We do not need, have never needed, settled community, a homogeneous system of values, in order to have a home. Cultural purity is an oxymoron. The odds are that, culturally speaking, you already live a cosmopolitan life, enriched by literature, art, and film that come from many places, and that contain influences from many more.
Monday, September 5, 2016
Takin' a Break
Bruce Viger takes Labor Day seriously. His restaurant, the Garage Bar & Grill, is closed for the day while he serves up a big picnic at home for his employees. Since our break involves getting beyond the township boundaries, David and I are here in Northport today (see picture below: OPEN), ready for whatever business may come our way but also anticipating a fairly slow and easy day of it.
Here at the frayed end of summer, my reading train went completely off the rails. First I was reading a fascinating book about dogs but in jumping between that book and a couple of others I managed to mislay the dog book. When I’m engaged in yet another futile search at home, I think the book must be at the shop; when I come to Northport and look again, unsuccessfully, I’m sure it must be at home. So far, though, no luck either place. And it was, as a say, a fascinating book! Another one I picked up one day was a memoir, and I continued reading for many chapters even after realizing I’d read it before, but after a while my hilarity subsided, and I decided to set it aside.
So that made two books started and not finished, two books that I cannot legitimately add to my “Books Read” list for the year. I did better with Kwame Anthony Appiah’s book, Cosmopolitanism. Dealing largely in abstractions (the author is a philosopher, after all), Cosmopolitanism was most interesting to me in (1) the sections dealing with examples from Ghana and (2) Appiah’s chapter on “Cosmopolitan Contamination.” The latter resonated with me because the arguments against “purity” reminded me of Nietzsche’s, and the arguments for “contamination” – which might as well be called cultural enrichment or cross-cultural fertilization – were similar to those I employed against Nietzsche in one chapter of my doctoral dissertation, winding up that chapter with one of my favorite poems, “Pied Beauty,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. As Appiah observes,
Ah, yes, dappled things!
There is dappling in summer’s ubiquitous green these days, errant patches of yellow and orange, hints of the season to come, and with these tiny previews of fall comes the time that David and I take a little time off from work, the “summer” vacation (in September) that we begin to anticipate as early as mid-August. While we’re gone – for an indeterminate length of time – our businesses will also be, basically, “on vacation,” although there is an exciting chance that Bookstore Bruce, my helper of many years, will open up on Friday and Saturday to test the September water. And if having the bookstore open then seems worthwhile, he may come back and do it again the following week. I would suggest calling first if you would be making a long trip solely on the chance of finding Dog Ears Books open, but then, isn’t any Michigan cruise a pleasure regardless of destination? That’s certainly how we feel as we look forward to some time on the road.
If not back earlier, we will definitely be on hand for Leelanau UnCaged, the fourth annual Northport street fair with arts and crafts and live music and fun galore! That is Saturday, September 24, so mark your calendar now and plan to be here with us!