So this is my 100th post, folks. Huzzah!
Writing duckanddrakes has been a rewarding pastime over the last year. During the next few weeks, I’ll be giving some thought to this blog and its future.
For the time being, here’s an index to a few posts that exhibit what I’ve been trying to do here.
The mission of this blog has been to entertain the notion that thought and writing are meaningfully synchronous, asking how they enhance, mystify and confuse one another in a series of concrete instances. I don’t have an axe to grind on this site, but I do have a modest mission statement here.
Some of the most popular posts on this blog belong my series on Jonathan Gottschall’s efforts to make litcrit more like the sciences (Part I, Part II, Part III and there’s also this), probably just because Gottschall got a lot of press last year. There has also been some interest in my series on Roger Scruton’s attack on “militant” atheists (Part I, Part II, Part III), although I personally don’t feel that the series is very well written.
My most popular single post is a critical look at Prof. Laurie Fendrich’s ideas about taste. My least visited post is this one on Jack Kerouac’s On the Road manuscript, and the man charged with keeping it in good condition.
A handful of my posts have been on word usage, like this one on using “taser” as a verb, and this one on the term”pushback.” I don’t do reviews often because this site is supposed to be about rhetorical choices, so I don’t feel like I can responsibly assess whole books. One exception is my review of James Wood’s How Fiction Works.
While I try to keep this party polite, I do get feisty sometimes. Here, I take issue with David Runciman’s ideas about political commentary; here, I critique an article about the relationship between crime and crime fiction; here I interrogate Saul Smilansky’s propositions about “sorriness.”
My favorite part about this blog is looking at propositions and rejoinders together, to uncover the underpinnings of a dispute – for an example, check out this post on Gerald Graff vs. Mark Bauerline. I also like to write about how questions are answered by the online public, as I feel that this process often helps to reveal deeper questions – here’s one on the relationship between science and ethics.
Thanks for reading! It’s been a joy to write this over the last year.