Friday groove blogging: Stax/Volt

by Chris Bertram on August 1, 2008

Sitting here in the UK, I have no idea whether you people in other places can see everything that the BBC is putting out on its iPlayer service. If you can’t, then tell me in comments. If you can then enjoy “Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story”: and the “Stax/Volt tour of Norway”: (1967), both broadcast in the UK a week ago. Superb stuff, and good reason to think of Booker T and the MGs as one of the top bands of all time.

Stuff elsewhere

by Henry Farrell on August 1, 2008

Norm Geras has put up a “profile”: of me – if you’re interested, click over. The bit I’d recommend really has nothing to do with me, except that I was there when it was uttered – my favorite take on a proverb. It came from an Australian friend whom I’ve fallen out of touch with, Mac Darrow. Off the cuff, he glossed _in vino veritas_ as

Many a true word

Is slurred

which I’ve always thought was a translation tinged with genius.

Also, two very good appreciations of writers. First, Julian Barnes has a “lovely piece”: on Penelope Fitzgerald both as a person and as a novelist. I fell in love with _The Blue Flower_, less for the portrait of Novalis than for the quiet tragedy of Karoline Just, and read everything else by her that I could get my hands on. As an aside, while she may seem as far from genre as a writer could be, her pastiche of an M.R. James short story in _The Gate of Angels_ is uncanny and brilliant. Second, Kathy G. has a great discussion of “Tom Geoghegan”: His _Which Side Are You On?_ (“Powells”:, “Amazon”: ) is a wonderfully written contrary class of a book about the union movement. As Kathy says:

bq. a lot of people just don’t get his charmingly idiosyncratic writing. He writes about politics, and about policy, but God knows his books and essays don’t read like formal scholarly papers or dry think tank reports — they’re far more fluid, inventive, and playful than writing about policy has any right to be. But the problem is, political types often don’t appreciate the literary qualities of his writing, and the literary types don’t get the politics.

I suspect that’s right – his books don’t have arguments so much as they _are_ arguments – going backwards and forwards between different points of view, looking at different aspects of the issue, proposing viewpoints and counter-viewpoints. For those who haven’t read him, he’s really wonderful; one of the best and most original political writers alive.

Milton Friedman probably does deserve to have an institute named after him – he was one of the really big figures of 20th century economics, and even if he was much less of a principled libertarian thinker than his hagiographers like to pretend, it’s rather silly for the faculty of the University of Chicago to start acting like they’ve only just noticed that their university is famous for a particular school of economic thought that was founded by Milton Friedman. But I can’t help noticing that John Cochrane’s open letter[1] in response to the petition against founding a Milton Friedman Institute contains one of the canonical claims of Globollocks:
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