Tuesday, October 28, 2014

a few links for perusing


From Terry Teachout on the dismal reality of book blurbs and what they're "really" for.

... Not that multiple requests for blurbs clutter my mailbox each morning, but I am asked to supply quotes fairly frequently, occasionally from friends and colleagues, more often from publicists and authors I don’t know. Every time I open such a letter, I remember the wise words of an editor of mine who once assured me in a moment of candor that blurbs don’t sell books. “You know who they’re really for?” she added. “Our own salespeople. We use blurbs to convince them that our books are worth selling.”

A sobering thought, that.

Then there's this fascinating piece on a band that did a note for note reproduction of Kind of Blue without any bit of swing whatsoever.


The joke sounds brutally but wonderfully meta, if jazz is the American classical music then if you just play all the notes perfectly but without any swing then, there you go.  In the wake of Teachout's biography on Ellington last year there have been some fascinating debates on whether Ellington's tendency to use the riffs of his sidemen constituted plagiarism or not and that got into and gets into questions about creative activity as an individual or social process.  We don't seem to expect jazz to be a one-person process the way we would expect a symphony to be the result of one person rather than a committee project.  Why is it easier to imagine jazz as the creative result of multiple minds while we tend to want a sonnet to be the result of anything but a committee, preferably just a single person?

According to at least one new poll (HT Phoenix Preacher), evangelicals are not particularly picky about doctrine.


So that might explain why Mark Driscoll still has a shot at a future career as a public ministry figure?  He's already said enough stuff about things like the Targum Neofiti that biblical scholars left, right and center have said he's a failure with commenting about rabbinical commentaries (and didn't Driscoll once say a Christian couldn't learn anything from a Jew about Jesus?)

Keeping somewhat with the motif of markulinity, in a post-2008 recession setting what if generation Y has avoided buying cars and throwing money into real estate because they just don't want that stuff?  It might be tough to tell the new generation of men to "man up" and invest in those things if the economic incentives to buy those things are dwindling.  What if the adulthood a guy like Driscoll has been pushing for is really just a particular form of consumer identity that is taken as the status indicator of responsible adulthood rather than actually responsible adulthood? 


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