Sunday, November 1, 2009

After Utopia, the American Conservative

For a while, I’ve entertained the notion of years hence writing a book about utopians and following it up with a countervailing book or blog on my own ideas about what constitutes a cozy and pleasant existence (for me) — sort of like Voltaire’s Candide ending with the realization that there’s a great deal to be said for just tending one’s own garden — a very localist, humble, and bourgeois idea, all of which is fine with me.

In a sort of accelerated version of that plan, I hereby follow my “Month of Utopia” blog entries by plugging Helen Rittelmeyer, herself an exalted ideal making this world a bit more paradisiacal but also someone who likes the earthy and local and imperfect and makes you happy to be part of the mess. Specifically, she has a piece in the “December” books-themed issue of American Conservative (where she’s been interning) on whether using a Kindle is better or worse than reading books on paper (it has its pluses and minuses, apparently, but there’s definitely something about having hundreds of books in your hand simultaneously that sounds sci-fi-utopian in a good way).

P.S. And now if I could just find a leftist to volunteer to defend Latin American leftism (or some aspect of it) in this coming Wednesday’s informal debate downtown, my corner of the world would be quite pleasant indeed (I’m at ToddSeavey[at] if you are willing to volunteer).

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