Notebook on Cities and Culture
(Formerly The Marketplace of Ideas.) Colin Marshall sits down for in-depth conversations with cultural creators, internationalists, and observers of the urban scene all around Los Angeles and beyond.

Colin Marshall sits down in Westwood, Los Angeles with Kevin Smokler, author of Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School. They discuss what makes him think of Holden Caulfield as a Bing user; why we study novels in high school at all, and what it might have to do with Renaissance classics scholarship; how we got turned off to these books the first time around, and the radical notion that we now have time to properly absorb them; his hymn to his obnoxious teenage self, when he felt he possessed many abilities, yet none worked in concert with one another, and all lacked context; how these curricular books interact with the teenage impulse to rail at unfairness; whether Jane Austen represents the triumph of content over form or form over content; what, exactly, is the matter with The Scarlet Letter; David Foster Wallace's notion of challenging the reader in the act of seduction; books now fashionably disliked, such as A Separate Peace; our onetime love of Dead White Males, our swing too far away from them in the early nineties, and the ambiguous DWM-relative position in which we now find ourselves; how he earned a lasting reputation at his high school for deeming Shakespeare "trite"; those moments where the necessary context for a work floods in all at once; The Day of the Locust, and how he read it only after coming to Los Angeles at 19 to supplicate before the altar of cinema; high school readers' tendency to gravitate to the freaks and the outcasts, and whether his home city of San Francisco still welcomes such people; Rebecca Solnit's lament over Google, and how the city's future belongs to them rather than to the Grateful Dead; the life of a coffee-shop based San Francisco writer; and his next book, on music, which will go looking for a universal cultural experience in the particulars of his own adolescence.

Direct download: NCC_S3E12_Kevin_Smokler.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:07 PM