I had an eclectic but perhaps extra-fulfilling day using Twitter today. First, I wrote a lot of tweets: I hand-counted 165, including @-replies but excluding DMs. But it didn’t strike me as all that atypical a day, which might be all the more striking. It was Twitter at its best. I was reading and writing all day, just having a great time carrying on half-overheard conversations in public.
I wanted to hang on to just a few of those conversation nodes here, inspired partly by two tweets in particular:
Today was almost entirely a flow day for me. Call it navel-gazing if you want, but I want to hang onto it, mostly for the following reason:
When I was 7–10 years old, if you’d told me there’d be a machine that would let me read new things all day, I’d have fainted from happiness.
So here’s a little of what was flowing in my Twitter stream today.
The NEH’s Brett Bobley was talking about recently donating a slew of old classic paperbacks to charity. After a short catalog of titles (Descartes, Thucydides, et al), he wrote, “I blame UChicago.”
Goaded by U of C alum/UC-Berkeley PhD Natalia Cecire, I came up with some examples, including:
“My contribution to way too many conversations consists of ‘in the original Greek, that translates to _______’ ” #IBlameUChicago
The New York Times’ Bill Keller wrote a post today proposing civil-unions-for-all, getting government out of the “marriage” business entirely. We engaged on Twitter about it. Here’s one of my tweets that Keller later RTed:
@FDbytheword One of my longstanding back-burner projects: modernist reappreciation of comedy, filtered through Joyce, Proust, Nietzsche etal
Later, I watched some Wimbledon.
Second-set tiebreak to stay alive. GO SERENA GO #VamosSerenaVamos
I’d been joking with Gavin Craig’s little girls all weekend that Serena Williams was “my girlfriend,” in response to Gavin’s oldest calling Lightning McQueen her “boyfriend.” Today, my girlfriend lost.
And that’s match. I feel like Prince Humperdinck. “Someone has beaten a giant… They were both masters. It ranged all over.“
I had a looong, wide-ranging conversation with Aaron Bady covering what’s great about Marshall McLuhan’s cameo scene in Annie Hall.
Responding to today’s NYT “Mechanic Muse” column — and BTW, starting up a literature + technology column AND naming it after one of my favorite Hugh Kenner books? NYT editors, you have struck me to the quick — I observed that the “distant-reading” plus graphic-representation approach advocated by Franco Moretti and others had somehow come full-circle to early French theoretical approaches to lit:
Lévi-Strauss’s “big data sets” were IBM cards w/the structural elements of myths/poetry. That was computational humanities/social science.
Just got a note from Josh Glenn that my @HILOBROW HiLo Hero piece on Proust goes on just a little too long. <chuckles> Of course it does.
One of the most pleasantly goofy exchanges I got into today was #latkesongs, led by University of Maryland’s Neil Fraistat:
I took up the cause of positive representations of redheads in Pixar movies, spurred on by Brave’s forthcoming ginger protagonist:
Let’s look, shall we? The Incredibles’ Syndrome: Redhead + villain. Finding Nemo’s Darla: Redhead + villain. Ratatouille’s Linguini: Moron.
Yoni Applebaum asked why scholarly databases don’t incorporate social and popularity metrics into search results. Zeynep Tufekci thinks people gravitate too much towards the most-cited articles as it is.
Robert Hernandez wrote a great post about the recent Jose Antonio Vargas kerfuffle. Here’s one thing I wrote in response:
As with all of these tweet embeds, if you want to get the full flow of our Vargas discussion, you’ve got to go there to know there.
This, on the other hand, needs no additional context:
“It’s like you can see those calories converting themselves into rebounds!” PHOTO: Young Charles Barkley Eating A Pizza http://j.mp/mxioRl