home cooked theory

productivity outside the enterprise

A story about code

In The Victorian Internet, Tom Standage tells the story of F. B. Morse, inventor of the Morse code, whose wife Lucretia ‘died suddenly at their home in New Haven, Connecticut on the afternoon of Feb 7, 1825.’ Away on business, Morse remained oblivious: “I long to hear from you,” he wrote on February 10, at […]

On writing/life

When you are deep in a book, it’s my experience that you check out of life a little; to others you look like you’re there, but you’re never completely present. You try talking, but you can’t quite tune in; you try listening to people, but you can’t quite concentrate. You’re working harder than ever, but […]

Women and work in Australia – notes

The following notes and links are from reading Elizabeth Windschuttle (ed) Women, Class and History: Feminist Perspectives on Australia 1788-1978, Fontana Press, Melbourne, 1980 Ray Markey, ‘Women and Labour, 1880-1900’ (83- 111) Louisa Lawson – the Dawn Club: demanded economic and social equality (The Dawn newspaper now archived online thanks to this successful campaign; more […]

What can we learn from TV work? Below the line (II)

The significance of Mayer’s book is not just the challenge it issues television studies. On this front, the careful and sympathetic details in its judicious case studies illustrate the potential for the field if it opens its analytic lens. If it is to mean anything, production studies cannot only be satisfied with better accounts of […]

Below the line – notes (I)

I keep meaning to post notes from all the books I’m reading on sabbatical… but there are so many of them it seems pointless and overwhelming, not to mention compromising. Too many notes will doubtless reveal the depths of my scholarly obsessiveness, left unchecked. I once went to a radical kinesiologist who said that my […]

Work smarter – when you have a job at all

If you see an example of the phrase ‘work smarter, not harder’ anywhere in your travels, can you send me a pic? This one from The Mercury’s latest special feature got me thinking. According to the figures, Tasmania is in recession – so the local paper is publishing a series of opinion pieces to generate […]

Gideon Haigh’s The Office

After months of reading, I recently finished The Office: A Hardworking History by Gideon Haigh. The title is in many ways performative. At just over 600 pages, the volume’s weight makes it formidable labour. But it is worth it. This is a staggering work of scholarship. With its US release imminent, it should become the […]


From the outset I was very precise and definite in my expectations. I did not want to be an engine driver or a famous explorer. When I peered wishfully through the mists from the all too real then to the blissfully imagined now, this is, as I have said, exactly how I would have foreseen […]


Here are some finds from my amazing trip to Imperial Books this week. I am definitely in Hobart now: when the owner saw how many books I was buying, he gave me a discount and offered to walk me home carrying them. On our wander down Collins St I was sad to learn that the […]

Cruel Optimism (I)

the object of cruel optimism… appears as the thing within any object to which one passes one’s fantasy of sovereignty for safe-keeping. In cruel optimism the subject or community turns its treasured attachments into safety-deposit objects that make it possible to bear sovereignty through its distribution, the energy of feeling relational, general, reciprocal, and accumulative. […]

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