Daily Archives: September 20, 2010

The Stewart-Colbert Conspiracy

You really have to ask yourself — with Fox News amping up the lies and the hysteria on a daily basis, with the “mainstream” of the Republican party now so demented that even Karl Rove is muttering nervously about it, and the Teabaggers endorsing a string of totally unqualified (and, one hopes, totally unelectable) candidates for the upcoming midterm elections — would we really have reason enough not to despair without Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert?

Watch Jon announcing his “Rally to Restore Sanity” here.

Watch Stephen announcing his “March to Keep Fear Alive” here.

They will, of course, be held on the same day, and in all likelihood be incorporated into a single event with the finesse that only Jon and Stephen seem capable of.

It’s at crucial moments like this that the masterly eirons in our midst remind us that no bully is too big not to brought down with a well-aimed blow.  (Yes, Glenn, we’re looking at you.)

Frye-Welch Correspondence, 1968-1970

We have posted in the library letters written by Frye to Jane Welch (later Widdicombe) at the beginning of her long tenure as his devoted secretary: she began working for Frye in 1968. Frye’s travels during these three years took him to Ireland and London; Berkeley; Bellagio, Italy; Islamabad, Pakistan; and Merton College, Oxford.  During this time he was working on The Critical Path, which, he tells Jane Welch in one of his letters from Merton College, “is the first book since the Anatomy of Criticism that I’ve actually written, i.e., that hasn’t been a series of public lectures.  It’s also a very important book.  I probably won’t live to see it recognized as such, but you may” (no. 16).  Then there are the usual Frye quips, such as “I’m not all that anxious to read the Blake Newsletter, and I never believe anything I see in such things anyway, as a matter of principle” (no. 11), and “A big research library is wasted on me, too bad I never learned to read, and I’m getting itchy feet again” (no. 17).

You can read them all here.


On this date in 1519 Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.

Frye in “The Times of the Signs” in Spiritus Mundi:

[W]ith the voyages of Columbus, de Gama and Magellan, humanity as a whole began to realize that the earth was round, and to order their lives on that assumption.  Up till then, the centre of the world had been, as the word itself makes obvious, the Mediterranean, and the people who sat like frogs around a pool, in Plato’s phrase, on the shores of the sea in the middle of the earth.  But after 1492 the nations of the Atlantic sea-board began to realize that it was they who were now in the middle of the world. (66-7)