Literature and its language:

“It has always seemed to me that literature is, in one way or another in different cases, anomalous or strange in its use of language. This is a distinguishing feature of literature: the weird way in which language is used in it.”

—J. Hillis Miler, from The J. Hillis Miller Reader.

I wonder if I’m using language strangely enough in my own work, and what I’m doing to make literature separate from criticism (or criticism into literature, which also, to my mind, requires the use of language as more than mere description in the same way that humans are more than just collections of cells).

Links: Literature, SF, the Amazon effect, Paul Fussell, cocktails and drinks, bring something to the table

* Are literary classics obsolete? A new study says today’s writers are influenced by authors of the present, not the past. This basically describes me.

* The Amazon Effect:

We also feared bloated overheads would hold editors hostage to an unsustainable commercial imperative. (We were right.) But little did we imagine that the blunderbuss for change would arrive in the form of an avaricious imperium called Amazon. It is something of a surprise to see so many now defending the practices of corporate publishers who, just yesterday, were excoriated as philistines out to coarsen the general culture.

* Is SF Still The “Big Idea” Genre? Use this for its ideas and for book recommendations.

* Speaking of SF, Economist Paul Krugman Is a Hard-Core Science Fiction Fan: “The science fiction world has a lot of people doing seriously imaginative thinking, and my usual world is one where, you know, I like to hope that my friends and the people whose work I admire are adventurous thinkers, but we do tend to stick pretty close to the ground on a restricted set of issues, and it’s great to get to talk to people. . .”

Paul Fussell, Literary Scholar and Critic, Is Dead at 88; I especially like this: “At Harvard he developed a disdain for academia akin to what he felt for the military” and this: “These were books, he would later recall, that he was ‘supposed to write.’ Then it struck him that he might reach a wider audience by comparing the art and literature created in response to earlier wars with that inspired by World War I.” The books you’re “supposed to write” seldom seem to be the ones people actually read.

* An Economist Gets (a Zero Martini) Lunch, or how to find places with good cocktails and good food.

* The book reviewer vs the autograph-seeker: the secret to consistent success with women.

* The great Verizon FiOS ripoff.

* David Lee Hoffman and the fight against intrusive government; actual NYT title: “In Hippie Holdout, a Fight Over Worms and Moats.”

This is frustrating: A domain name camper took jseliger.wordpress.com, and the dangers of relying on wordpress.com.

I looked at this site’s statistics at wordpress.com a few minutes ago and saw only a handful of hits from today. Apparently the jseliger.wordpress.com domain expired in April, and, although I thought it would automatically renew because of the blogging bundle I’d bought through WordPress, it apparently didn’t.

Instead, a spammy and nasty domain registrar named GoDaddy.com took it. Apparently, however, they’re likely to charge a very large amount of money to get it back—which means it’s probably gone forever, and the innumerable people who linked to jseliger.wordpress.com at various points in the last two years are feeding the GoDaddy beast.

I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t hurt.

This is frustrating: A domain name camper took jseliger.com, and the dangers of relying on wordpress.com.

I looked at this site’s statistics at wordpress.com a few minutes ago and saw only a handful of hits from today. Apparently the jseliger.com domain expired in April, and, although I thought it would automatically renew because of the blogging bundle I’d bought through WordPress, it apparently didn’t.

Instead, a spammy and nasty domain registrar named GoDaddy.com took it. Apparently, however, they’re likely to charge a very large amount of money to get it back—which means it’s probably gone forever, and the innumerable people who linked to jseliger.com at various points in the last two years are feeding the GoDaddy beast.

I’d be lying if I said that this didn’t hurt.

EDIT: GoDaddy also has a fake “domain bid” service for about $75, which they’ll use to “negotiate” with the registrant—which is a subsidiary of their own organization!

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