Saturday, February 12, 2005

I am disturbed by the conviction of Lynne Stewart on terror charges. I am horrified and disgusted by this article in The New Yorker about the semi-secret policy of the U.S. government known as "extraordinary rendition." And on a much lower key, I am disturbed by the mass exodus of many of my favorite bloggers from blogland: Tony Tost, Aaron Tieger, Aaron McCollough, and Laura Carter chiefly among them. I can understand stopping to pursue other priorities as the men on that list have done, but what happened to Laura? No goodbye note, no nothing—l'ecritures bleues are simply gone.

Jennifer Michael Hecht, who is staying with her husband and baby just one floor above us in Theo's apartment, gave a fascinating talk yesterday on the nineteenth-century French anthropologists of "the Society of Mutual Autopsy" that carried on anticlerical atheist activities with what can only be called religious fervor. Check out her book on the subject, The End of the Soul, and, while you're at it, her sweeping history of Doubt. We had a delightful dinner—well, after-dinner—with Jennifer and her brood at Karen and Jerry's house: they are charming and delightful, man, woman, and baby. We discussed: the bedtime habits of freelance writers, hope for the American left (short version: we need clubs and places of association to match the right's principal places of association, namely churches) and community-building generally, the benefits and hazards of combining or separating one's academic interests from one's poetry, variations on the crossword puzzle (her husband John writes puzzle books), Strong Bad E-mail, and the baby's unusual size (he's nine months old and looks eighteen. Months old). Tonight she and Theo will be reading at the State of the Art Gallery here in Ithaca and I certainly hope to see you there.

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