Ken Burns’ Baseball, AV archives, and grief

Can I tell you how much this course is blowing my mind? It’s made me revisit so much of my previous scholarship, casting it in a much more positive light – I didn’t realize how much of my nervousness about my landscape research came out of being unsure how to position visual evidence – of course, everyone needs 18 months off their major research project to feel good about it. My first short report in the class, on Ken Burns’ Baseball, was the first thing I enjoyed writing in this program, and confirmed that baseball should continue all year round, so bad things don’t happen in the off-season…

p.s. I have kittens. As all of my previous cats have been named after streets in Los Angeles, I now have a cat named Vin Scully. Her sister’s name is Hope.

I spent an unexpected week off work watching the 18+ hours of Ken Burns’ Baseball, at first keeping it on in the background to temper the psychological shock of a sudden loss. I requested the DVDs from Toronto Public Library two weeks before, which arrived at my local branch out of order, so I watched them as such – moving from TV and couch cocoon to laptop in bed, its chronology folding in on itself as episodes doubled as distraction and sleep aid, with occasional notes tapped out on my phone in the dark. By the time I was able to watch the series in order, I had developed an understanding of Baseball as an archival assemblage, but entirely underestimated its power as a manifestation of American national myth, finding myself periodically moved to tears by its reverent reflections, and with my heart full of longing for the upcoming season. Continue Reading →