homeaboutarchives + tagsshopmembership!
aboutarchivesshopmembership!
aboutarchivesmembers!

Love letters and time machines

posted by Tim Carmody   Oct 23, 2017

Hi everyone: Tim Carmody here, filling in for Jason this week. I don’t know exactly what he’s doing, but I’ve seen the photos and it looks freaking awesome. Much-deserved.

Every time I guest host The Best Blog in the World, I try to make it part of a bigger project. The last time I was here, Kottke readers helped us build a time capsule for the World Wide Web. This week, I have a similar theme, inspired by Jason’s recent post about his guest appearance on Halt and Catch Fire.

What strikes me about this essay is how much love pours off the page. Note: Jason is somehow even more midwestern than me. (I’m an ethnic Catholic from Detroit; I yell and cry and tell people too much and only feel terrible about all of it later.) He does not wear his emotions on his sleeve. So when he loosens up like this, it’s a big deal:

When I was a kid, there was nothing I was more interested in than computers. My dad bought one of the first available IBM PC-compatibles on the market. I’ve read and watched a ton about the PC revolution. I used online services like Prodigy. And the web, well, I’ve gotten to experience that up close and personal. One of the reasons I love Halt and Catch Fire so much is that it so lovingly and accurately depicts this world that I’ve been keenly interested in for the past 35 years of my life. Someone made a TV show about my thing and it was great, a successor to Mad Men great. Getting to be a microscopically tiny part of that? Hell yeah, it was worth it.

You can see how much he loves the show, how much he loves what the show was about, and how much he loved getting to be a part of it.

And I love that energy. For all the fisking and venting and social grooming and general chatter, I think that core feeling of “I love this! Why don’t you find something you love this much too?” is what propelled blogging from the beginning. It’s an enthusiast art, and it’s a folk art, from a country known for turning its enthusiast folk art into global industries.

So, this week, what I would like to do with you is to open up a little and talk about the things I love. It’s going to be a series of open love letters about art, literature, music, movies, nature, sports, technology — all that Liberal Arts 2.0 geek shit we all fill up on at Kottke. And if you’re worried that it’s just going to be a big dumb ultrapositive lovefest, don’t: the things I love are all strange and sad, and some of them are lost forever, so I’ve got you covered on that emotional side too.

Even Jason’s story about Halt and Catch Fire has that tinge of melancholy that makes it that much sweeter: the show is over, the world it describes is gone, the experience is a memory. Edgar Allen Poe was right: there’s nothing more beautiful than something we love that is forever gone. And Proust was right: we need a time machine, whether chemical or mechanical, to recapture that feeling again. The song of the Sirens is beautiful because it is doomed.

This week is also going to be about love: the weird processes by which we come to have so much affection for immanent and transcendent things in the universe. It’s not the same way we come to love people, but it’s not not the same way either. And it’s going to be in no small part about time; time lost, time present, and time yet to come.

One last thing: I couldn’t do this by myself. Or I didn’t want to, which amounts to the same thing. So throughout the week, there will be expert guest contributors offering their thoughts on the subjects we’re covering. It’s an amazing group: you’ll recognize a bunch of them, and I’m thrilled to smuggle all of them into Kottke.org with me, because they really shine.

Okay? Okay. Let’s get started.