Monday, July 18, 2011

One Hundred Pages of Solicitude: In Sum

Last week, I embarked on a seven day experiment, where for each day, I read a hundred pages of some at least semi-scholarly work, and posted my thoughts on it afterward. They start off as quick, pithy assessments, and then, unsurprisingly, spiral out of control shortly thereafter. Here, for the record, are links to each day:

OHPoS #1 : Poetics of Space. Wherein I learn that in space, no one can hear you rhyme.
OHPoS #2: The Messanic Reduction. Wherein I learn that, no, you can't just pick up phenomenology as you go along.
OHPoS #3: Terminal Identity. Wherein I read about that Cronenberg movie with the sadistic TV programmer who caters to the worst denomination of viewers. You know, the Running Man.
OHPoS #4: Understanding Media. Wherein I assemble a veritable bevy of quotable McLuhanisms. Also, I learn things.
OHPoS#5: Shopping Towns, USA. Wherein I discover how to design a shopping mall in 1960.
OHPoS#6: You and the State. Wherein I passionately defend the politics of conservatism. Hey, I was surprised too. Also: my favorite opening tag line of the bunch.
OHPoS#7: Learning to Live with Crime. Wherein I interrogate my inner urge to burgle. (I don't really. I just wanted to use the word "burgle.")

Out of all of them, Terminal Identity was probably the most enjoyable, but Understanding Media is the one I'd most likely go back and finish. And I'd like to clarify with Terminal Identity that the reason that the argument seemed so familiar to me is a reflection of how important the text is to sci-fi studies: its echo is felt in a lot of later works, and I recognized that familiarity when I read it here, in a weird reverse resonance sort of thing that crops up frequently in scholarly stuff.

All in all, it was an interesting experiment. I think I'll keep the feature, albeit on less of a frequent rotation. It's interesting to note that while these entries often turned out to be longer than my 500 word Dragon Age week long entries, I never felt quite the same level of fatigue writing them. Perhaps it's because I was writing them more immediately after the experience, or perhaps because the actual experiences were a little more varied. I'll admit, though, that I was still ready to call it quits by the last one. A 700 page reading week takes a lot out of a guy. (And it was considerably more than that, when you add about 950 for the speed read I did of Martin's Dance with Dragons that week, and at least 100 pages of other miscellany. )

Later Days.

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