"There is nothing I can say about myself as a whole simply and completely, without intermingling and admixture. The most universal article of my own Logic is Distinguo. I always mean to speak well of what is good..."
-Michel de Montaigne, "Of the inconstancy of our actions", tr. M.A. Screech
I haven't posted in a few weeks, because I had a big ramble about St. Augustine incubating. I hate that Blogger won't let you put that in a list of drafts while you post some new, inconsequential thing like this.
My last post was an obit, and I can't help noticing that people are dying, as my grandfather used to say, who never died before: Mattel Intellivision shill George Plimpton -- yes, I know, respected man of letters, intellectual, blah blah blah obituarycakes -- but to me he's still the guy who pushed Intellivision back in the golden age of home video games. But, my parents bought me a computer instead of a game box, which seemed pretty far-seeing until programming jobs started haemorrhaging to the Third World. Who else is dead? Some guy who was in Singin' in the Rain, which I've never seen, nor ever really wanted to, since that song was butchered brutally for me by the other kids in elementary school. (Unlike, say, "It's A Small World After All", I'm prepared to believe that "Singin' in the Rain" did have merit at some point.). Elia Kazan, famous ratfink; Leni Riefenstahl, without whom there would probably be no History Channel. It's raining famous dead dudes.
Reading: John McPhee's Coming into the Country, an impression of Alaska circa 1975. It covers a lot of the same issues as Encounters with the Archdruid: the balancing interests of wilderness preservation and development: 'development' including even making wilderness accessible by road. It puts me very much in mind of the Red vs. Green debates in the Mars trilogy, which may be one of the reasons that those arguments ring so true; they've actually been had in the recent history of colonizing the remote parts of the Earth. So it's like a substitute KSR fix, with the bonus of being factual. It also portrays the people who have gone to Alaska to find a frontier, to be away from the restraints of urban society, and don't exactly find what they're looking for. A lot of those profiles are getting put into my personal Americans Are So Weird file, a very large overstuffed box which has brought me no nearer, over the years, to a good explanation of why this should be so. Worries about a severe oil spill in Prince William Sound turned out to be prophetic; debates about moving the capital less so, since a quick look at the State of Alaska website assures me it is still Juneau.
The major effect, though, is to give me wistful thoughts of tramping about the Arctic, something I would doubtless be shockingly bad it even if I could afford it or had a reason to.