Well, those of you who don't read from RSS feeders (I'm old fashioned in that way myself) will notice I changed my layout and added a homemade header. I was literally fooling around with the header for over an hour, and at this point I'm so frazzled I can't tell if it's any good at all. It's probably way too big. On the plus side, I like the stretch style; I write long posts, if you hadn't noticed, and the wide layout makes sense. Plus my Shakespeare quote is finally formatted properly.
Oh, and by the way, my style is to jot off a post quickly, then read it back after it's posted and change little things here and there, mostly typos and grammar but occasionally word usage I don't like. (Stupid, I know.) From what I understand, RSS feeds don't show those changes. So if you find I've said something particularly incomprehensible, check the site and maybe I've changed it.
I did several African and black philosophy independent studies in college, mostly thanks to Lewis Gordon (who I dreamed of studying under). I had this professor, a really great, friendly guy. In a class he was letting me sit in on as part of my credit, we were talking about negritude and dramatic self-presentation. We were discussing how, according to the proponents of negritude, living life with a sense of dramatic narrative and presenting yourself in that spirit could create a sense of purpose and dignity, particularly important for those facing racial discrimination. I asked my prof what, precisely, would prevent such behavior from becoming pretentious. He cocked his head and smiled a little bit, and said he didn't think there was any difference-- living with a sense of dramatic arc in one's life was bound to be pretentious.
Let me say that I know that some of the elements of this blog are pretentious, even self-parodic; the French name taken from a classic short story, the Shakespeare quote, the earnest picture. At the risk of attempting to excuse through explanation, let me say that I'm aware of the silly-seeming seriousness of it all. I have two things to say in my defense. First, I think that it's possible for something to be at once earnest and self-parodic. I've long thought that there's a difference between acknowledging that something is ridiculous and ridiculing it. Lots of times, when I say I like a movie or song, people will assume that it's a matter of "so bad it's good." But really, it's a matter of "so good it's good." If you catch my meaning. My Shakespeare quote is in earnest, and that's how I really feel. I also recognize that putting a quote from Titus Andronicus up on your weblog is very mockable.
The other thing I would say is that there is a difference between the creator and their creation. This blog is an outlet for me to be a little pretentious, I guess, to be a little full of it sometimes. If you're like me, you often find that life is kind of, well, discouraging towards that notion of dramatic living. Here, though, where things are all cognitive, all intellectual, I can allow myself to stretch out, so to speak. I mean if you can't be a little self-involved on a blog.... Anyway, I hope you'll all take it on faith that, in real life, I'm not so certain, or so contrary, or so in earnest. Not taking yourself too seriously is a virtue, but a hard one to maintain, so luckily enough for me life keeps interceding whenever I get a little too much wind in my sails. (The "I look good/cool" trip is one that life puts a stop to with frightening speed, for me.)
I guess this is all just a way to say, I hope you like the new layout. Catching just the right tenor around here is difficult, and I'm working on it, but sometimes I screw up. If I haven't exhausted your patience yet, perhaps you can hold onto it a little longer.
To do: us the word "thing" less in this blog.
(The header is still too big, huh. Fuck.)
Update: OK, I've changed it from the "vertigo" picture (which you can see below) to something a little more generic, a picture I took on my mountain spot. I'll probably play with this for awhile the next few days.
Can't decide about the width-- I like the width of the widgets on the right a lot bigger this way, but the actual text is definitely too wide. It would seem like it would be easy to change one and not the other, but apparently not.