John Ruskin: Fit the Third and Last

Years ago I had an argument with a biblically-minded friend who claimed that there could have been no tools of any kind, no technology whatsoever, in the Garden of Eden. So did Adam and Eve do all their “tending of the garden” (Gen. 2:15) with their hands? Pruning branches by breaking them off, sowing seeds only by kneeling and...

updates on various tools

Micro.blog: A couple of days ago I posted this: “I really do think this is a great service, and I’d like to be here regularly, but I wonder how much longer I’ll do this if no one I know (or almost no one I know) is here. I’m keeping fingers crossed that friends will show up!” And immediately I started getting a flood —...

living in the past

In later posts I’ll strive for a substantive engagement with Ruskin, but I want to make a general preliminary comment here. Ruskin was one of those figures who lived through a massive social transition and who never forgot what the world was like before its change. “It has been my fate,” he wrote in a late work, “to live and...

John Ruskin: Fit the Second

So what interests me about Ruskin’s Fors Clavigera? Several things: a lively interchange of ideas about political economy with ideas about art and aesthetics; a conviction that our tools, our technologies, interact ceaselessly and complexly with art, politics, and economics; an understanding of writing as one way to contribute to the...

John Ruskin: Fit the First

Thirteen years ago, when my friend Jamie Smith launched his blog, he named it Fors Clavigera in honor of a strange and powerful project by the great Victorian sage John Ruskin. Jamie rightly notes in that first post that the original Fors Clavigera, though published as a series of monthly pamphlets, could be seen as a kind of...

a little more on micro.blog

Some things I like:  Markdown formatting in posts  plain old RSS feeds for the blogs  it’s really hard to find out how many people follow you  no public faves/likes — I can see what I’ve faved, but if I want you to know that I liked your post I have to reply to you and tell you that I liked your post  no retweets  no...

social media their way — or my way

It’s fairly common for the local businesses I follow on Instagram to post there news of sales, or unusual opening hours, or special events. Thanks to Instagram’s refusal to enable a simple chronological feed, its insistence on inscrutable algorithmic presentations, I almost never see these until it’s too late. Sometimes I have...

what rituals are and do

I want to isolate what I believe to be the key passage in this piece by Sigal Samuel on Ritual Design Lab. Here it is: Finally, an endeavor like Ritual Design Lab has a paradox at its heart. If I contact the Ritual Design Hotline and the team solves my problem by creating a ritual for me, I am implicitly buying into the notion that I’m...

more on disenchantment

A follow-up to this post.  In the Introduction to The Myth of Disenchantment, Jason Josephson-Storm writes:  For three years, starting in 1905, some of France’s most famous scientists had assembled in apartments and laboratories in Paris to study this particular Italian spirit medium — Eusapia Palladino. In addition to the...

quote tweets are the worst

Claire McNear, How Quote Tweets Helped Ruin Twitter: When did things get so bad on Twitter? It’s hard to say, even as nostalgia for the network’s simpler, friendlier days permeates the site. Was it the runup to the 2016 election? The inevitable growth beyond the insidery club of Twitter’s earliest days? The mainstreaming of meme...

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