Fun take on social media - and kind of interesting thought experiment. What WOULD twitter have looked like in a 1950’s aesthetic? We’ve seen computers from those time periods, but I’ve also wondered if it’s technical constraint or aesthetic appreciations that made computers look the way that they did.
Most problems in writing come from the anxiety caused by the unconscious realization that what you write is you and has to be held out for others to see. You are naked and shivering out on that limb that seems likely to break off and bring you tumbling down into the ignominy of being accused of inadequate research, muddy unoriginal analysis, and clumsy writing. So you hide yourself behind jargon, opacity, circuitousness, the passive voice, and a seeming reluctance to get to the point. It is so much safer there in the foliage that blocks the reader’s comprehension, but in the end so unsatisfying. No one cares because they cannot figure out what you mean to say. How much better it is to stand up before the firing line and discover that no one ordered your execution.
Great video about a legendary freshman engineering class taught by my colleague Ann Saterbak at RiceUniversity. While watching it and seeing the excitement of the students interviewed, I kept thinking of Mills Kelly’s series on the importance of allowing history students to make things, too.
David Lowenthal reminds us that the past is a “foreign country.” A foreign country, not a foreign planet. To replace naive historicism with a rigid sense of disconnection is to play mental musical chairs, to give up one reductionism only to adopt another.
My post for the New York Times Disunion blog on Emancipation Park, Sabine Pass, and Civil War memory in Houston. For more, see the online exhibit and digital archive on the subject built by students at Rice University in 2011.