Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 284. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2018-12-21 10:03:51+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: Yuletide & solstitial celebrations and gratitude An old and very close friend of mine, a medical doctor in Friesland, recently retired for the second time, marked the occasion with a lecture to the younger doctors he was tutoring. His title: "Boatcoach: Waarom iedere dokter een boot zou moeten bouwen" ("Why every doctor should build a boat"). The Powerpoint slides he sent along to amuse me show he meant exactly what he said -- photos of him in his boat-builder's workshop are there to demonstrate that he knows what he's talking about. I knew already, having spent time under his tutelage helping him finish off a boat he now regularly sails in. He was a talented doctor by all accounts, deeply compassionate, highly skilled and practical. Strolling with him around Leeuwarden we have met many former patients who are now friends. There are, of course, good reasons for a medical doctor electing to do something else beyond a certain age. The professional metamorphosis of an academic in the human sciences, if not most of the others, is less dramatic, more of a shedding off of institutional duties to take on a larger proportion of devotions to scholarship -- and their associated duties. For me, tending to Humanist is one passion among others that bridge the ante- and post-retirement eras. It is a continuing exploration or enactment of something the significance of which I learned from Jerry McGann: that this work of ours is all about the conversation, probing, sometimes upsetting, sometimes outrageous, ever more challenging -- all about reaching for that "hem of a quantum garment". Humanist serves other purposes as well, of course. But it's the intellectual conversations and provocations that are its reason for being. As nearly everyone here will know, I do this sort of meandering musing every year at this time. This year is particularly special, for were it not for the quick, effective and crucial help of the King's Digital Lab (KDL), its Director, James Smithies, and his colleagues Brian Maher and Tim Watts, Humanist might well never have recovered from the catastrophic failure of its server earlier this year. To James, Brian and Tim we all owe a great debt. Others jumped in with offers of help, for which I'm very grateful, but KDL not only had all the skills and facilities ready to go but also, given my long association with King's College London, it seemed most fitting. Now, in its day to day operations, Humanist runs as smoothly as (choose your metaphor). Not only smoothly but elegantly as well. Given the culturally, linguistically and geographically wide distribution of Humanist's membership, the Christmas-Winter Solsticial associations that I cannot escape (nor wish to) pose an insuperable challenge to formulating a suitably idiomatic greeting to everyone. So -- forgive me, translation required -- Happy Christmas to everyone. Yours, WM -- Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
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