Letters to the Editors

Even More Feedback on Dog-eared and Cracked

I had a chance to listen to Philip Moscovitch’s podcast, “Dog-eared and Cracked,” in which Phil talks with some guy named Jay about books.

I listened to the latest episode, about Philip K. Dick’s The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, a book I have not read. Jay had unkind things to say about the book:

Well, I knew that I would have to respond here to your question ultimately about what I thought of the book, and I had to give a lot of thought to how I’d answer that question, mainly because to say you hated a book doesn’t really contribute a lot to the conversation.

So I did spend time exploring exactly why I dislike this book. And I needed to do that so we could write up a review in a way that wouldn’t force me to check the explicit language checkbox when uploading the review.

Now, there’s a few obvious reasons for myself why I dislike this book. I would include the lack of underlining dramatic tension, the storyline, and — we’ll come back to this again and again, but the characters were not likeable. Nothing really happens over the entire storyline. Events occur in this novel that are meant to be thought-provoking and brilliant philosophical insights, but are just plain ridiculous. Dick sets up two or more unlikeable characters, the arrogant Tim and his bitter girlfriend Kirsten, to believe that Tim’s son Jeffrey has returned from the grave as a poltergeist. And they’re convinced it’s Jeff’s ghost because of the disarranged clothes and broken mirrors.

I don’t know. I don’t understand. Was Jeff a slob? One who’s alive and that’s how they know it’s him? I don’t know. It just makes no sense to me. Then they visit a medium to communicate with Jeffrey. And the explanation given is that the medium has read their minds.

So, meaning that it’s implausible that Jeffrey is communicating from the grave, but plausible that mind-reading is a legitimate activity.

It’s great to hear two smart people discuss books without getting too high-falutin about it. It’s a fun, easy listen.

Listen here, or, as they say, wherever you get your podcast thingies.

Tim Bousquet, Halifax Examiner – August 31, 2020

More Feedback on Dog-eared and Cracked

Highly enjoyable “literary challenge” podcast!

Chris L. – August 18, 2020

Feedback on The Conquest of Happiness

just listened to your review of Russell. I found it engaging but not moving. When I heard you apparently unilaterally changed the rating system I thought moving was on a higher plane than merely engaging. I am engaged frequently but rarely moved. Words for thought. So how do I engage with the podcast?

Gregg Y. – July 31, 2020

Feedback on Dog-eared and Cracked

I’ve listened to, and enjoyed, a couple of “Dog-eared and Cracked” episodes. Congrats! You and Phil definitely have a great rapport! I think an occasional guest/interloper/provocateur could be interesting … on topics that venture into specialized areas/markets (e.g., baseball trivia, movie adaptations …). Just a one-cent thought. Great fun!

Peter Y. – July 29, 2020

Feedback on The Utility of Boredom Podcast

Re: name dropping. I was struggling on how to explain this phenomenon and I’m not sure there is any explanation outside of sports like you mentioned. I got together with my old high school group and we probably spent half an hour just recalling names of old cfl players from the 70’s, i.e. the very edge of our peripheral memory of the sport.  The joy and laughter at just hearing old names like, Peter Della Riva or Junior Ah You, just cannot be duplicated in my experience.  I think it’s a mixture of nostalgia and recalling the good old days in ways you just cannot view in the present.

You made comment early on about the book being full of statistics, but that’s only half the story, because like name dropping, statistics are used as  a story telling device .  The best way I have to describe this is through a baseball score sheet, what people use when they refer to keeping score.  it’s basically a listing of the players in the batting order with a grid where the result of each at bat is recorded.  The nostalgia is where you look back on a score sheet and how a series of coded entries and tick marks can somehow evoke memories of plays, great and terrible, but more than that, memories of what you were doing at the time, eating, people you saw, what was the weather was like etc etc.  The connection between the pen, paper and mind is mysterious.  In baseball, this is how it can be accessed. 

Kyle P. – July 9. 2020

Feedback on the Fool Podcast

I found my desire to read Fool increasing as Phil continued to dissect the novel. Hard to place why – almost like his sensibilities and off puttings would be my…”on puttings”…
Being a Shakespearean boy from high school – I am most interested in reading the book now.
Consider the spoilers perspective…the topic of Pocket’s throwing knives and that he finally uses them though the audience hasn’t read the book….overall you both do a great job of not spoiling the book.

Todd P.