Reality Conditions

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My next three days

I apologize to all eager readers who will have to wait a few days more for the second part of mu Loops 07 report. After some hesitation, I have decided to go the Low-Energy Quantum Gravity Workshop at York on Thursday and Friday. And then Saturday will obviously be dedicated to reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Quantum gravity blogging will probably not resume until Monday or Tuesday. After (or perhaps before) finishing off the Loops 07 posts I may say something about the York workshop if there was material of bloggable interest in it.

By the way, #1 : The slides of my talk are now available at the conference webpage, so you can check by yourself whether my handwriting is really illegible.

By the way, #2: Pandagon and Matthew Iglesias and this excellent article by Michel Berube discuss the "backlash" against the Harry Potter books by "serious" literary critics. I think there is a point missed in many of the discussions. Quite beyond the literary quality of the books themselves, there is genuine cultural value in sharing an experience with millions of other people. It is the reason I am not ashamed of eagerly waiting to read the next Harry Potter and then discuss it with people and see all the online fans' reactions to it, while I am blissfully ignorant of many other fantasy series which are probably better written. In the same way that I watch every football match I can catch during the World Cup and then forget almost completely about the sport for four years.

(Yeah, Alejandro, nice one. Trying to pretend that you have forgotten about football just after Agentina has been ignominiously defeated 3-0 by Brazil. Very convenient!)


  • The literary critics seem to be so much concerned with structure and style or whatever is their current metric, that they seem to forget that fiction is also about storytelling.

    Ivo Andric, during his Nobel prize speech, said:

    "...In thousands of languages, in the most diverse climes, from century to century, beginning with the very old stories told around the hearth in the huts of our remote ancestors down to the works of modern storytellers which are appearing at this moment in the publishing houses of the great cities of the world, it is the story of the human condition that is being spun and that men never weary of telling to one another. The manner of telling and the form of the story vary according to periods and circumstances, but the taste for telling and retelling a story remains the same: the narrative flows endlessly and never runs dry."

    I would only add that the taste for hearing the story is even greater.

    Very insightful comments about the state of modern arts and critics who are detached from reality can also be found in Steven Pinker's Blank Slate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:51 PM, July 20, 2007  

  • Losing to Brazil may be depressing, but it's not ignominious... Well, 3-0. But still.

    By Blogger The Ridger, FCD, at 2:44 AM, July 21, 2007  

  • For an argentine, losing to Brazil by any score is ignominious

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:28 PM, July 24, 2007  

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