Friday, January 29, 2010

Further to the New Digs

I've been talking lately about expanding into greener pastures: in Internet terms, that would be a more active site. No offense to the readers here, lurkers and all. (And, of course, I won't abandon GSM!) But I'd like to try putting my thoughts up against a tough crowd of very active debaters.

So, in that vein, I should note that I will soon be entering a two-week trial period at The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Things haven't been hammered out yet, but I'm thinking I'll extend the "blogging the canon" project there. After two weeks, we'll be able to tell if it's a good fit. If not, I will return with my tail between my legs. But, again, I will never abandon you here, my (very quietly) adoring public! I'm still Rufus from the block. (Oh God, I apologize for writing that.)

Actually, I highly recommend The League of Ordinary Gentlemen. The blog deals mostly with politics, but they do so with a goal of breaking out of the tired left/right dichotomy and boring culture war stances. To quote their masthead:
"The contributing writers hail from various points along the political spectrum, but all hold a deep and abiding commitment to the exploration of ideas outside the foray of rhetorical and ideological cul de sacs.
The entries are less posts than they are dialogues with an aim towards sustained discussion on topics and issues that lay at the foundations of our lives. This approach, we hope, will provide readers with a thoughtful and searching alternative analysis."
I believe that great art and literature should lay at the foundations of our lives. But this brings up a question: Rufus, what does "blogging the canon" have to do with politics? Not a lot really.

Admittedly, however, it's surprisingly hard to talk about "the Western Canon" in North America without politics entering into it. If your goal is the preservation of the cultural patrimony, it's assumed you're a "cultural conservative"; and of course, I am in that sense: I do want to conserve the culture! But that doesn't mean I want people to go vote Republican and defend "family values" or whatever. I like to think of myself more as a curmudgeon than anything else. I don't know who curmudgeons vote for; we just bitch about everyone!

Besides, the point is to start talking about culture outside of the culture war stereotypes. The most genuine "cultural conservative" I've ever known was a professor who was a political anarchist, and absolutely dedicated to convincing young people to make Plato, Homer, Moses, and Dante part of their mental furniture. I think that the "great books" should be a part of everyone's life. Because, ultimately, reading these books is good for you. They make you more fully human!

Anyway, the League of Ordinary Gentlemen outpost will either succeed, or it will crash and burn. Either way, feel free to visit me there and post questions, insults, or jokes.


Holly said...

Good luck over there! Maybe you were already planning this, but I hope you are going to post links here when you make a post there. If you can, disable the comments here on the referral post, so folks will remember to post over there.

Rufus said...

I'll do that. Also, if I wind up doing the canon, I'll pretty much have to edit and rework some of the stuff I've already done here. You can't really leave out The Iliad! I think I might have to clean up my language a bit for that site too, since I take it they don't swear like sailors there.