I am not able to resume the newsletter at this point, not in its former glory anyway, but I do want to send a brief update.
I have an essay out in Comment called “Recovering Piety” – I try to redefine and commend that dusty old virtue: “Renewal of trust in institutions will not happen unless the institutions recover their integrity, and that will not happen unless the people who work within them become pious — devoted, faithful, committed not to their own personal flourishing but to the flourishing of that which they serve. And if, as we have seen, utilitarianism banishes piety, the restoration of piety will depend on the banishing of utilitarianism.”
I also have an essay in the new issue of The New Atlantis called “Something Happened By Us: A Demonology”: “Several accounts of the spread of ideas jostle against one another in our moment: Richard Dawkins’s notion of ‘memes’ — ideas spreading by replication — competes with notions of ‘virality’ and of ‘social contagion.’ There is information theory and disease theory. I prefer demon theory.”
Meanwhile, I have also been writing a good many blog posts. The blog is a place where I can develop ideas on my own schedule and in a variety of forms. I have a longish post on Orson Welles – maybe you could click the #movies tag at the bottom of that post, since I’ve been writing a lot about movies lately. The movies were governed for decades by the Hays Code, and I wrote about how many of us have learned to internalize certain norms in a way that I call self-Haysing.
Just take a look around, if you would; there are some nice pictures as well, especially photographs and book design stuff.
Finally, Britain’s National Rail has a YouTube channel featuring rail journeys as seen from the driver’s cab, and they’re amazing. I have rarely been as mesmerized as I am by the 24/7 live stream.
A blessed Passiontide to all!