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« Life's Cruel Ironies | Main | Exercise Web Humor »

September 17, 2003


Friedrich --

* Thanks to Laurence Aurbach for pointing out this superb New Urbanist manifesto by New-Urb ayatollah Andres Duany in Planetizen here. Duany spells out 41 principles he wants to see architecture base itself on; tweak a word or two here and there, and I'd be happy to see all the arts based on them. Laurence is an interesting guy himself, and about as New-Urb as a person can be. He works as an assistant editor at the New-Urb publication The Town Paper (which I recommend, and which can be read here), and although he doesn't live in a New-Urb town, he does work in one, Kentlands. He has this to say about Duany's manifesto:

Architects of all stripes and persuasions seem to find these 41 principles to be valid, worthwhile and more-or-less uncontroversial. It is boggling that so many designers can agree to this list, and yet they produce such different works that lead to such heated disagreement about style. Those few that might disagree with Duany's principles (Eisenman, Muschamp, Koolhaas, etc.) would, I suspect, believe that a response to Duany is beneath their dignity.

* And thanks to Mike Snider (whose own blog is here) for pointing out this brilliant essay by Paul Lake here. Essential reading for art-lovers who are fed up with the played-out modernist/po-mo thing, and who are curious about what's likely to take its place. Hint: form, tradition, patterns, neuroscience, evo-bio ... Dis the Blowhards all you will, but don't say we didn't give you fair warning.

* Visitors who enjoy musing about the French may enjoy this Atlantic Online q&a with the novelist Diane ("Le Divorce") Johnson here.

* Here's a transcript of a first-rate Booknotes interview with the Princeton historian Robert Darnton. I'm a big Darnton fan. He's an 18th-century buff who's fascinated by the French and the Enlightenment, he's got a searching and industrious mind, and he writes elegantly and entertainingly for the general audience. If you haven't given his work a try, my tip is to start with The Great Cat Massacre, buyable here. In this interview, he makes a characteristically Darntonian point: that, until modern dentistry, most people lived with constant jaw and tooth pain.

* The economist Tyler Cowen (who co-blogs at Marginal Revolution, here, with Alex Tabarrok) is interviewed by Nick Gillespie for Reason magazine online here. The Marginal Revolution duo are really rockin' out, by the way -- it's one of the liveliest blogs around. And, hey, Cowen provides a link to this recent interview here with Milton Friedman.

* Gerald Vanderleun (whose blog is here) linked to this Washington Post piece here by his wife Sheryl. It seems that when Gerald gets an itch, there's nothing that's going to make him stop scratching. And he bought this digital camera, see, and ... Well, suffice it to say that many wives and husbands alike will recognize themselves in Sheryl's hilarious piece. Oops, did I make all this sound too R-rated? Well, it isn't, but Sheryl's piece is awfully funny anyway.

* Darwinianly speaking, why should music even exist? Nicholas Wade gives the question a good going-over for the NYTimes here.

* Tom Utley in the Spectator writes a hard-to-resist, 'fessing-up-to-it column about finally admitting that most art bores him, here. Who hasn't felt this way sometimes? Brian Micklethwait (here) is tickled.

* What form is the music life likely to take should the record companies really crumble? John Holbo takes a number of good swings at the topic here. Crooked Timber's Daniel Davies takes enthusiastic part in the comments-fest, and later formulates a few new thoughts back at Crooked Timber, here.

* Here's a good column by John Leo about America's immigration follies. "Nowadays," Leo observes, "referring to illegal immigration as somehow illegal is considered overly harsh and judgmental, perhaps racist and nativist as well."

* Blogs are springing up at the websites of all kinds of legit publications and institutions. Two responses: good for them! And: about time! Here's a promising newcomer from Britain's Adam Smith Institute.

* Jay Nordlinger writes an amusing column for the WSJ about why the Republicans (in his opinion, of course) are the real-guy party, here.

* Gareth Forman, the Eisenstein of stick-figure Java animation, has struck again, here, with a stick-figure remake of that Spike Jonze/Christopher Walken/Fatboy Slim music video, whatever it was called. Now that's conceptual/karaoke art I can get behind.



P.S. Apologies for the inconsistency with underlining and boldfaces on the links above -- I seem to be on the losing end of a minor tussle with Movable Type. When in doubt, click on the word "here."

posted by Michael at September 17, 2003


Sorry to bitch but I can't get to the brilliant essay by Paul Lake. I tried to go via Mike Snider but that didn't work either.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on September 18, 2003 12:51 AM

Hmph. I'm flabbergasted. Maybe the server it's on is having trouble but will be working again in the a.m.? Anyway, I've got a printout and will send it your way if the site refuses to come back to life.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 18, 2003 12:58 AM

Ah, the link's working now.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 18, 2003 08:19 AM

Thanks for bringing Robert Darnton to our attention. On a related note, I've purchased and listened to the Teaching Company's series by Alan Kors on the Enlightenment. Great stuff, although I have not read any of the bibliography he suggested. At least, not yet. But, I *will* look into Mr. Darnton.

Posted by: Michael Serafin on September 18, 2003 01:35 PM

Hey Michael, Good to hear from you, hoping you're doing well, and glad to hear you enjoyed the Kors. He's amazing, isn't he? You might get a big kick out of a book Darnton wrote about pre-Revolutionary French porn. Ah here it is. A bit of a doorstop, to be honest -- I didn't read every page by a long shot. But great material. What are you reading and watching these days?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 18, 2003 07:54 PM

Heh, some of us still have near constant dental pain. The existence of modern dentistry does not pre-suppose the ability to pay for it!

Posted by: David Mercer on September 20, 2003 03:08 PM

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