EDIT: With apologies for people who I spammed when I made this post live. I had just been sitting on post drafts for some time and decided to publish them as I’m getting ready to write some more in the coming weeks. I’m just going to graft them into this post as a general 2016 update transition post.
I’ve been even more reclusive than usual on my blog lately, primarily because I’ve been putting in a lot of work on my upcoming book project, The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation. It’s an exciting project, but we have a lot of contributors which makes the work take quite a lot of my time. Soon in 2017 the Open Dialogues about Sonic Heritage site should start to see some discourse emerge.
Overall, 2016 was a strange year, and with the election, I’d been really distanced from writing in my blog for a number of other reasons beyond just my book project. Right from the start I took David Bowie’s death rather hard, but that news was followed by a wave of other general tragedies, from artists to world news. Politics have immersed me in books new, new to me, and old. I’ve spent a good deal of time revisiting my Bakhtin library in search of inspiration for some new questions I am pondering regarding ideological modes of expression in media. I read Sinclair Lewis’s book, It Can’t Happen Here, just because it seemed appropriate. By the end of the year, Jaime and I were both pretty much in agreement with John Oliver:
There were good developments in 2016, too. Jaime and I decided early on into the year that we wanted to move out of an apartment and transition into a tiny home, and so from May through July our time was dedicated to looking around for the home that was the right space and the right price for us. We decided before long that we were going to choose a fifth wheel RV, and by the end of June we found a 2005 Keystone Montana in Mobile that we thought had the perfect layout. It needed a bit of work, and we rushed frantically to get the bulk of the renovations done before the Fall 2016 semester began (and we mostly did). We (mostly Jaime) have been chronicling our transition and progress in another blog space (mostly on its instagram): RVeople.
After we began settling in, I had thought to publish a few articles, but never found myself with enough time as the semester rolled along, and then I became deeply immersed once again in the book project, especially in the semester down time around Thanksgiving and the Holiday break. Even our regular Irish trad session stopped in the summer when we moved, and then our venue told us that they were done with live music so I needed to find another place for our sessions to meet. So keeping my head down, focusing on pragmatic projects, and minding my own research kind of became my mode in 2016.
Frankly, I’ve also still been keeping my distance from the dialectic, argumentative nature of discourse from the election until now. It’s astounding (though not systemically surprising) that we now have a billionaire toddler as president. If anything, it’s going to be interesting exploring ethnomediological topics in the coming year. In the meantime, enjoy this prophetic work from Woody Guthrie.