Okay, now to explain my cryptic link to the Powers' column. I was vague because I was dashing out to class, so apologies for that. As for why you need to read it, there were two reasons: one self-interested, one altruistic. Starting with the second, Powers engaged the sheer cultural cost of all who've fallen in the last year, a task that no one else (that I know of) has been willing to face up to. From Bellows to Sontag to Thompson to Kennan, a truly stunning number of leading intellectual lights have died recently, and few have been brave enough to broach what that means. I've kept wanting to say something about it, but nothing I wrote matched the task, or even came close. Draft after draft of my efforts were discarded, and each time I got more frustrated that no one else seemed to be taking a shot at it. Maybe that's because, from my Gen Y vantage point, intellectual giants don't really exist anymore, save for a few relics whose heyday was 40 years ago, and I find that tragic. That even the superstars of yesteryear were now passing seemed to say something profound, but I wasn't able to say it, and so was desperately hoping someone else would. Powers did, and his piece deserves wide play. So that was reason #2.
As for #1, I'm working with some folks at the LA Weekly to coax, cajole, and convince them into seriously beefing up their online presence. One element of that is proving that these blog thingies are read by real people and can drive actual eyeballs towards stories. Driving your eyeballs towards a story was part of that process. And that's why I'd ask all of you who haven't checked out the piece to do so now, even if it's just as a favor to me. As it demonstrates, the LA Weekly has some phenomenally talented writers banging pieces out, but their reach is limited to whomever grabs the dead-tree version from a coffee shop. That needs to change, and if you all click over, it likely will.
So what're you waiting for? Click!