Welcome to Blood, Dirt & Angels

We cannot say that each man has his own particular taste, for that would be as much as to say that there is no taste whatever, that is no aesthetic judgment which can make a rightful claim on everyone’s assent. — Immanuel Kant

Philip Martin, author of Blood, Dirt & Angels

I’m your host, Philip Martin, and I’m a columnist and critic for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. I used to be a ballplayer and a songwriter, but for the past couple of decades I’ve made a living writing. I’ve been a sports editor and an investigative reporter, an alternative newspaper editor and now I’m a movie critic who writes about a wide variety of other things. 

This is a site about culture, the stuff that made some Nazis reach for their revolvers. (Or more precisely, their magazine-fed semi-automatic Brownings — the line is actually from the play Schlageter, by the Nazi poet laureate Hanns Johst.) It’s about movies and music and books and sports and food and drink whatever else attracts my thieving magpie eye. 

I plan to make this a kind of clearinghouse for interesting things that cross my desk or show up in my email. I plan to post lots of videos and MP3 files, to take advantage of the capabilities of online publishing. There will be links. There will be guest bloggers. I hope there will be comments. (Throw me something, mister.) 

But it’s my deal; my perspective — the perspective of a self-identified Southerner who still reads novels and likes baseball, dogs and punk rock music. I’m not going to start out by staking out parameters, I don’t know exactly where we’re going with this thing. But I’m driving. 

And while I’ll use this site to react to events happening near my home in Little Rock (as well as nationally and — why not? — globally) I want to stress this is not a calendar site, but a critical one. Which means it’s be a place for consideration, for thinking about the meanings of things, for tracing secret histories and speculating about how we might be changed through art. 

Maybe that sounds lofty. So be it. Aspiration is an important component; before you can do good work you have to want to do good work.  

Which kind of leads us to the name of this blog. I’m calling it Blood, Dirt and Angels because I like the sound of it, because it suggests the admixture of sacred and profane that marks some of the best American art. It’s two parts organic and one part transcendent: Of the body, of the place and of the spirit. 

Thanks for dropping by. Stick around a while, and come back when you can.