The book is coming along nicely, if slowly, but I feel that this weekend (no college football) will be a MOST excellent time for me to get caught up on it. I am also making terrific progress on the revision of the short story, and I have another to revise on top of it, so my work–around errands and cleaning–this weekend is cut out for me indeed.
But as I always say, I’d rather be busy–and holiday weekends are coming, as well. I’ve done the majority of my Christmas shopping already; Paul is, as always, a challenge as he simply buys what he wants when he wants it, and he never really wants much in the first place.
We’ve started watching Ray Donovan on Showtime, and we’re enjoying it so far. I’ve always been fascinated by Hollywood ‘fixers’–albeit the ones in the days of the big studios–so it’s kind of interesting to see a fictional series about one in the present day.
I am almost finished reading Gore Vidal’s Empire; it’s slow going, as so much of Vidal’s work is (although I’d really love to reread Julian the Apostate again; and The City and the Pillar as well). It’s part of his fictional ‘American history’ series, which I’ve not read. Vidal was, as one of my co-workers said, the kind of American intellectual we will probably never see again in this country; I tried to think, and have been trying to think, of whom the current day American intellectuals are, without much success. I don’t know if that’s my failing, or that of our society; I don’t know who the current day equivalent of Vidal or William F. Buckley Jr. would be. Vidal was incredibly intelligent, but there was also a sneering, condescending superiority to him that I never particularly cared for (Buckley was much the same); a sense that “if you don’t agree with me you are clearly mentally inferior.” No one likes to be told they’re stupid or not as smart as someone else; that puts me off even when it’s someone I agree with. Vidal had a deeply cynical view of American history and of the country itself; I’ve not read his essays on American history and politics so I am not sure if that cynical contempt was of the country or how it mythologized its past and the hand-over-heart patriotism it promotes; the concept of American exceptionalism, which does bear much deeper scrutiny than it gets as a general rule. I do know that he was fascinated by Aaron Burr (his fictional biography, Burr, was the first book in his series about American history) and felt he was an unappreciated American hero unjustly vilified by his enemies, whose view of him has come down to us through the centuries.
I’ve actually never read Burr, or any biographies of him; what I know of Burr has primarily come from reading biographies of his political enemies (Hamilton and Jefferson) or histories of the period that are slanted towards his enemies; it only stands to reason if Hamilton and Jefferson are to be heroes, than their enemies must therefore be villains. Yet Hamilton and Jefferson were political enemies; throw John Adams into the mix and you have quite a confusing mishmash of who is the bad guy/who is the good guy. The truth, of course, is they were human and a mix of both the good and the bad, despite the mythology.
Heavy thoughts for a Friday morning; and not where I really wanted my blog entry this morning to go.
Then again, I’m listening to the Hamilton cast show album, and Burr is mentioned periodically in Empire, so perhaps there was an inevitability to this, after all.
(And now, of course, I want to reread both The Federalist Papers and The Anti-Federalist Papers, damn you, Hamilton cast show recording!)
All right, perhaps it’s time to return to the Spice Mines.
Here’s today’s hunk: