Some Catching Up

Happenings on the “life outside writing/blogging/anything artistic” front have been flying. News on those if/when things germinate. For now, here’re some things I’ve been meaning to post for the past month…

Now what am I supposed to watch on Sunday mornings?

[Michael] Chabon defends mass entertainment against the accusation that it is merely a formulaic product. At times it is; yet commercial culture’s focus on deadlines and profits can also act as a “quickening force” on an artist’s imagination. He demonstrates this with discerning essays on Arthur Conan Doyle, Will Eisner and Howard Chaykin, all of whom, like Chabon himself, attained the ultimate goal of the “pop artisan”: a delicate balance between “the unashamedly commercial and the purely aesthetic”. He disagrees with those who equate literary entertainment with mindless escapism, passive consumption or unproductive activity (“guilty pleasures” is “a phrase I loathe”). Instead, he finds that different forms of writing offer distinct satisfactions to an alert reader.

It’ll probably still be a while before you can neurointerface directly with the internet or your friends and lovers, but psychologists are testing implantable brain ‘pacemakers’ that regulate brain activity and so far appear really useful for treating the most stubborn forms of depression.

But we can dream, can’t we?

Some people may think that a monk is somewhat reclusive — kind of isolated, in a bubble, meditating all day. But it’s quite the opposite. I’m on the computer, e-mailing. I’m driving, using cell phones and using Facebook. I have my own Web site.

Maybe becoming a monk isn’t so bad after all.