Dr Denkenstein
June 2011/Fourth Week

¶ Great pianist and occasional blogger Jeremy Denk inveighs against an odious comparison of classical-music performances to long-ago baseball-game re-enactments. He comes up with a much  better one. (Think Denk)

¶ At Academe Online, Eric Alterman outlines the differences in “truth” as understood by academics, journalists, and think-tank pundits. Journalists, of course, are harried opportunists who are satisfied with the truth of someone’s having said something, no matter how false that remark might be. The real struggle is between tendentious think-tank analysts, who are more or less baldly paid to advocate certain positions, and disinterested academics who will follow a thought wherever it leads. Unfortunately academics have become even more uninteresting than disinterested. (via Brainiac) ¶ Simon Mainwaring’s excellent and concise Four Reasons We Must Re-Engineer Free Market Capitalism, at GOOD. What we’d like to see is a painstaking historical account of how self-interest, that Enlightenment engine, became stupid and destructive. ¶ Jordan Michael Smith argues that David Mamet’s rightward swerve has nothing to do with liberal disenchantment — like all the other neoconservatives, Mamet never was a liberal, but a leftist. (The Awl)

¶ At the Guardian, a garland of summer-reading reveries by eminent novelists. A S Byatt discovered, the summer before she was married, that she was a writer, not an academic, and Proust was her teacher. Colm Tóibín, at 17, was turned on by Hemingway, which must explain his subsequent attraction to Henry James, no? (via 3 Quarks Daily) ¶ In a preview of coming attractions, Robert Gordon reviews A N Wilson’s Dante in Love, a companion to the Divine Comedy that’s due to appear here in October but that you can order right now from Amazuke. Which we’ve just done. (Literary Review; via 3 Quarks Daily) ¶ GThe Saxon exodus from Romania that followed the end of that country’s communist regime (and the recrudescence of nationalism) left behind a newly-discovered trove of baroque sacred music, now being edited by Kurt Philippi and performed by a trans-European ensemble throughout the region, which, by the way, is Transylvania. (Guardian; via Arts Journal)

¶ We remember it well… but, just the same, it’s nice of Jordan Barber to remind us of the “fun” of moving out of an old apartment and into a new apartment with new roommates. Mercifully, he doesn’t dwell on details. (The Bygone Bureau) ¶ If we don’t remember being taught by slovenly graduate students, that’s because they hadn’t been invented yet. (Pocket protectors were weird but not slovenly.) Robert Watts, considerably younger, was so demoralized by sloppy TAs in college that he grew up to look just like them — until, one fine day, he invested in the Medallion Fund. The Medallion Fund look, that is. (The Smart Set) ¶ In a decision that will make producers and restaurateurs think about repatriating to Formosa, a court in Taipei fined and jailed a blogger for “defaming” a noodle parlor. The plaintiff said that “he hoped the case would teach her a lesson.” You might want to bear this in mind if you’re planning to blog about Taiwan… (Taipei Times; via MetaFilter)

¶ At Wired, Thomas Goetz writes up the latest in feedback loops, which can be surprisingly effective in altering behavior — provided they’re neither annoying nor too easy of ignore. Inventor David Rose speaks of “enchantment.” (via Arts Journal)

New: ¶ “Enthusiasm For Heat” @ Fake Science (via The Morning News) ¶ Wisconsin Grilled Cheese Academy. (via MetaFilter)

Noted: ¶ Irrepressible general: Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, 1915-2011. (Telegraph) ¶ Knowing Urdu, Anjum Atlaf decides to learn Hindi and Farsi. All Indo-European languages, by the way. (The South Asian Idea; via 3 Quarks Daily)