By: Joshua Glenn
September 29, 2023

To idle is to work on meaningful and varied projects — and to take it easy. The title of the series refers to this self-proclaimed idler’s inability to take it easy.

HILOBROW is a noncommercial blog! The info below should not be construed as a vulgar advertisement for SEMIOVOX, MIT Press’s RADIUM AGE series, SEMIOFEST SESSIONS, GO WEST, or any of my other more-or-less profitable projects. It is merely an update on my doings and undoings — in this case, during 3Q2023.

MORE HYPOCRISY: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 1Q2024 | 2Q2024 | 3Q2024.

Also see: HILOBROW 3Q2023.


I’m editor of the MIT Press’s RADIUM AGE proto-sf reissue series, which launched in 2022. For a full update on recent developments, please see the post RADIUM AGE 3Q2023. Here, I’ll just mention a few highlights.

During 3Q2023, the following titles hit bookstore shelves:

  • G.K. Chesterton’s THE NAPOLEON OF NOTTING HILL (1904), with a new introduction by Madeline Ashby. “Unquestionably a satirical masterpiece.” — Michael D. Gordin, Los Angeles Review of Books. See this title at the MIT Press website.
  • MORE VOICES FROM THE RADIUM AGE, edited and introduced by Joshua Glenn. “These stories are sharp and relevant, addressing issues including climate change, women’s equality, advanced technologies, parallel universes, and dystopian societies.” — Foreword. See this title at the MIT Press website.
  • William Hope Hodgson’s THE NIGHT LAND (1912), with a new introduction by Erik Davis. “Hodgson was clearly an inspiration for generations of writers such as H. P. Lovecraft, who learned a thing or two about hideous monsters from texts like this one.” — Michael D. Gordin, Los Angeles Review of Books. See this title at the MIT Press website.

For press on these titles, please see the GOOD VIBRATIONS section below.

RADIUM AGE SERIES UPDATES: 2022 | 2023 | 1Q2024 | 2Q2024 | 3Q2024. FULL SERIES INFO.


Josh conducting research in the field.

I’m cofounder of the semiotics-fueled consultancy SEMIOVOX. Our methodology provides insight and inspiration — to brand and organization strategy, marketing, design, innovation, and consumer insights teams, as well as to their agency partners — regarding the unspoken local/global “codes” that help shape perceptions of and guide behavior within product categories and/or sociocultural territories.

During 3Q2023, our projects included the following.

  • On behalf of the number-one selling brand of Champagne in the domestic French market, we conducted the US portion of a global audit of Champagne category codes, themes, and paradigms — as surfaced through analysis of packaging, marketing, and other communications. Via a French agency.

Also see: SEMIOVOX 3Q2023.


This semester, Monica Nelson and I are responsible for two sections of GRADUATE THESIS MAPPING & NARRATIVE I in the Rhode Island School of Design’s MID (Master of Industrial Design) program. Here’s my faculty page.

How did this happen? This past March, RISD ID professor Tom Weis invited me as a guest critic to his Graduate Introduction to Industrial Design class — one theme of which, LOST OBJECTS, was inspired by my (and Rob Walker’s) 2022 book of that title. From there, one thing led to another….


HILOBROW is published by King Mixer LLC; I’m the editor. To see everything that we’ve published during 3Q2023, please check out the HILOBROW 3Q2023 post. Here, I’ll just mention a couple of things…

Illustration for HILOBROW by Bishakh Som. Click for larger version.

CURVE YOUR ENTHUSIASM is a series of 25 enthusiastic posts, contributed by 25 HILOBROW friends and regulars, on the topic of reconsidered passions, reassessed hates, and reversed feelings everywhere in-between. Here’s a sampling of the lineup:

Tom Nealon on PIZZA PURISM | Holly Interlandi on BOY BANDS | Heather Quinlan on THE ’86 METS | Whitney Matheson on THE SMITHS | Bishakh Som on SUMMER.

Adam McGovern is the CURVE YOUR ENTHUSIASM editor. He is very grateful to the series’ contributors, many of whom donated their honoraria to Covenant House, which provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness.


I invented the grunge look in elementary school

TEN STAGES OF MAN elaborates on my human-development hypothesis of that title — as first floated here at HILOBROW in January. Here’s the 3Q2023 lineup:



To see my other solo HILOBROW series and posts from 3Q2023, please check out the WRITING (HILOBROW) section of this post; to see what’s coming up soon, please see the post 4Q2023 SNEAK PEEK.


SEMIOVOX, my branding consultancy’s eponymous website, is published by SEMIOVOX LLC; I’m the editor. For a full update on what we’ve published recently, please see the post SEMIOVOX 3Q2023. Here, I’ll just mention a few highlights.

The MAKING SENSE WITH… series of Q&As is dedicated to understanding what makes semioticians tick. Here are a few examples of the 3Q2023 lineup:



London’s Barbican Launderette

COLOR CODEX explores the unexpected associations evoked for us by specific colors found in the material world. Here are a few examples of the 3Q2023 lineup:

Rachel Lawes (England) on DEVIL GREEN | Greg Rowland (England) on LAUNDROMAT FUTURA | Josh Glenn (USA) on TOLKIEN GREEN | Vijay Parthasarathy (USA) on ALPHONSO YELLOW | Sarah Johnson (Canada) on ARMY GREEN.


I’m coordinator for SEMIOFEST SESSIONS, a monthly online get-together intended not only to share best practices among, but to nurture collegiality and friendship within the global semio community.

For a full update on recent Semiofest Sessions, please see the post SEMIOVOX 3Q2023. Here’s one example of the recent lineup:

    JULY: READING CULTURE: NEW METHODS, featuring Mariane Cara, Joshua Glenn, and Hamsini Shivakumar. Sociologists and anthropologists are recognized for their ability to identify and analyze complex cultural norms and forms… but semioticians aren’t. We’ve convened a show-and-tell session in which three commercial semioticians will share new semiotics-driven methodologies they’ve developed for “reading” culture.

Forthcoming sessions have been scheduled through the end of the year.


During 3Q2023, I contributed the following solo HILOBROW series and posts.

Squeak the Mouse

I wrapped up MOUSE, which surveys 20th-century pop-culture mice. Here’s the 3Q2023 lineup:

POST-MICKEY MICE (1964–1973) | POST-MICKEY MICE (1974–1983) | POST-MICKEY MICE (1984–1993) | POST-MICKEY MICE (1994–2003).


SEMIOPUNK is dedicated to surfacing examples (and predecessors) of the sf subgenre that HILOBROW was the first to name “semiopunk.” The 3Q2023 lineup includes:



FOOTLOOSE installment in the series CURVE YOUR ENTHUSIASM. Excerpt: “One of the revelations of rewatching Footloose was my realization that John Lithgow’s preacher character is, if not quite sympathetic, at least far more nuanced and self-aware than I’d remembered. This sort of conservative, amenable to persuasion by a spiky-haired teen armed with subversive Bible quotes, has gone extinct, whereas Roger and Eleanor Dunbar, the Stepford-esque kooks who go from book-banning to book-burning, are running shit now.”




At the invitation of Nick Rombes, I wrote an installment (pub. Sept. 3) — on Three Days of the Condor — in the MINUTE 9 series for the “irreverently highbrow” online literary journal 3:AM. Excerpt:

Forever late to work, Turner prefers — like Bartleby the Scrivener — not to become a smoothly functioning cog in a mechanism that he perceives as alienating.


For SEMIOVOX, I contributed an installment — on the subject of TOLKIEN GREEN — to the series COLOR CODEX. Excerpt:

I was transfixed! Not merely by Remington’s lurid, far-out artwork, but by Tolkien’s stern statement on the book’s back covers. The statement, any sort of context for the appreciation of which I utterly lacked until recently, was less impressive to me than the author’s runic, Gandalf-ish signature. All of which was framed in a rectangle of a bright greenish yellow, or yellowish green — barberry yellow? golden gun? — let’s call it “Tolkien green.”


In July, The Boston Globe‘s IDEAS section devoted a full page to running excerpts from three stories collected in MORE VOICES FROM THE RADIUM AGE, along with a few contextualizing remarks on each story from yours truly.


On August 7, LitHub published a version of my introduction to More Voices from the Radium Age.


Getting the word out, during 3Q2023…


For a full update on recent Radium Age publicity, please see the post RADIUM AGE 3Q2023. Here are a few examples:

    Readercon, July 2023

  • In July, I moderated three panels at Readercon — an sf convention held every summer in the Boston area.
  • Michael D. Gordin wrote a long piece about the Radium Age series (“lovingly curated by Joshua Glenn”) for the Los Angeles Review of Books.
  • Foreword‘s THIS WEEK newsletter published an interview with me about the Radium Age series.
  • I was interviewed by Arley Sorg for the August issue of the sf/f magazine Clarkesworld.


For a full update on recent Lost Objects publicity, please see the post LOST OBJECTS 3Q2023. Here’s one example:

    Setting up the Hat & Beard Press booth at San Francisco Art Book Fair

  • From July 13–16, Hat & Beard Press was at the San Francisco Art Book Fair. You can see LOST OBJECTS on display here, as well as the LOST OBJECTS posters on the wall… Nice!

LOST OBJECTS updates: 2022 | 2023.


  • Michael Brendan Dougherty, a senior writer at National Review Online, had the following to say about himself in July. In response to a question about whether his traditionalist views and his antiquarian interests were related, he said:

    Almost a decade ago, at the website HiLoBrow, Joshua Glenn tried to describe more-finely graded “generations” and described the 1978–82 cohort as the “Revivalists.” He nailed me: To progressive older Americans, the Revivalists’ marked lack of ironic distance from received cultural forms is worrisome. Ironic OGXers and PCers mix and match fragments of received cultural forms, which sometimes results in works of great originality, and sometimes (e.g., Ben Stiller’s brand of comedy) simply means freshening up reheated entertainments with air quotes. But members of the 1974–82 cohort simply dig the past….

    The post to which Dougherty refers is here. I first wrote about my generational schema for the Boston Globe‘s BRAINAIC blog in 2007, then took another crack at it for HILOBROW in 2010.


I continue to oversee operations at GO WEST, the coworking space that I cofounded in Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood.


In July, Susan and I spent a few glorious days in New Hampshire. So did Tito… who is camouflaged in this photo.


We were in Boston during most of August. It was a good place to be, this summer! Shown above: Swimming at World’s End (Hingham, Mass.) with Matthew Battles and Nala.

In late August, we spent an enjoyable few days in and around Ridgewood, Queens with Max.


From September 10–15, Susan and I bicycled from Innsbruck to Bolzano — with a visit to Munich too. Shown here: Merano.


On to 4Q2023…

MORE HYPOCRISY: 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023 | 1Q2024 | 2Q2024 | 3Q2024.


About Josh, Idleness