But to me, at least — and, yes, I acknowledge I’m at the age where I’m losing the battle to keep up with technology — the negatives outweigh the positives. So much on Twitter is frivolous or self-promotional. It can bury you in information. Because people often use Twitter to react to events instantly, they can say some awfully stupid things, as Roddy White, the Atlanta Falcons receiver, did after the George Zimmerman verdict, suggesting in a tweet that the jurors “should go home and kill themselves.”
With its 140-character limit, Twitter exacerbates our society-wide attention deficit disorder: Nothing can be allowed to take more than a few seconds to write or read. [Paul] Kedrosky may prefer Twitter, but I really miss his thoughtful blog. I recently heard Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, bragging that the pope now has a Twitter account. Once, popes wrote encyclicals; now they tweet.
What I object to most of all is that, like other forms of social media, Twitter can be so hateful. It can bring out the worst in people, giving them license to tweet things they would never say in real life. Continue Reading »
Archive for the 'bad language' Category
Via Echidne originally, I give you Geoffrey Miller, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of New Mexico, who tweeted before thinking twice, or even once, really. I kind of liked the first comment at Get Off My Internets, which reads “[w]ell, he’s in evo psych. Of course he’s a d!ckhead.”
Since when are academics concerned about appearance? Continue Reading »
Why is it that Libertarian “feminism” is only expressed as criticism of any kind of feminist activism? Take Cathy Young, for example–please! Here she instructs us that “letting ideologues dictate the boundaries of acceptable speech on a large area of the Internet is a very bad idea.” OK–that’s an interesting point, right? The problem is that the only “ideologues” in her column are feminists who object to online misogyny. She fails to identify online misogyny as ideological commitment, too.
First, she introduces the problem by using language that implies that it’s not online misogyny that threatens violence against actual women, but online feminism threatens violence against free speech, suggesting a false equivalence between the two points of view:
Feminist activists are on the warpath against Facebook, which, they claim, condones woman-hating even as it censors not only other hate speech but “indecent” images of breastfeeding mothers. When I was asked to discuss this initiative on HuffPost Live WebTV, I wasn’t sure where I stood. The examples collected by the activists—such as a photo of a bloodied woman captioned, “She broke my heart. I broke her nose”—are certainly repellent; the First Amendment is not at stake, since it’s a matter of private citizens using speech to pressure a corporation that already restricts content it deems offensive. Yet a closer look suggests that the real agenda in this campaign is to whip up outrage about our culture’s alleged misogyny and flex muscle that could be used to intimidate and curtail legitimate speech.
Got it? One group of people posts a photo of a bloodied woman with a violent caption, but that’s not the side that’s described as “on the warpath” against women. It’s the side critical of this use of Facebook that is “on the warpath” in their attempt to “whip up outrage” and “flex muscle”–to beat up violent misogynists? Continue Reading »
For a comment on a paper that I’m giving this afternoon, I needed to check a quotation from The Journal of John Winthrop, 1630-1649 (1996), edited by Richard Dunn, James Savage, and Laetitia Yeandle, the most recent and authoritative edition of Winthrop’s journals. I should have done this at home, as I own this 799 page doorstop of a book, but luckily I found that the relevant passage was available via Google books. Yay! Mission accomplished. Thanks, internets!
But wait: there are two online reviews of Winthrop’s journal, which I thought was pretty interesting as he’s been dead since 1649. “Imi” wrote, “Thank God we only have to read a small part of it for a lecture, because even those couple of pages were really boring. Continue Reading »
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 »
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:
- Evan Smith at Hatful of History has published a five-part series on what the Young Ones can teach us about Thatcherism. (Those of you who teach modern British history might want to take some cues from him on this–his posts are full of video links, which will entertain as well as inform your students!)
- Mouthy Broads Alert: Claire Messud calls bull$hit on questions about her characters’ “likability,” and Jamaica Kinkaid sounds off on the racism and sexism embedded in evaluations of her as an “angry” author. Meanwhile, not so coincidentally, Tenured Radical asks “Where are the Women at the NYRB?”
- Mouthy D00d Alert:Bitter Austerian Niall Ferguson says John Maynard Keynes advocated economic stimulus because he was “gay” and childless. Business Insider’s Henry Blodgett writes, “This is the first time we have heard a respectable academic tie another economist’s beliefs to his or her personal situation rather than his or her research. Saying that Keynes’ economic philosophy was based on him being childless would be like saying that Ferguson’s own economic philosophy is based on him being rich and famous and therefore not caring about the plight of poor unemployed people.“ (I’m sure this wasn’t the “first time” a “respectable academic” slagged another because of hir personal life, but whatever.) To his credit, Ferguson immediately apologized and retracted his statement, saying Continue Reading »
WHEN I dream about my father, as I do even though he has been dead for more than a quarter of a century, I always wake up when I hear the crunch of tires rolling over rock salt — an unmistakable sound evoking the winters of my Michigan childhood in the 1950s and early ’60s. Dad, an accountant, would pull his car out of our icy driveway and head for his office long before first light. This was tax season, and he could keep his business and our family financially afloat only by working 80-hour weeks.
You won’t find Bob Jacoby or his unglamorous middle-class, middle-income contemporaries in “Mad Men,” the AMC series beginning its sixth season on Sunday. If we are to believe the message of popular culture, the last men on top — who came of age during World War II or in the decade after it — ran the show at work, at home and in bed.
. . . . . .
Nearly all institutional power for 20 years after the war was indeed wielded by the war generation (and eventually by younger men born during the Depression). Yet a vast majority of men possessed limited power that could vanish swiftly if they committed the ultimate sin of failing to bring home a paycheck. Continue Reading »
Comrade PhysioProffe‘s post last week on Thomas Friedman’s puffery of MOOCs calls out MOOCs as a “class warfare scam,” and makes an interesting comparison of mass-produced MOOC education to mass-produced poor quality chain restaurant food:
The children of the wealthy will never, ever be subject to MOOC-based education, and the elite institutions they attend–who are perfectly happy to publish some courses on-line for free viewing by the public–will never, ever allow their students to take MOOCs for course credit. (Or if they do, they will be *extremely* restricted in the total number of MOOC credits they allow to count for major and graduation.) These kids are being prepared to be leaders and bosses of the poor mooks who are gonna be subject to MOOCs, so they need real education.
Just like the Tom Friedmans of the world don’t eat cheap greasy fattening nutrient-poor corporate swill at Denny’s, they don’t allow their kids to be subject to shitteasse greasy educational corporate swill like MOOCs.
Compare this to a speech by the resurrected William Howard Taft in Taft 2012, by Jason Heller, pp. 186-87: Continue Reading »
- No one cares what you learn in college, because Google!
- College professors have no certification that we can teach, and all we do is lecture at students who passively take notes, and then administer tests of their passive learning skills.
- Lecturing to 14,000 “with audience participation” is a terrific way to share knowledge.
I just love these experts in “disruptive innovation” who trash learning in college classrooms and lecture halls with 15, 40, or 125 students because “all professors do is lecture,” who then turn around and brag about how scalable their educational model is because–wait for it!–it’s based on lectures! To 14,000 people who swooned like bobby-soxers fainting for Frank Sinatra.
Continue Reading »