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Archive for the 'art' Category
Scram already, willya?
Why is extra credit so motivating for my students? I wonder if there’s any educational psychology literature on this? Readers who are in the know, please let me know. My students, whose class attendance and record of written assignments is mixed overall at best, will do just about anything so long as I call it extra credit! (Is it like getting a “free” appetizer or dessert with your dinner, or a dollar off your coffee after you have your loyalty card stamped ten times?)
Does this happen to any of you faculty and teacher-types out there? Continue Reading »
Well, well, well: fires are raging here in Colorado, and hellzapoppin’ everywhere else these days. Here are a few tidbits to keep you entertained today while I’m stuck in paper-grading hell. On a post last week that featured a new pair of shoes, a commenter asked if there were “shoes with manuscript-finishing powers?” Girl, there’s a shoe, or a boot, for every job. I’ve got these boots to inspire me to kick some a$$ and take names. That’s what they say about me, friends: Historiann really has a pair! (Of boots, duh!)
- Are your there, Judy Blume? It’s us, your perimenopausal fangirls. Anna Holmes’s writes a valentine to Judy Blume’s unforgettable adolescent protagonists: “Blume’s œuvre is filled with young female protagonists for whom boys, breasts, and sexual base-clearing are, if not irrelevant, sort of beside the point. In book after book, Blume gives us girls who have rejected the preciousness of childhood yet preserved the self-possession, ambition, and appetite for adventure that their peers and elders find in short supply. (‘What Mrs. Daniels didn’t know was that you could play with paper dolls like a baby or you could play with them in a very grown-up way, making up stories inside your head,’ reads one passage in ‘Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself.’) Contrast this with Blume’s exasperated, often derisive depiction of adult women—highly anxious, easily upset, overprotective, obsessed with outward appearances—and you begin to understand that what Blume is celebrating is that brief yet exhilarating time in a young girl’s life in which internal narratives take precedence over external attributes.” Yes. Don’t miss Holmes’s comments about the new e-book versions of Blume’s work, which totally undermines the way that the Blume books circulated in grade school back in the day: someone would bring in their dog-eared copy, and each girl would have one or two nights in which to devour it before passing it along to the next girl. Deenie. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. And the succes de scandale, Forever! (I never understood the appeal of Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Blume’s one foray into male adolescence. But that’s her only dog, in my view.)
- From the department of “oops!” Dahlia Lithwick called her shot last week about the Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act: Continue Reading »
I know that I promised around the New Year not to buy any more books. I’ve held to that promise, and have been pestering my subject-area librarian at Baa Ram U. with requests, as well as drawing heavily on our in-state library exchange system. It’s been fantastic to read, enjoy, and return the books I’ve been reading!
However, as I warned you, I might make an exception for books I find in used book shops and old junk stores, and I’m afraid that last Sunday I did buy a book, Alice of Old Vincennes by Maurice Thompson (Indianapolis: The Bowen-Merrell Company, 1900), which was a popular smash and among the top ten best-selling books of 1900 and 1901. I paid all of $4.50 for my first edition copy, although you can pay eight or nine times more for it online. (I love my old junk store haunts here in Northern Colorado!)
Who cares about some musty historical novel from the last century? I bought the book because it is a story build around the capture of Fort Vincennes (now Vincennes, Indiana) from the British in 1779 during the War of the American Revolution. Vincennes was originally a French fort, and the book purports to tell the story of a beautiful but willlful orphaned teenager named Alice who was adopted by a prominent French family at Vincennes. Of course, SPOILER ALERT, she turns out to have been originally an Anglo-American girl who as a child was taken captive by Indians before she was ”rescued” by the French family that raised her. In short, it’s a typical turn-of-the-twentieth-century set-piece of Colonial Revival romanticism that portrays the French and Indian presence in the Old Northwest as a charming but doomed relict of the past, and it comes complete with the dashing young Anglo-American military hero ready to sweep Alice off her feet and return her to life among English- speaking Protestants.
Why are you still reading this post? This is a post not so much about Alice of Old Vincennes as it is about the amazing power of the internets to elucidate and explain what otherwise would have been a long-forgotten historical novel that would interest few of us as a literary novel. Continue Reading »
Public Radio International’s This American Life last week was forced to retract a story they ran last January that drew heavily on a performance piece by Mike Daisey currently playing off-Broadway in New York. Ira Glass writes on the website:
I have difficult news. We’ve learned that Mike Daisey’s story about Apple in China – which we broadcast in January – contained significant fabrications. We’re retracting the story because we can’t vouch for its truth. This is not a story we commissioned. It was an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s acclaimed one-man show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which he talks about visiting a factory in China that makes iPhones and other Apple products.
The China correspondent for the public radio show Marketplace tracked down the interpreter that Daisey hired when he visited Shenzhen China. The interpreter disputed much of what Daisey has been saying on stage and on our show. On this week’s episode of This American Life, we will devote the entire hour to detailing the errors in “Mr. Daisey [and] the Apple Factory.”
Daisey lied to me and to This American Lifeproducer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast. That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.
We’re horrified to have let something like this onto public radio. Many dedicated reporters and editors – our friends and colleagues – have worked for years to build the reputation for accuracy and integrity that the journalism on public radio enjoys. It’s trusted by so many people for good reason. Our program adheres to the same journalistic standards as the other national shows, and in this case, we did not live up to those standards.
Glass and TAL did the right thing to retract this story and to devote last weekend’s entire show to correcting the record and to conducting a kind of on-air autopsy of what went wrong with TAL’s Daisey’s reporting and TAL’s fact checking. Continue Reading »