Monday, October 29, 2007

IN ROTATION—Pacze Moj & Critical Culture

Okay. I will admit it. My blogroll has become completely unwieldly. There was a time—was it really that long ago?—when I was able to faithfully keep up with the entries on my friends' sites. Nowadays, I'm barely able to keep up with my own obsessive re-reading of my own posts, Dave Hudson's encyclopedic announcements at The Greencine Daily, Brian Darr's shuffling of a suspiciously stacked calendar deck, and wrestling elbows with the other kids at Professor Girish Shambu's eponymous classroom where I sit in the back with the dunce cap on, surly and withdrawn, prone to juvenile violence. Hand me that spray can!!

I feel so guilty. How can I ever expect anyone to comment at The Evening Class if I don't comment at their sites? It usually takes a bout of severe insomnia to get me to break the exponential agony of my blogroll and actually "catch up" as it were. So, I've decided to start a feature here on The Evening Class that I will call "In Rotation" where, on those nights of insomniatic reciprocity, I actually eschew all my regular obsessions to momentarily indulge a new one: to read what's up at one of the sites on my blogroll. Imagine!

First off, Critical Culture. Pacze Moj is one of my favorite writers on line. No one—other than maybe Darren Hughes at Long Pauses—informs his ruminations with such a poetic and philosophic sensibility. I love his multidisciplinary approach towards cinema, filtering a film through other mediums of art and other scientific disciplines to achieve fresh insights. He's also one of the best at screen capture analysis and I'm quite fond of his ability to unpack one scene in a movie to demonstrate his grasp of the whole.

In the last month Pacze has been on something of a historical binge. He has three stimulating posts in that regard. His most recent pretentious rambling is his consideration of history as the world's longest bad novel. Put on Joni Mitchell's latest Shine and you're right at home. This entry has some fascinating glimpses into legislative reactions at the time to the Mexican-American War gleaned from William Earl Weeks' Building the Continental Empire: American Expansion from the Revolution to the Civil War.

Prior to that, Pacze considered Marshall McLuhan's playful reflexivity with regard to revolutionary progress and compares it to an article he excavated from the April 1974 issue of The Journal of Contemporary History. Now, who else will conduct such archaeology on your behalf? Be grateful, children.

Thirdly, Pacze shockingly reveals the horrid ineptitude of McGraw Hill's textbook A History of the Modern World, popularly used in North American high school and lower-level undergraduate history classes; a text which is embarrassingly inaccurate. I now feel fully justified blaming my middle school education as the reason that I don't know diddlely squat about geography, like a few other Americans I know. Looking at the maps that Pacze provides—having just come off of my Lebanese cinema tirade—I wonder if we shouldn't just resolve this confusion about what is the capital of what and just rename all these cities "Ruins"? It's a suggestion. It would certainly make it easier for me and a couple of other Americans I know.

But before he began waxing historic, Pacze—partly in response to a cue at Scribble and Ramblings (yet another neglected site on my blogroll)—has endeavored a most remarkable venture called The Mule Train ("TMT"). Get on board. He has three entries in this series. The first, a rich sampling of the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, links and all; the second, a wealth of Ali Farke Touré; and the third, more Jacques Becker than you can shake a stick at.

So, if I can ever catch up with my blogroll, I can get my hands on TMT's loot. Thanks for all your continuing hard work, Pacze. I want to make sure you know it does not go unappreciated or unread.


girish said...

Michael, you're so funny. You can bring your spray can to my place anytime. There's nothing like a dash of delinquency to puncture the seriousness the prof finds himself lapsing into!

Michael, you're a generous soul. I like this post a lot and have long been a reader of Pacze's blog.

Anonymous said...

I'd make a comment about how I like this new initiative of yours, but I'm too busy reading stuff online to do that.

Unknown said...

And I'd do the same, but I'm too busy obsessively re-reading my own posts (and I thought I was the only one!)

Pacze Moj said...


Thank you.