Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Gig: History Witch

Out of the ivory tower and into the streets!

Or at least the blogosphere. I'm proud to unveil my latest gig, which sprang directly from the interest generated by Rook Chant: I am now the History Witch for the Witches & Pagans site. I'll be bringing the fascinating but often rather challenging information from my studies to an appreciative audience with varying kinds of knowledge and interests.

Witches & Pagans coalesces a variety of publications and readerships, reaching a wide and diverse audience across the world, so I have a potential audience of tens of thousands. Something to put me on my mettle for sure. I expect to have some lively conversations. I join fellow bloggers like my pal Byron Ballard.

I have spoken for some years now about the need to communicate the importance of scholarship in an increasingly (or perhaps returning) anti-intellectual climate, especially in the United States. Many great minds engaged in fascinating pursuits share their discoveries with a too small audience. Many American universities discourage this kind of work and frown on those who engage in it. Colleagues can be dismissive. But it's key to promoting the message that education is not a business. It's a dedication to improving your mind and thinking critically. Most of all, it's important.

In Britain, it's still possible to be considered quite interesting for having a lively intellectual curiosity. The new president of Ireland is a poet. In Italy it's possible to appear in the Paris Review and the bestseller list at the same time. Though all regions have their anti-intellectual forces, it's become particularly virulent in the States because of corporate-funded propaganda like the Murdoch empire.

So this is me stepping out in my own small way, hoping to encourage other folks to do the same and show that academics are not "snobs" or irrelevant, but deeply engaged in understanding the world in which we live from many different angles.

I begin with a little piece about Anglo-Saxon magic. Drop by and say hello.


Todd Mason said...

OK...will do when more dug out. (Sadly, it's quite possible to be on bestseller lists and in THE PARIS REVIEW in the States, as well...and be a talentless ass or close enough...though happily Eco can best-sell here, too. And Joe Lansdale is becoming a consistent best-seller in my grandfather's homeland.)

K. A. Laity said...

Oh, we don't speak of the F-man here. Joe Lansdale is big in Italy as Alessandra can attest.

Todd Mason said...

We avoid the F'er to keep it posi? Yep, we longtime fans of His Own Self, Joe Lansdale, have been quite amused that he's hit it so big in Italia (and wait for that to be replicated at home)...but, then, my friend A. A. Attanasio was able to buy the family house in Hawaii after his first novel, RADIX, did pretty well in the US but did Very well in Germany and was a flat-out bestseller in France. And yet my paisan in Yankified Italianism has never been much of a big hit in Italy. And he's never been a huge seller at home, either, even after his Arthurian series became a set of reliable bestsellers in the UK. Go figure.

E-boy (the first of two links cheek by jowl there, above) being my age probably does stir up a little envy, but not much, inasmuch as he's the saddest sort of pretentious hack...I have little but good to say about his one-time classmate (and dropout) Jonathan Lethem's work (their other classmate, Ms. Tartt, seems to have fallen on lean times in terms of sales of new work, and, well, deservedly...though even she is a better writer than the bumbling BEE).

K. A. Laity said...

We don't speak of the F-man because he doesn't need more attention.

Well, life is not fair, and good and popular seldom go hand in hand, only by fiat. I don't object to popularity per se (see all the sneering about 50 Shades because it's romance that pretends it's about the quality of the writing). I object to the F-man's manufactured popularity, something the NYT and that ilk do for as a kind of literary gerrymandering (i.e. how they select their 'bestseller' list in the first place).