2003/05/27

What I meant to say: Archives back on-line
I had finally figured out one thing I'd been doing wrong, but then I did something else stupid that I can't figure out how to undo, that is, to delete from the site. So please forgive the two stuttering entries on this topic below. Anyway, the archives are back. Among the more interesting items from the past (this blog began at the start of this year) is the little essay from January 18 on how and why I wrote A Gift for the Sultan. Just click on "Archives" (left column of this page) and find that date. There's lots more, of course, including my responses to arrests and executions in Cuba, on Hugo Ch�vez, on Bush's war and our opposition, and so on.
'Uxorious obsession'
You've got to admire Michiko Kakutani. When she doesn't like your book, she'll take all the effort required to tell you just why. See today's review of Norman Rush's latest, Mortals, where she takes poor Norm to task for (among other things) his character's "uxorious obsession."

Great phrase. I probably suffer from a bit of it myself, as I remarked this morning to my uxor. A sure sign is the number of references to her that you'll find scattered through this weblog.

Archives back on-line
I finally figured out what I'd been doing wrong. Among the more interesting items from the past (this blog began at the start of this year) is this little essay from January 3 on No comments: Links to this post
'Archives' now on-line
Finally I've figured out what I was doing wrong. Now you can see everything I've posted since beginning this weblog at the beginning of the year. Among the things you'll find there is this little essay, No comments: Links to this post

2003/05/26

'Race' and 'ethnicity': Readers want to know
Or at least one of them does. She (he?) writes:
Hello Mr. Fox:

I read and enjoyed your article in the L.A. Times entitled 'Minority Groups' Have Outgrown Their Labels which I clipped and saved. I recently came across it again while thumbing through my�files and I would like to get your opinion on the following:

What is the difference between race and ethnicity?

Thank you for your time and opinion.
And I answered:
Hmm. This may require a little thought to put it simply and briefly. Maybe I'll put something about it up on my weblog. Usually, when people speak of human "races," they are talking about biology, especially those most noticeable physical differences between groups of people (skin color, hair texture, and so on). "Ethnicity" (I just looked this up) comes from the Greek word for a "people," in the sense of a national group. Like most sociologists and anthropologists, I use the word to refer to culture. So, in the case of people from Spanish-speaking countries, they may be of many different races, but when they come to the US, they discover that they have a lot of culture in common (language is the big thing, but soccer, experience with the Catholic church -- even if they are not in it -- and certain attitudes that have been carried over, generation through generation, from Spain). In my book, Hispanic Nation, I argue that many of these people are working together (despite the obvious differences in skin color, Spanish accent, cooking preferences and so on) to create a new ethnicity, which is what I call the "Hispanic nation" of the US.

... Anyway, if you're curious, I've written a lot more on the topic in that book, Hispanic Nation.

2003/05/25

Blockheads and blogheads

I thought I was going to do something clever by inverting Dr. Johnson's remark to "Only a blockhead would write for money." Forget that idea -- it was so good and so obvious, that 7 trillion people have beaten me to it, as I found when I Googled for the quote. There's a whole blog called Blockhead (it has some good stuff -- you may want to check it out), and another, more literary site telling about Samuel Johnson's own hack writer career. I recommend it; I learned quite a bit of writerly lore from that article by George H. Smith. Anyway, I already gave my thoughts as to why we, or at least why I, write, in the May 14 posting. (Not for money.) It should be in the "Archives" (left column of this page). If it doesn't show up and you want to see it, let me know and I'll be happy to share it.