Hot and Cool Jansson & Jazz

by John Holbo on July 30, 2010

Golly, I haven’t posted to a blog for nigh a month. I haven’t actually been off in the wilderness but we’ve been on vacation and I resolved to keep my news and blog engagement to a minimum, while enjoying the great outdoors – Oregon and then New York – just to see how that treats my head. Good, it turns out. Reading several whole books, I started to feel the old attention span growing back.

Best: two short Tove Jansson novels – more or less ‘adult’ novels, at any rate not moomintroll books: The Summer Book and The True Deceiver [amazon]. Lovely stuff. Seasonal and moody and melancholy and not as funny as the moomin books, but funny. Mildly obsessive characters sort of bump into each other as they make painful and pleasurable private ways through the summer or winter. Some moomintypes have turned human – palpable touches of fillyjonkery (fillyjonquerie?), hemulic tidiness, whomperish literality, my-ish determination, etc. Which is interesting to watch. (But that’s not the only reason to read the books.)

And now that I check my Flickr contact updates …

The Library of Congress is serially posting to Flickr what promises to be a huge set of Golden Age jazz photos taken by William Gottlieb. (First link takes you to the easier-to-overview but only just started Flickr stuff. Second, to the complete and text searchable, but less overviewable complete collection.) I like this Cab Calloway. And a nice Django Rheinhardt. Gene Krupa as a zombie? Eh.

Gottlieb released it all into the public domain but some of the images still have publicity and privacy rights issues, apparently.

Political philosophy and the left

by Chris Bertram on July 30, 2010

Part one of a superb interview of Stuart White by Edward Lewis over at the Next Left Project. Meritocracy, luck egalitarianism, status inequality, negative liberty and republican liberty all get some discussion. I particularly liked Stuart’s observation that contemporary politics is keen on the “choice” side of luck egalitarian argument but tends to little or nothing about the correction of brute luck.