Archive for May, 2013

May 10th 2013
Friday funny: “Divisive gender and quota stuff” is all we do around here.

Posted under American history & art & Gender & happy endings & publication & women's history

Don’t miss the cameo by Elaine Showalter, who appears in this video to restage one of my favorite scenes in American film history. Comedy gold! (Via Sophylou at True Stories Backward.)


May 9th 2013
Evangelical media & the doctrinal politics of Christian book promotion

Posted under American history

Rod Dreher, the author of The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming, is puzzled by the lack of interest in the Evangelical protestant media and traditional Evangelical outlets in his book.  For those of you who haven’t heard about it, it’s both a autobiography as well as a biography of his sister, who died recently of cancer, and it reflects on his decision to leave behind small-town Louisiana for the big city, and his sister’s equally passionate embrace of small-town living and community-building.  Dreher, a former Catholic and current Orthodox church member, asks if his book is too “theologically incorrect” for Evangelicals to embrace (bolded parts emphasized by me):

Despite great reviews and an intensely positive reception from readers, The Little Way Of Ruthie Leming has not been widely covered in the mainstream media — with, of course, some notable exceptions, e.g., reviews in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, and a beautiful feature on NPR’s Morning Edition (if you haven’t heard it, wow, what are you waiting for?). The book has had no interest from television in the story, which is kind of mystifying, at least to me, given the nature of the story and its accessibility to a mainstream audience. But who knows how these things work? Wal-mart declined to stock Little Way, saying it wasn’t geared to their customers. Which is just bizarre to me, given that this is a book about finding true and lasting values in home and community, especially small-town community. But again, who knows how these things work?

I’ve been puzzled too by why Christian media hasn’t picked up on the book. True, Little Way got a rave endorsement from Evangelical superstar Eric Metaxas, and from the hugely popular Evangelical writer Ann Voskamp. Some Evangelicals objected to Wm. Paul Young’s The Shack, but it was a massive hit, and Young endorsed Little Way too. Additionally, Jake Meador gave it a great review in Christianity Todayin it, Jake made a case for why his fellow Evangelicals “need” to read this book – and Russell Moore, the top Southern Baptist leader, has recommended the book. That said, this deeply Christian book about faith, suffering, and redemption, hasn’t generally been taken up by Christian media. I’ve wondered why. Continue Reading »


May 8th 2013
Worst teachers ever.

Posted under American history & bad language & childhood & fluff & Gender & jobs & students & wankers & weirdness

Trying to avoid grading final exams? Slate offers a diversion with a feature called “What’s the worst thing a teacher ever said to you?”

The Slate writers had some pretty funny stories, usually involving teachers who were irritated about being corrected by their students, but the stories in the comments below are funnier. Check out the story of the kid who tried–and failed!–to convince his high school honors English teacher that Miguel Cervantes’s Don Quixote takes place in Spain instead of the Netherlands. (Because windmills–duh!) And the stories about not understanding a teacher’s thick Southern or New England accent are pretty funny too: what would you do if you were asked to lead your class “down yonder hill,” or if instructed to draw a picture of that cozy autumn ritual we know as a “barn fire?”

The worst thing I can remember was probably said by a student teacher in his late 20s Continue Reading »


May 6th 2013
Monday round-up: endless semester edition

Posted under American history & art & bad language & book reviews & European history & Gender & Intersectionality & jobs & race & the body & wankers & women's history

You’ve heard of The Endless Summer?  It sure seems to me like this is the Endless Semester.  Maybe it’s all of the snow and slush in April, but more than any other spring semester in recent memory, this one drags on and on.  While I’m desperately trying to lasso this semester and tie it up real good, here are some fun links and ideas to keep you diverted:


May 4th 2013
Just another occasion to feel entirely alienated from American culture and values

Posted under American history & class & jobs & students & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness

Baa Ram U. announced that tuition next year will increase by 9%, making the cost of one year at my university for Colorado residents the princely sum of $7,494.  Unfortunately, the Denver Post buried the lede in the final paragraph, in which the uni’s president notes that “‘If you’re the one writing the check for that $619 increase, that’s what you see, that you’re being forced to pay more money,’ [Tony] Frank said of [the tuition] hike. “That’s not abstract — but what people don’t see is how less of your taxes are being used to buy down the cost of that education.’”

No $hit, Fred.  And yet, we’re still treated to blathering by people–most of whose college degrees have at least 25 years’ worth of dust on them–who want the American people to question the value of a college education.  Moreover, these are in many cases the exact same people who have championed the disinvestment in higher education that started more than thirty years ago.

Interestingly enough, in the very same newspaper in which I read of this tuition increase, I learned from Ask Amy that the average price of a wedding in the United States is now $30,000.  If that number is anywhere near true, then I call bull$hit not just on the Bill Bennett’s of the world, but on the spending priorities of the American people.  Continue Reading »


May 1st 2013
Wring, wring go away, come again next February!

Posted under local news

The view on my street, 5:30 a.m. this morning.

This weather is getting really old.  The junior member of the firm invented a new word for the season we’re stuck in–wring, as in winter and spring mashed together.  I like the sense of fatigue and disgust inherent in the word wring–that’s about where most of us are in northern Colorado this morning.  The photo on the left is what my street looked like at 5:30 a.m., when I went out to get the newspaper.  The photo on the right (below) is the view outside my home office window. Continue Reading »


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