All Roads Lead to Blog

It seems only fitting that on Easter weekend this old blog has risen from the dead. Jesus would be proud, I think. Like the owner and proprietor of these here parts, I finished my PhD in English in 2011, capping it off with a riveting study on American bachelorhood in mid-20th-century US fiction. The trade papers, as you might imagine, went nuts with anticipation and desire. I too had a blog back in the day, and you can find the remnants of it here. Like Ryan, I really enjoyed writing about Kanye West and Glenn Beck (remember him?) and the like. It’s sad for me to read the last few entries where I assure the reader that my infrequent posting is only temporary. I hate lying, especially when I am the one doing it. But this new venture excites me, as I was always a big fan of The General Reader. We’re here to make some hot copy, folks. Bank on it.

For my first post, then, I am going to keep things fresh and local. To quote a song I don’t even like very much, “the city I live in, the city of angels” figures prominently in my dissertation, and I am even more interested in the place now that I have time to be. The story of Los Angeles is a compressed and at times inverted version of American history where the founding fathers aren’t depressive racist philosopher kings, but ambitious racist Alger characters who looked at the post-Civil War, post-gold rush American landscape and figured out that if you control an area’s media and natural resources, and cut deals with the railroads, well then, baby, you’ve got a stew going. In a moral vacuum, it’s a fascinating tale, one ably documented by Kevin Starr, Mike Davis, Norman Klein, and Carey McWilliams (especially Carey McWilliams). If you are looking for a good primer before jumping into a tome, or just a way to be informed enough without reading, PBS did an excellent documentary on LA’s  original ruling clan, the Chandlers (no relation to Raymond). You will find a link to it below. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go draft a fantasy baseball team.

Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times

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