(i) Sheer egoism. Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc. It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one.
-- George Orwell, “Why I Write” (1946)
I may be quite late to the game, but I decided for the New Year that now would be as good a time as any to start a blog. Mostly I wanted to find a way to get myself in the habit of writing regularly, and to provide a venue for that writing. So, I will be using this space to post essays on cultural issues – “cultural” in so many different senses – both ancient and modern: material culture, anthropological culture, pop culture, “high” culture, and more. I hope to combine detailed studies of specific artifacts, or works of music, or film, with consideration of their wider historical and cultural perspectives – to write on “texts” and “contexts”. In the process, I hope to use this blog to talk a little about myself, since all acts of writing do indeed have some sort of selfish motives lying partly behind them. (You can read more about me and my writing here.)
I do hope there will be some interest in what I have to say, some niche that these writings can fill, and I would love to be able to start some productive conversations with readers on these issues. To adapt a quote of the brilliant writer-director of film Preston Sturges: There are so many good essays waiting to be written, and God willing, I will be able to write a few of them.