Gonna rock this town
So here I am in the nation’s capital, getting ready for tonight’s big event, my rendezvous with a reading group consisting of a bunch of smart journalists and freelancers and folks from cool unions like SEIU and CWA and UNITE HERE. We’re discussing Stuart Hall’s 1988 book, The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Left. (And the fact that the book is now out of print speaks volumes about the crisis of the left, in my humble-blog opinion.)
I’ll begin liveblogging the discussion at around 8 pm, in what I hope will be a revolutionary breakthrough for the entire genre of liveblogging. So far as I know, not even the redoubtable Fafblog has attempted to liveblog a book discussion group. And like the song says, we’re not gonna stop / until the entire historical conjuncture has been adequately theorized / gonna rock this town / oh yeah. Hello, D.C.! How’s everybody feelin’ tonight?
UPDATE, 11 pm: I was only kidding about the liveblogging. The discussion group was really lively, though. But even after three hours of talking, we still didn’t figure out how the progressive left can form a hegemonic historic bloc! As always, suggestions welcome. Me, I’ve got to catch a 5 a.m. train back home.
Oaktown Girl is in the hiz-zouse! (Cheering, screaming, wild applause...but no fainting till you put back the kinda sexy photo!).
Hel-lo Chocolate Cit-tay!Posted by on 04/26 at 04:29 PM
Can I treat you to a nice cone of Maggie Moo’s afterwards? I have class from 6 to 9…Posted by The Witch on 04/26 at 04:36 PM
(This is a cell phone being waved in the dark)Posted by on 04/26 at 04:40 PM
I have no idea what you are talking about, and yet I still laughed. I wish I could be there, but Stillwater, OK is a long way from DC, geographically and culturally.Posted by on 04/26 at 04:43 PM
Sorry, Michael, but I’m not ready to rock just yet. 5 minutes?Posted by on 04/26 at 04:53 PM
Curse you, Michael. I was planning on live blogging John Tesh’s Intelligence for your Life radio show tonight, but now you’ve come up with something more exciting. How will I ever get Ophelia Benson to not recommend my blog if you keep topping my efforts?Posted by corndog on 04/26 at 05:03 PM
How will I ever get Ophelia Benson to not recommend my blog if you keep topping my efforts?
Well, corndog, you could try being a bit more self-infatuated. It works for me!
Five minutes, VKW. But only five minutes. The kids out there have waited all day for this gig, and remember, we’re doin’ it for the kids.
And thanks, Witch! But I think I’m booked. Oaktown Girl, are we ready for some Trouble Funk? Drop the bomb!Posted by Michael on 04/26 at 05:09 PM
Wow Corndog. You realize that your plan will pop the last seal off the Book of Apocalypse, don’t you? Best of luck Michael. I can’t believe Stuart Hall is out of print and yet everything by Dr. Phil is available at my local bookstore.Posted by on 04/26 at 05:13 PM
In all seriousness: while you are there in D.C. schmoozing with a bunch of people from the “left” and discussing what went wrong, can you please bring up the issue of voting rights and genuine congressional representation for the people of our nation’s capitol? You know it’s never going to get done until enough White people complain about it.
Thanks...and I promise to add swooning and fainting to my wild appluse and screaming at your next live appearance if you help a Sister out over here.Posted by on 04/26 at 05:18 PM
Michael - I dated the trumpet player from Trouble Funk for about a year in the 80’s. But it was a cross county relationship (Oaktown to D.C of course)and I was still an undergraduate. He had finished grad school and was ready to settle down. Bad timing, but great memories. He was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever known.Posted by on 04/26 at 05:27 PM
So… are we allowed to link here again?
‘Cause I was thinking of liveblogging CSPAN’s BookTV interview with Sut Jhally, but I might just send everyone your way, then get smashed and watch Veronica Mars.Posted by Alex on 04/26 at 05:30 PM
O.G.-- wow. I am completely impressed. I saw Trouble Funk in 1987 and concentrated most of my attention on the rhythm section (for obvious reasons), but I’m sure the trumpet player was a great guy too. Anyway, that’s a great idea about congressional representation for D.C. Would it involve actual voting, too, or would you prefer a figurehead Congressperson with no power whatsoever? And Alex, go ahead and link away. This blog has already gotten over its fifteen seconds of Benson-induced humility, and is right back to its free-swingin’, self-absorbin’ ways.
But I’m not really liveblogging a discussion group. Come now! That would be silly.Posted by Michael on 04/26 at 05:38 PM
Tie-died T-shirt: check
Extra rolling papers: check
Butterfly on cheek: check
Ok, I’m set. Rock on.Posted by on 04/26 at 08:03 PM
we still didn’t figure out how the progressive left can form a hegemonic historic bloc
First you need five mechanical lions…Posted by Alex on 04/27 at 03:20 AM
There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and the talking over its head. `Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,’ thought Alice; `only, as it’s asleep, I suppose it doesn’t mind.’
The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: `No room! No room!’ they cried out when they saw Alice coming. `There’s PLENTY of room!’ said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.
`Have some wine,’ the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I don’t see any wine,’ she remarked.
`There isn’t any,’ said the March Hare.
`Then it wasn’t very civil of you to offer it,’ said Alice angrily.
`It wasn’t very civil of you to sit down without being invited,’ said the March Hare.
`I didn’t know it was YOUR table,’ said Alice; `it’s laid for a great many more than three.’Posted by on 04/27 at 01:19 PM
Why, how very nice. The Mad Hatter has stopped by.Posted by on 04/27 at 03:45 PM
"we still didn’t figure out how the progressive left can form a hegemonic historic bloc! As always, suggestions welcome.”
Well, one way to start is by beginning to very clearly paint a detailed picture of the state of the union as it would appear to a local mall shopper under the fascist theocracy that the reckless right seems to believe they want to develop. What would shopping look like under such a regime? How would the rulings of the theocratically controlled judiciary manifest themselves as freedoms for corporations to exploit the labor of their constituent wage slaves? Make a movie of it, turn it into a TV series, set it to pop music, sell it like a commodity.Posted by on 04/27 at 07:15 PM
It starts with labor law reform with Wal-Mart being the target--then go after Target, too.
It goes hand in glove with an aggressive anti-WTO stance (global trade is okay, but tariffs and helping other nations buy what they produce, including our nation is a better policy).
Dem leaders have got to say it and, most importantly, mean it. Then, watch some lunch bucket Republican religious workers come back to a 21st Century version of the New Deal and the Dems have a president again--or maybe the first one to understand workers’ economic needs since FDR.
Sounds easy, but it’s still hard. But better than what the Dems have been doing as a party.Posted by on 04/27 at 08:13 PM
I wish I could have been a fly in the flat ale. I agree wholeheartedly and with enormous regret that the fact that Stuart Hall’s Hard Road To Renewal is out of print is a bad, bad thing for the Left. I tried to reread much of it on a yearly basis until one of my students loved it so much that she “borrowed” it and moved away without returning it. Arggghhh!Posted by Charlie Bertsch on 04/28 at 02:20 AM
how the progressive left can form a hegemonic historic bloc:
1. stop using the word hegemonic
2. ditto for bloc
3. Stop being bullied into being “tolerant” of men in dresses who run a cult that demonizes consenting adults who engage in gay sex but winks at priests who hump altar boys.
etc.Posted by deb on 04/28 at 01:13 PM
Thanks for taking the time to post such a detailed and informative article. It has given me a lot of inspiration and I look forward to more like this in the future.
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