2013: Generalism Wins!

For two years, I’ve attempted to widen my horizons by reading, viewing and altogether consuming information on a specific topic. This isn’t a new or unique concept, as I found out just this week that Mark Zuckerberg learned Mandarin in 2011 and slaughtered his own meat animals in 2012. (I’ve killed some chickens and we’re also both on Facebook… and therein end our similarities.) Meanwhile, I half-assed attempts to study reggae and photography within the same timespans, with middling success. Mark wins again.

My goal in 2013 is a full embrace of generalism. And completism.

After reading 52 books a year for a decade, I slumped to the mid-20s in 2011 and didn’t break out of the teens in 2012. The house is littered with half-finished books; with a bit of directed time, a half-dozen, partially-consumed titles could be quickly polished off in January.

There are flickr photo sets to be revisited. A couple of websites with incomplete bits. That whole Second Set e-book business needs a push.

And there’s the AFI movie list.

As minor backstory: one of the topics I obsess over with my Mass Communications classes is the notion of how cultural elements move into general circulation among Americans. Ten-year olds can sing along to Rihanna, but I do I need to even know her song titles? Is there one, set game that would make me understand why students play video games (solo and in worldwide networks) for 20 hours a week? And does it make me a bad person to have never seen “The Shawshank Redemption”?

Haven’t got all those questions answered, but for the past three, maybe four years, I’ve attempted to knock off the American Film Institute Top 100 Films, a list released in 1998 and updated in 2007, totaling 123 films in all. In fits-and-starts, I’ve finished most of the movies, but have some epics remaining: “Dances with Wolves” and “Titanic.” And some that I’m not especially interested in seeing: the two just noted, along with “Cabaret” and “Patton.” And, yeah, there’s “Shawshank,” too, along with the last 120-minutes of “Intolerance,” which, to my mind hasn’t worn very well over the last near-century.

And so it goes. If you wanna watch a movie or read a book in tandem, gimme a shout. If it’s a book of photography or a raggae film, we can make that happen even quicker.