5 Questions–No Not That Five Questions
(Soundtrack: Team Dresch– Personal Best…kind of obsessed with this album lately, especially “Screwing Your Courage” and “Hate the Christian Right”–incredibly invigorating stuff…Ditkoesque in its capacity to induce “self-fission” with inscrutable simplicity, you know?)
Here’s an exercise that I’ve seen before, but never participated in… That’s right, the ol’ “ask me five questions and I’ll tell ya no lies” has broken to new memery over at John Commonplacebook’s site… John has obliged me with an interesting set of queries, and I’ll be glad to pass the interrogative love along to anyone who invites me to, down there in the comments section!
(Oh, and by the way, if you’re looking for thoughts on Mark Gruenwald, you don’t need me anymore! Scott Tipton is doing yeoman work on this topic–this week the focus is on an apocalyptic issue of What If?, the Hawkeye miniseries–which Gruenwald also pencilled, and quite innovatively too!–; and “Captain America no more!”)
Okay, onward with John’s questions!
1. How did you come to be interested in American literature, history, etc.? (I’m very interested generally in how academics who focus on one country/culture chose that culture…I have a very short attention span and generally flit around too much for one scholarly/critical focus, though I suppose I am generally more interested in British culture than any other. But then this is your question and not mine so I’ll shut the hell up and let you answer!)
Gotta blame Charles Schulz and Studio Age Hollywood–especially Capra–(via Burlington, VT’s PBS station’s nightly late shows) for this… American culture (not what America is, but what “it” thinks it should be) has fascinated me since as far back as I can remember. The idea that the self (like the state) is never a finished project just leapt out at me from these works before I hit double digits, and long before I acquired the vocabulary with which to begin thinking about the wonderfully mixed sense of exhilaration/malaise they afforded me… That didn’t happen until I met Hawthorne, Melville, and, especially Emerson–all of which, of course, happened long before I decided to stop splitting my time between the temp agency and the welfare office and go to university at 23… Naturally, American History/Lit was the only way to go!
2. You talk a lot about the romance tradition and post-Reformation culture, so I’m curious as to your favorite pre-modern books?
I have to admit, the pre-modern world of stable hierarchies, communitarian values/standards, and the peace of mind that comes with the sense that “there’s nothing to be done” makes me sick! If Foucault makes the mistake of romanticizing the “honest brutality” of the Middle Ages, I guess you could say that I go just as far off the rails in the opposite direction… The ever-present threat of insanity/fragmentation that has accompanied the “construction of the subject” is like the breath of life to me! Whatever people were doing before the Reformation, they weren’t living, as far as I’m concerned…
However–obviously, they did write some interesting stuff! Lucretius is awesome. Ditto Augustine. I won’t say the Bible, ’cause I’m only familiar with the KJ, and that’s the Reformation text par excellence, but of course I’d love to be able to read the New Testament in Greek! Plato is evil, but I can’t honestly say that I don’t get a certain thrill out of reading the Dialogues, especially the early, “more Socratic” ones…
3. Who would play you in The David Fiore Story?
Hmm… You mean the film adaptation of Darkling I Listen, in which the protagonist disappears from his own life story for most of the last reel? I can’t honestly say I’ve thought about who would play Mike Borden… I know who should play Dawn (Hope Davis–she’s a bit too old now, I guess, but that’s a Hollywood tradition!), Tina (Anna Paquin), Paula (Kate Winslet would be good), Heidi (Jennifer Jason Leigh, also too old, but ideal), and Eric (a slimmed-down Jack Black would be perfect)… but, me? Maybe Mark Ruffalo?
4. Name some places you’d love to visit.
You know–I hate the idea of going anywhere! I’m thirty, and I have yet to tire of any aspect of my life. Fate dropped me in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and my dream is to go back there as soon as possible and put in another forty years attempting to fathom the mysteries of that particular place!
5. Describe your ideal house.
Hmm…I like a house with heat in winter and an actual floor in the bathroom (there have been times when I have not had these things, you understand!) Beyond that, well, ideally, it would be well-ventilated, sparsely decorated, and feature no primary colours whatsoever! Most importantly, I want to share it with Christine + as many animals as possible!
Good Night Friends!