Friday, June 18, 2010

Introduction: "Salvete!"

It makes sense to introduce this particular blog to potential readers, so I'd like to describe my general purpose for having it.

This is not a personal blog, but a public one. This is a blog that is tied directly to my particular interests, and I will treat it as a kind of editorial column. The name "The Caffeinated Symposium" was chosen to invoke images of coffee-shop discussions of the sort I enjoyed in college and graduate school.

"The Caffeinated Symposium" will contain my opinions on a wide variety of subjects. These will likely include (but are by no means limited to) history and historiography, the classics, literature, science-fiction and fantasy, the pulps, television and movies, politics, Japanese language and popular culture, comic books, video/computer games, and role-playing games. If you've an interest in any of these topics, then I hope you will follow The Caffeinated Symposium and comment regularly.

Perhaps a brief introduction for myself is in order. I am Dave Cesarano, MA in History from the University of Delaware. I currently teach English abroad. I'm something of a cantankerous cynic, professional pessimist, and a sentimental romantic with a passion for history and literature. My guilty pleasure is indulging in fantasies, whether they have dragons or time-machines, superheroes or Greek heroes. I like to think about things, analyzing and critiquing everything from politics and history to last-night's movie rental.

I agree wholeheartedly with C.S. Lewis regarding adulthood:

Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up. --"On Three Ways of Writing for Children," 1952

Although many may turn up their noses at the pulps, comic books, Japanese animation, and science-fiction/fantasy, contending that they are nerdy and immature, I consider the dismissal of these vital and vibrant aspects of popular culture to be far more childish and ignorant. There is no reason that a 65-year-old literature professor at Yale cannot or should not enjoy Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, nor a history graduate student find pleasure in watching Cowboy Bebop.

With this preamble, I'd like to inaugurate this blog, and state it's mission most simply as an exploration of topics as many and varied as science-fiction, fantasy, literature, the classics, popular culture, history, and politics.


KWBoyd said...

I need an Amazon link for that Lewis book...

Dave Cesarano said...

It's not a book, so far as I can remember. Found the quote at Wikiquotes. Go here to find the essay.

Anonymous said...

You should also reformat your comment link, the "hit" text disappears because of the color shift.

Dave Cesarano said...

Still working on the blog, so, yeah, it's going to get a few tweaks and adjustments as time wears on.