Mother Nature’s Sons

I loved this Robert Moor essay on environmentalism and masculinity.

Even as progressive men renounce the traditional notion of subordinated femininity, many still harbor conflicted notions about manhood. They want to feel individually reckless, but not socially irresponsible. They want to minimize carbon emissions, but not to scold, scrimp, or carry tote bags. They want to be pure of deed but wild at heart. So they dig ever deeper into the past, searching for a way of life that existed before “real” men and their ecological consciences parted ways.

His book On Trails was one of my faves of 2017.

n 1: Listening to Books

The essayist Sven Birkerts claims that all good reading involves self-mediation, effort, “collaboration” between the reader and the book, whereas audio books “determine” everything—“pace, timbre, inflection”—for the “captive listener.” The blogger and critic Scott Esposito is less careful to mask his snobbery: “Don’t go pretending like you’re some kind of big-time reader because you consumed the complete works of Balzac via mp3. No, you’re some guy who listened to an iPod while cooking dinner.” And when a New York Times reporter asked Harold Bloom a couple of years ago what he thought of audio books, the great Yale humanist told her that “deep reading really demands the inner ear as well as the outer ear.” It requires, he continued, the use of “that part of you which is open to wisdom. You need the text in front of you.” This sounds to me somewhat peculiar, but a lot of people basically agree with it. They believe that whatever part of you is “open to wisdom” is a part that can be activated only through the eyes.

Unless, of course, you are blind. In which case everything is obviously completely totally different.

n 1: Listening to Books