Conversations and conversions

In Post-Hiatus Notes: Kudos and Quixote, Markets and Soup-Kitchens, Hip-Hop and Zoot Suits, Podcasts and Dante, Stephen Lewis covers much ground, including rewarding conversations between us on the overlapping subjects of infrastructure and markets. Where I often traffic in supposition, Steve carries knowledge and experience — two assets of his on which I have come to rely, through a friendship that now stretches more than forty years. One sample of Steve’s substance:

  My part-time studies and work at the fringes of the field of Ottoman history has kept me close to the vision of markets as accretions of interactions, conversations, and trust. Over the course of more that a half millennium, the Ottomans evolved physical infrastructure and institutions that enabled commerce and information exchange as well as conquest. One facet of this infrastructure was the Imaret — the combined publicly-financed travelers’ lodge and soup kitchen — a veritable “internet” of which dotted the roadways of the Ottoman Empire from the Balkans to Anatolia to the Middle East and North Africa. Those interested in the subject should turn to a newly published volume edited by historians Nina Ergin, Christoph Neumann, and Amy Singer: Feeding People, Feeding Power; Imarets in the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul, 2007).

And, on occasion, I return the favor. Such as Steve relates here:

  Three to four years ago, I was vocally skeptical when Doc was amongst the first to enthuse about the Copernican revolution podcasting was about to create by liberating content from the limits of time and geography and by enabling listeners to choose and pull broadcasts rather than having them pushed at them. At the time, I saw podcasting as technology without worthy content. Events proved me totally wrong and I now live from podcasts. I reload my I-Pod daily, supplementing my usual mix of Bartok, Turkish and Armenian Oud virtuosi, Monk and Ellington, Aretha Franklin and the Rev. James Clevelandm and the like with the latest podcasts from the BBC’s Melvyn Bragg, PBS’s Bill Moyers, the New Yorker magazine, NPR’s Car Talk Plaza, and WNYC’s Sara Fishko, Leonard Lopate, Brian Lehrer, and John Schaeffer. A few days ago, I admitted to Doc that if there isn’t a special circle in the Inferno for those of us who doubted podcasting there should be. With magnanimity, Doc offered to release me from such a fate if I posted my confession on this site … thus this entry!

Okay, my plane is boarding…