The young pagans band around the picnic table and scrawl inky runes into their hands with cheap pens. Around them, the world falls, and wonders if they will...
The summer, its heat and its flowers, has finally been put to death. But the dust remains. George Wilson is covered in it, alive and dead, and as Nick told us at the beginning of the novel, the empty space around Gatsby’s dream is made up of that same dust, those same ashes.
Beyond writing about craftmanship and antique furniture, M&T explores ideas about human work in a technological age, work in the context of community, and the relationship between craft and tradition. Regardless of your interest in the nuances of woodworking, many Porchers would find reading M&T to be worthwhile.
Life is inherently unpredictable and requires engagement without certainty of outcome. It also often requires patience. No matter how many labor-saving and time-bending devices we create, we will never exist in a completely predictable and easy environment. “Convenience” ceases to be convenient when it is sapping us of the courage we need to encounter everyday life.
We may heap much of the blame or praise upon generals and czars and presidents, but they are rarely in the trenches. We may want to avoid taking responsibility for what happens, but big things often require many people working together. Individuals alone do not shape history. It is not wrong to be either disappointed or excited about Elon Musk taking over Twitter, but it is wrong to expect wealthy individuals to solve our collective problems.
All of the biases, all of the bloodlessness, and all the banalities of Tractor Wars, I suggest, are the products of a whole way of thinking about technology, agriculture and the economy, one that values invention over implementation or use, innovation over maintenance or care, and the “modern” over the technologies that are proven to work better for the plants, animals and people of the broader communities of agriculture in the present as well as the past.
Chris Hytha is a laudable example of somebody civilizing our approach to digital assets, and I fully support him. I’m glad to see fellow Philly Porchers Anthony Hennen and Nick Russo elevate Hytha’s work, but I don’t see any way to align the Wild West NFT economy with Wendell Berry’s “Great Economy.”
The status of NFTs in the world of 2027 depends, in large part, on how well we’re able to incorporate them into our positive vision of the good. We can, and should, step back and question them. But to stay removed from the craze is to abdicate our duty to shape the future in accordance with our values. The NFT trend marches on: will we help to choose its destination, or will we resign ourselves to futile finger-wagging?
Fran Liebowitz suggests that “a book isn’t supposed to be a mirror, it’s supposed to be a door.” Universities are the same. They are not meant to simply reflect the times and trends. They are intended to open doors to existing knowledge and doors to a reimagined future.
Frank Mulder is preaching the same Gospel. Pictures of Frank Mulder make him look like he could be a modern-day Johnny Appleseed, on a bicycle, planting sycamores instead of apple trees, helping people, one by one, break free from the threefold madness of money, planning, and crowds.