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A Conversation with Kate Thomas

Day 24 of Emerging Genres

A Conversation with Kate Thomas
about Communication Technologies,
Past and Present....

interest in 19th c. communication technologies
great historical backdrop for our conversations re: emergence of the blog,
whose ancestry includes the newspaper, the letter, the autobiography, the diary....

effect on social relations and culture of the invention of postal system in Britain in 1840
inexpensive, reliable message delivery systems-->
explosion of letter writing & disappearance of epistolary novel!
(obsessed w/ mechanics of sending letters/ignored content?)

also done some research on "Michael Field," pseudonym for a lesbian couple,
Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper, who considered themselves a single poetic voice
intriguing historical backdrop for our conversations w/ Tim Burke on Tuesday,
and earlier, regarding possibility of faking identity on the internet-->
how much that frees us up/constrains us....

also (not unrelatedly?):
some work on the vagrant: questions about public mobility/deviance

class on Eating Culture:
the role food plays in tracing and guiding
global networks of power, politics, and trade

and blog: Syllabub: Words on Food

where to begin....?
with the visuals--
the egg, the peashoot, the hot bun, the chilly oyster?

shall we begin with the paradoxicals?
or the lucious rhetoric of syllabub and syllabi?

...history merely filled the cavity

These losses comfort me.

Eggs bulge with vile potential.

...audacity is a consequence of sly hoardings

Marmalade...encodes our sourness, our love of an exercise in control and violence.

The real princess knows to complain...This is the true sign of aristocracy... discontinuous. Princesses...are never real.

The world is pucker around us. It has a drawstring of rules and regulations...

failures often force us to forgo convention for obscurer, better options...

the realization of the randomness of rule and regulation--the stakes are so high, but the laws so spectral. How are we to know?

...a curiously cosmopolitan end for an oyster, which otherwise lives its entire life
anchored to one spot in the ocean....

The history of ice has always been--paradoxically for a substance that is the definition of stop action--
the history of transport.

Truly bucolic pleasures incorporate the grotesque...
It is in the vile body that we find our revel,
and in the sacrifice of it that we face ourselves.

Anne's notes from the conversation:
Kate thinks of herself as an "old-fashioned" sort of blogger,
recapturing nostalgia for the days when there were six postal deliveries
she is not a "bloggy" blogger, because she does "so little with links";
there is "no super connectivity" on her blog; it's more like a diary or a food column
(her links are to other food writers and one "starving" artist)
syllabub--> syllable --> syllabi
some troubling thoughts regarding
--the ephemerality of writing about one's own "ingestive practices,"
--"adding to the debris in the world/on the web"
--the complexities of writing about local experience on a non-local apparatus
blogging is an alternative to the evaluating process of academic writing,
the very surveyed quality of the writing required to hold a professorial position
in the slightly coy presentation of self, as in 18th century novels which use initials to identify characters, there is a "deep representation of what Kate is made of";
she "withdraws into the subject, with a "quiet commitment/implicit engagement" in food politics
she is not "mapping what's out there, and writing to it," although she is serving,
in a supplementary capacity, some of the issues surrounding our alienation from our food options
freeze-framing/archiving the pleasure of a dish well made
the instant gratification of writing on-line is very freeing
there is an etiquette: Kate feels the need to be courteous and respond to her respondents
did we feel invited into the blog? it's "more meditative, not conversational"