In December, 1967, John Updike was writing “Talk of the Town” for the New Yorker, and he spent most of that “Talk of the Town” column talking about the “Umbrella Man.” He said that his learning about the existence of the Umbrella Man made him speculate that in historical research, there may be a dimension similar to the quantum dimension in physical reality. If you put any event under a microscope, you will find a whole dimension of completely weird, incredible things going on. It’s as if there’s the macro level of historical research, where things sort of obey natural laws and usual things happen and unusual things don’t happen, and then there’s other level where everything is really weird.
My father sends me an awful lot of good stuff for blog ponderings. Far too long ago, he sent me a link to a New York Times video about the Umbrella Man. It’s a short film by Errol Morris, an interview with Josiah “Tink” Thompson, quoted above. He’s an academic-become-gumshoe, and while not all people agree with his methods or his madness, he raises curious questions, and I like people who raise curious questions.