Weekend Reading: What Do You Mean, It’s November? Edition

fallen maple leavesBetween mid-semester grading, the endgame of the election, and, more seriously, the ongoing effort to recover from Sandy, my nerves are pretty frayed. I hope that everyone out there has a good weekend, and that the realization that there’s almost certainly fewer than 6 weeks of semester left is more uplifting than terrifying!

On to this week’s links:

  • Tressie McMillan Cottom has launched an incredible two-week forum at The Feminist Wire on black (academic) women’s health. From her introduction: What would happen if we could speak, uncensored and without reprisal, on our own behalf? Would we remember what it is to be well, both in body and spirit? (It’s just a couple of days in, and this forum is already jaw-dropping. So many amazing/frustrating/inspirational stories.)
  • Friend-of-ProfHacker Jack Dougherty has a smart post on “How (and why) to evaluate student writing as blind-review”: My goal is to judge written expression on its own two feet, without being swayed by my impressions of students’ abilities from class discussions or other interactions. In their end-of-semester course evaluations, several students have praised this method for giving them what they believe is a fairer opportunity to succeed.
  • PF Anderson discusses “My Little Pony As An Agent of Culture Shift in Gender Identity”: The Brony phenomena is an utterly intriguing example of a commercial show explicitly designed for a particular audience (young girls) that has experienced the surprising result of going viral in a much broader audience. (This post is hard to excerpt well, because Anderson does a great job assembling her argument through quotes and videos and other references. Definitely worth a visit.)
  • Adrianne Jeffries has a fascinating interview with comics and science fiction hero Warren Ellis: Seriously, just take five minutes a day to make yourself look around. Just a couple of minutes to be where you are, take it in, and compare it to memories of ten, twenty years ago. I’m in the middle of writing a thing for Vice right now, and I opened it by talking about how we can measure the contemporary day by the things that have become absent. Things we perhaps only notice peripherally.
    For instance, here in Britain, the soundtrack of every single early morning (except Sundays) was the hum and crunch of a milk float. I don’t know if you had these in the States? Electric light vehicles stacked with crates of milk for doorstep delivery. Twenty years ago they were a permanent feature of the soundscape. Today they’re almost all gone, because home delivery got killed by cheap milk in supermarkets. So, if you’re of a certain age, there’s a gap in the ambient soundscape. That denotes futuricity (which may not be a word) just as strongly as the absence of great mountains of horseshit in our cities denoted a futuristic condition in the 1950s.
  • William Flesch explains “Set Theory for Poets / Poetry for Set Theorists” (via Jessa Crispin): Now this distinction between intension and extension is also a distinction between use and mention. The principle of membership of the two sets whose union forms R is first of all, that is to say, as a matter of poetic craft, a principle which mentions terms, i.e. selects them for the fact that they rhyme. (The rhyming dictionary mentions words: it doesn’t use them.) But the job of the poet is to take these mentioned words and use them, which means to say something with them and therefore something about the things they signify or refer to.

In this week’s video, The Onion sends up TED Talks (relatedly, see Mike Caulfield’s explanation of “How TED Culture Destroyed The World, Literally” [he isn't kidding]):

Bonus: “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity” a TEDx (!) talk by David Allen, author of Getting Things Done. Allen asks, “Are you adequately engaged with your cat?”

Bonus 2: Titus Andronicus have a swell new album, Local Business. The lead single is “In a Big City.”

Photo “Fallen Maple Leaves” by Flickr user loco’s photos / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0

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