Since I am now professionally embracing this weird thing I do on the internet, I thought I’d let my readers know where they can find me, professionally speaking, in 2009.
I will also be attending the PCA/ACA’s (Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association’s) conference in New Orleans over Easter weekend. (Pop culturalists are an ungodly sort.) There, my topic will be “The Sword in the Stone in Outsider Arthuriana”. The original title used the vulgar word for “psychoceramics” for the Arthuriana I mean–things like Holy Blood, Holy Grail, and the Alano-Sarmatian hypothesis–but the session organizers rightly suggested I try not to piss off famous people who do actually come to the PCA/ACA conference from time to time.
I’m also working on a paper on the Middle Ages in Sid Meier’s Civilization games that would have been better suited for the Pop Culture conference, if I weren’t already doing the Sword in the Stone thing there. Recently, while leading Charlemagne to an embarassing defeat at the hands of the Incans and their pesky airships, it struck me how fundamentally weird it is to think of a “Middle Ages” in a game that by design will lack all of the usual events that we use for our periodization. If the Middle Ages isn’t, in Sid Meier’s creation, defined with reference to the fall of Rome or the Protestant Reformation, how is it defined? Does Sid (or his minions to whom he handed off the game) have anything deeper in mind than “In the Middle Ages, your attack units are knights with an attack strength of 4 and a defense of 2, while in the Modern Era, your attack units are tanks with attack of 10 and defense of 5”?