 29 juli 2018

New York är Venedig

Kim Stanley Robinson i en intervju, bl.a. om hans New York 2140:

I went to Venice to see how the city works when the streets are canals. And I went to New York often, including to places tourists don’t usually go, like the Cloisters, at the very north end of Manhattan Island – that’s a hill that’s 240 feet above sea level. In a Venetian New York, that would become incredibly valuable real estate. It might be a place for gigantic new skyscrapers. I also went to Hell Gate and Coney Island, places that would be drowned, and to other sections of the Bronx and Brooklyn, checking out what they might be like if they were submerged. Then also, the old Met Life Tower on Madison Square is an architectural imitation of the Campanile in Venice, but about ten times as big. It’s a nice visual joke – you’ve got a Venetian building in New York already, so that was clearly where I needed my characters to live.

Locus, “Kim Stanley Robinson: The Good Anthropocene”, 10 december 2018.

Láadan

Om Láadan:

Láadan is more than a conlang. It is what is known as an engineered language, designed as an experiment to test a specific hypothesis. Quoted in the Afterword of the 2000 Feminist Press reprint of Native Tongue, Elgin stated her hypothesis was that ‘language is our best and most powerful resource for bringing about social change.’

After ten years and two more novels in the Native Tongue trilogy, Elgin believed that her hypothesis failed. ‘Láadan got very little attention,’ Elgin remarked in a 2007 interview. “Not once did any feminist magazine (or women’s magazine) ask me about the language or write a story about it.’ In fact, Klingon became the foil to her Láadan. ‘The Klingon language, which is as ‘masculine’ as you could possibly get, has had a tremendous impact on popular culture,’ Elgin observed.

Literary Hub, “This Science Fiction Novelist Created a Feminist Language from Scratch”, 15 januari 2019.

Wikihistoria

Här, ett utdrag från veckans roligaste läsning – Desmond Warzels Wikihistory:

At 20:11:31, AsianAvenger wrote:
Very well. I shall return in mere moments, the savior of millions!

At 20:14:17, LadyJustice wrote:
Just checked the timeline; congrats on your success, AsianAvenger!

12/02/2104
At 10:52:53, LadyJustice wrote:
AsianAvenger?

At 11:41:40, SilverFox316 wrote:
AsianAvenger, we need your report, buddy.

At 17:15:32, SilverFox316 wrote:
Okay, apparently AsianAvenger was descended from Hong Xiuquan. Any volunteers to go back and stop him from negating his own existence?

Desmond Warzel, Wikihistory

Random sparat från Instagram

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The Gospel According to Peanuts.

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Randomiserade excerpter

För en tid sedan signade jag upp mig för Readwise, en tjänst som drar ihop och gör grejer med “highlights” i e-böcker en läser. I mitt fall nästan uteslutande Kindle-böcker. Jag marker ord och meningar ibland, och Readwise skickar ett mail om dagen med framslumpade stycken. En blir ju påmind om saker en har läst, men ibland är det obegripligt varför jag har valt att markera ett visst stycke eller mening. Ta det här t.ex.

He looked like a minor public official in a town where the Republicans have always been in power. He looked like a weakling, and you wanted to kick him right in the face.

L.J. Davis, A Meaningful Life (1971)

Jag misstänker att det var den där avslutande, och överraskande våldsamma, punchen på slutet som jag fastnade för.

Eller den här:

He was attracted to stairs, and although “awkward at it … he liked to run upstairs two at a time,”

George Dyson, Turing’s Cathedral (2012)

Här måste det snarare vara inledningen – att vara “attraherad av trappor” – som fastnade. Gissar att “He” är Alan Turing själv, men kan inte vara säker.