The latest episode of the podcast is mostly the first official episode in which I report on the findings of my weekly Day of Study.
Sunday is what I call my Day of Study, a day when I never pick up a shift at the restaurant, a day when I seldom do any writing, either.
Sundays are about reading. Usually five or six straight hours of it. Starting with the Miami Herald, then the New York Times, then the New Yorker (though the sequence isn’t set in stone). If I’ve got the time, I’ll squeeze in a couple comic books for a palate cleanser. But I took the cue for this habit from one of my idol-mentors, Steve Donoghue, who’d pretend to balk at the label “idol-mentor” while quietly licking his lips.
Donoghue, I should mention, is a BookTuber (“BookTube” being a nickname for the bookish corner of YouTube). He’s made more videos than any other BookTuber (4,000 and counting) and once upon a time, before the news became too unbearable, he’d go to a corner convenience store in Boston, buy the Sunday New York Times, read it closely and sift the sections and then make a video in which he talked about the week’s issue and then broke things down–and it was an absolute masterclass of news reading because apart from just going through the news of the day, and providing some interpretive context, he would walk you through the language in the articles, which was itself always loaded with implications, and I remember walking away from each of those videos feeling both better-informed about the world around me, and wary of the way it was reported.
Something Steve used to advocate in those videos was a practice of avoiding the 24-hour news cycle during your workweek, since CNN and FOX News are both designed to be an absolute vacuum of your mental and emotional energy, and to instead just designate a certain day of the week (ideally Sunday) toward the focused consumption of the week’s big stories.
I don’t remember the day that I consciously started to follow his advice, or if it was a slow progression, but now I’m 100% emulating the Master (a half-joking moniker) and it’s become one of the murky highlights to my week.
The “Day of Study” episode is something I’d like to do on a regular basis. Ideally, I’d spend my Sunday morning and early afternoon reading, then prepare some talking points, record the episode, and edit the whole thing together in time for Monday morning so that I can, as it were, “provide some value” as a sort of conversational breakdown of news.
This episode (what I hope we can refer to as the first of many) is pretty digressive. More so than I intended. And while I intended to talk about the Herald and the Times and the New Yorker, I ended up talking about two pieces from the New Yorker and two from the Times.
And for now, I’m OK with that. If this is gonna be something I do on a regular basis, I can’t hold myself to a very strict standard of performance. It’s gotta be relaxed. Shapeshifting and whimsical.
So this week is mostly about an absolutely magnificent profile of the artist Kerry Marshall, written by Calvin Tomkins. And then there’s a long riff about the abominable Dan Pena.
So here it is, presented on the blog somewhat belatedly, the first Day of Study episode!