Countless websites exist that are devoted to enthusiastic discussion of pop culture, television, music, movies, books, whatever. The impulse behind my writing is more-or-less the same in that I write to share my opinions and my insights. It can be taken for granted that the subjects discussed on this blog are things that I enjoy and love. But what sets my writing apart is less my take on aesthetic and emotional issues – why I enjoyed something and what is best about it – than on the ideas the objects explore. This is not to say that my writing will be limited to “big ideas”, or that I will not share my more visceral reactions. But what I hope will make this site exciting for readers is the level of discourse and the depth of analysis. I cannot promise to offer a completely academic approach. To do so would require far more time than I can afford, and it might anyway be tedious to many readers. I hope instead that the kind of work I produce here will bridge the gap between academic discourse and the celebratory style familiar on the internet among enthusiasts and clickbait readers. Part of making my site stand out will be to eschew the common format of making the review of the material central. I may offer my opinions about the quality of films and television for example, but the discussion will be more thematic than comprehensive; I discuss how the works handle ideas more than I justify why I did or did not like something.
In many ways, my inspiration for this project is Kumail Nanjiani`s podcast the X-Files Files, whose popularity derives as much from the host and guests’ enthusiasm as it does from their engagement with thoughtful and intelligent discussion about the issues The X-Files explores, and how it does so. While I lack the industry experience to provide insight into the production of the materials I explore, I have many years of training as an analyst and critic: I am an expert in narrative and the relationships between fiction and culture, and I have the background of a university lecturer to guide me as I share my observations in hope of generating further conversation. And so, I justify this blog as the musings of an individual deeply interested in the workings of fiction and art, and in what the stories we share can tell us about ourselves and our world.
Because I am a scholar of English literature, my professional writing concerns mainly literature in its popular understanding as written works of fiction. But the skills and methods used for such analysis are easily transferable to texts – defined as any unit of cultural production – of all kinds. My hope is that my background as a literary scholar can generate thoughtful and entertaining articles about the popular entertainments I enjoy. I have titled my blog Conversations with Myself, but I invite you to listen in and join the conversation.
Note: The blog has since been renamed as Vanity Fare