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So many fantastic people were born on or around this day. Happy birthday wishes to agentxpndble, arymetore, caster121, and syrcleoftrees! And happy early birthday wishes to ghislainem70, tudorpumpkin, xjenavivex, lizziebelle, zmaddoc, supermusicmad, and wiccagirl24. May all of you enjoy a brilliant day, my dear friends, and a fabulous year to come!

A few quick items:

* I was offline much of yesterday due to a fun series of thunderstorms. I'm catching up now!

* Reason Papers: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Normative Studies has published (online and for free) a very special issue, Imagining Better: Philosophical Issues in Harry Potter, edited by Carrie-Ann Biondi and including essays by some terrific scholars, several of whom I'm glad to call friends as well as colleagues. You don't want to miss these essays if you're a student or fan of Harry Potter. Check out this brilliant issue and/or download it here!

* Speaking of the wonderful agentxpndble, whose birthday is today, she's the mistress of two great websites, including CI5 Addict (for The Professionals) and...

* This month I'm part of a four-person scholarly roundtable dialogue on "Liberty, Commerce, and Literature" featured at Cato Unbound here. The other participants are literary critics Sarah Skwire and Frederick Turner and Heinlein biographer William H. Patterson, Jr.

And last, the new Hobbit video blog. Two words: Beorn's Hall! \o/

"I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen. I am the clue-finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number. I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider."
- Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 24th, 2012 02:00 pm (UTC)
Two words: Bilbo Baggins. :)
Jul. 24th, 2012 02:03 pm (UTC)

Didn't you love Martin Freeman's awe taking in the sets? I was so glad we got to see more of him in this vlog.

I owe you email! More soon very, I promise! I'm so tickled you saw the trailer on the big screen. *flails*

Edited at 2012-07-24 02:03 pm (UTC)
Jul. 24th, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
This was a very satisfying vid! I think I liked the heartfelt moments best. What a life-changing experience. But as with the others, it just leaves me wanting more. Dec 14 cannot get here fast enough. (BTW, I know you are behind, but check out my last blog post re the new Man of Steel trailer - and the WTF moment.)
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
I agree wholeheartedly: Dec. 14 cannot get here fast enough! AUGH!!!

I've been thinking about the phenomenon of film trailers using music from other film's soundtracks. I know it's done pretty regularly, but my impression was/is that it's usually done with songs that aren't "standout," easily recognizable and iconic. The only example I can think of offhand is from the Elizabeth: The Golden Age trailer, which used a song taken from the soundtrack of The Island. The only reason I knew that was because I Googled it to pieces (LOL). I'd seen The Island, but the song hadn't made that much of an impression on me. It did in the trailer, though.

That's world's away from using something as huge as the LOTR soundtrack. As John Watson would say, that's a bit not good. ;)

(I do remember the trailer for Ever After used "The Mummers' Dance" by Loreena McKennitt, which I already knew very well, and it threw me for a loop. I missed several seconds of the trailer, just from the shock of hearing it in a new context.)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
I hope you had a great one!

Good grief, we seem to be getting thunderstorms every single day. It's crazy! There are walking trails near our house, going around the lake, and now they're covered with moss because it's been so warm and wet.
Jul. 24th, 2012 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the kind words on the Reason Papers collection! Carrie-Ann was just wonderful to work with and I'm excited about how well the project turned out.
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
It turned out so beautifully! You're all to be congratulated mightily. I sent out emails to my past and present HP students to tell them about it. Well done indeed!
Jul. 24th, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you, sweetie! I just realized today that it's *next week*. Sheesh! Where did the year go? *hugs*
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:43 pm (UTC)
The year has raced by! It's insane. I feel like I lost a few months somewhere. I'll be out of state on your birthday, but I'll be sending good vibes your way, my friend. *hugs* And congrats again on your new position. Very exciting!
Jul. 29th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Jul. 24th, 2012 10:50 pm (UTC)
thanks :)
Jul. 28th, 2012 11:44 pm (UTC)
I hope you had a great one!
Curtis Weyant
Jul. 26th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC)
Since Cato's comments are closed...
Great points about elitism. Of course, I think it's true of myriad other topics with regard to literature, but that's beyond the scope of the forum....

Near the end, you write: "It's worth pointing out that authors need not be wholehearted defenders of markets to offer interesting food for thought."

For me, that's the crux of the issue, and it seems to be a corollary to Skwire's comment in the lead essay that "Literature is not for clear answers. Literature is for complicated questions." Beliefs exist on a spectrum, not as binary options, and slight changes in variables can cause major shifts in how a person thinks and acts. Heck, most people can't even agree on the makeup of the spectrum. (Where do you place someone who thinks we should have a highly progressive tax rate but believes in strong property rights? I mean, besides an asylum...) And how those beliefs, thoughts and actions are presented in literature – which isn't bound to the rules of, like, reality – just makes everything even more complex. Oh what a tangled web and all that.

Okay, I can feel rambling mode kicking in. I enjoyed the essay. Thanks for sharing.
Jul. 29th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
Re: Since Cato's comments are closed...
Thanks so much for reading those essays! I appreciated Sarah's insight about literature being about "complicated questions," and I think you're spot on with your point about literature adding complexity to already complex ideas. I tend to think literature's done its job if it challenges or raises new questions or helps me view an issue in a different manner; if it simply confirms what I already thought/believed without pushing me to grow in any way, what's the point?

A "tangled web," indeed! I'm most grateful for your perspective and feedback on this.

Edited at 2012-07-29 01:22 am (UTC)
Jul. 27th, 2012 02:00 am (UTC)
Thanks, and Commerce and Fiction
Thanks so much for sharing the Reason Papers collection link!! The authors I worked with are awesome people and have so many insightful new ideas about the beloved Harry Potter series.

And thanks for letting us know about the scholarly roundtable dialogue. The essays were very interesting and have given me some cool ideas to integrate into my Business Ethics course this Fall. In addition to the various good reasons you and Sarah adduce for why the scholarly output on the topic is so anti-market tilted, I think that some scholars themselves are anti-market and so tend to see and read what they want to--it reaffirms them in their anti-market views. That then affects what they assign their students to read (and how they read), and so the cycle continues.

As for literature/fiction that is sympathetic with free enterprise, I would include some of Charlotte Bronte's work. Fred and George Weasley are depicted in a generally positive entrepreneurial light with their successful business (even though Rowling supports Labor, I believe). I also seem to recall a very Libertarian sci-fi book called Snow Crash.... In short, there is a good deal out there--as the four of you point out--so thank you for raising this important topic!

~Carrie-Ann Biondi
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks, and Commerce and Fiction
Oh, my pleasure! Thank you for making the collection available!

Thanks also for taking a peek at the scholarly roundtable dialogue.

In addition to the various good reasons you and Sarah adduce for why the scholarly output on the topic is so anti-market tilted, I think that some scholars themselves are anti-market and so tend to see and read what they want to--it reaffirms them in their anti-market views. That then affects what they assign their students to read (and how they read), and so the cycle continues.

Oh, excellent point.

I'm glad you brought up Charlotte Bronte, Rowling, and Stephenson, as well. Great examples! *nods vigorously*
Aug. 1st, 2012 03:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for remembering me (((hugs)))
Aug. 12th, 2012 05:36 pm (UTC)
You bet, my friend! *hugs*

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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