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On Anniversaries

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical. All this week, I'll be "looking back" on the past ten years, through interviews, posts, and discussions.

Ironically, just yesterday, in anticipation of the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' Shea Stadium concert, a piece by Michele Ingrassia was published in the NY Daily News entitled "Reasons to Celebrate." Ingrassia asks the question: "What's behind our obsession with anniversaries?" She writes:

Behold, the anniversary onslaught. Not a morning goes by when someone isn't heralding, say, the 145th anniversary of the Pony Express, the 70th anniversary of the flat-top beer can or the 40th anniversary of the Slurpee. ... "It's a way for people to put their lives in context," says humorist Robert Lanham ... If anniversary mania has exploded this year, perhaps it's because 2005 is such a nice, neat number to subtract from. ... Lanham calls it a symptom of our "neurotic culture"—baby boomers' need to explain everything through the prism of their own lives. ... "It's a way to recontextualize," [pop culturalist Robert] Thompson says.

Well, it's not necessarily the case that one is "neurotic" for seeing life through one's own eyes and one's own experience. Personal context does matter! And given my own obsession with the art of context-keeping, I can't think of a better way to mark my own tenth anniversaries this week than to extol the virtue of looking through the prism of my own life. It is an opportunity to "recontextualize" things, indeed—to take stock, to look back, to see where I was, where I am, and where I'm going.

So there will be more to come throughout the week. Two new interviews make their debut this week. For those interested in past interviews and notices, take a look here.

Comments welcome.