Featured Post

Welcome to Russell Arben Fox's Home Page

Note that if you're a student and looking for syllabi, click on the link to "Academic Home Page" on the right and search there.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

A New Year

So, it's 2005. Certainly the year is already a horrible one for those who haven't lost the ability to be moved by empathy for the victims of the tsunamis in southeast Asia. Like so many other bloggers, I wish there was more I could do to help, and hope and pray that what little I have to give will make some difference. As the saying goes, there but for the grace of God go I.

It's been a good vacation, all things considered. We've put over 1300 miles on the rental van so far, and there's over 700 yet to go. Next week will be a madhouse--the drive back to Arkansas, some applications to quickly send off, syllabi to prepare for classes the following week, a paper to write, and a conference in New Orleans that weekend. But for now, we can still relax. The whole Madsen clan (my wife's family) has gathered to watch Michigan in the Rose Bowl. (No, none of them went to the University of Michigan, but after living in the Ann Arbor area for 20 years it's gotten into their blood.) I meant to get some reading done, but mainly have slept, watched the kids play, and gorged on crackers and dip. A good New Year's Day, I think.

What a terrible disjunction between those two paragraphs: mourning over a catastrophe which affected millions of people on the one hand, enjoying the banal pleasures of spinach-artichoke dip in the other. Maybe, in a future post or three, I can attempt some sort of mediation between the two. I've been thinking a lot lately about simplicity, popular culture, and the ways in which the stuff which the latter coughs up conflicts with the former. I tend to assume, as I'm sure many others do as well, that a life guided by compassion and charity, one which attends to the needs of the poorest and most hurt, will also have to be a more restricted, more basic, smaller life, one with much less stuff (including dip). How much does that require a compromising of, or withdrawing from, the delightful (though unevenly distributed and sometimes even alienating) plenitude of the modern world? Not a new obsession for me, but one which there certainly remains much to be said.

Well, that's for later. If you're reading this, then your year is probably off to a better start, whatever your other problems, than that of hundreds of millions of others all around the globe, and that's some worth celebrating (humbly and gratefully, of course). Best wishes for the new year. I'm not sharing my resolutions, particularly those dealing with the blog, as I'll probably end up breaking them anyway. But I'll be around, you can be sure of that.

No comments: