Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Week in Links (1960s Remington Quiet-Riter Edition)

This looks like a hoot. So to speak. I want to visit before it closes:

Torah Animal World Museum in Brooklyn to Close Its Doors

I would fund this study:

On the Transfer of Skills Derived from Cat Ownership/Ownership by Cats to Academia

On some of the claims about the superlativity of Arabic:

Does Arabic have the most words? Don't believe the hype.


Nicholas Kristof wrote about why he's no longer going to be bylined as "Nicholas D. Kristof": "I think in the Internet age, the middle initial conveys a formality that is a bit of a barrier to our audience. It feels a bit ostentatious, even priggish. If my aim in my 20’s was gravitas, now I want to reach people and connect with them, and I wonder if the stuffiness of the middle initial isn’t a little off-putting." I have to admit that I like that writing and publishing with initials rather than my first name keeps a bit of distance between me and anyone who reads my work or is in touch with me professionally — and it does do that. But  he also points out that he (unlike me) isn't going to be confused with any other Nicholas Kristof:

What's Missing in My Byline?

Later in the day, he commented that more people had tweeted about his byline change than about the current state of child-trafficking in Haiti, the topic of his current reported columns and asked that anyone who tweeted about the former also tweet about the latter. So in that spirit:

A Girl's Escape


NPR did a story on Jewish food in Latin America, with links to some interesting cultural and culinary fusion blogs:

Cooing in a Latin-Jewish Melting Pot

Lime Chicken in Soup: A Mash-Up Tale
(This one includes the fabulously code-switchy phrase: "Ay, que balagán!")



In the last few weeks, I wrote posts about some of the problems I saw in the two big conversations in the academic Twitterverse: the one on trying to deal with structural racism in the classroom (which I've since taken down for a variety of reasons, so no link) and the other on the job market and the general state of the academy. Now somebody has gone and combined the worst of both in one convenient post, conflating them in such a way that it's pretty much equal-opportunity offensive. One blogger even deemed it, already on the first of January, to be the the worst blog post that would appear all year:

How The Tenured are to the Job Market as White People are to Racism

To be fair, the blogger apologized within the day. One thing that surprised me about how this played out was that the response to this piece was not just a huge big internet dogpile of outrage. People calmly and rationally explained what was wrong with the post and explained relevant terms and concepts rather than dismissing the poster with a "go educate yourself." (I have to admit I didn't follow this kerfuffle intensively, so it's possible that this was happening in certain corners, but I didn't see it where I was looking.) But the fact of the matter is that if there was a tops recently that deserved to be piled on and written off it was this one and not, say, Claire Potter's piece on why internet outrage maybe isn't hugely productive (see links in last week's roundup). And yet here, there was civil, rational discourse, thus proving that I will never understand the vicissitudes of the hive-mind of the internet. It was big of the blogger to apologize and to do so in a non-weasely manner, and unqualified apologies should always be forthcoming when they are needed; but at the same time and with human nature being what it is, I suspect the fact that she wasn't mocked onto her back foot made it a bit easier to do that without resorting to defensiveness:

The Problem With My Analogy

Can I just mention that I find the use of tenured as a noun, especially in its plural form, as grating on my ears as when GOP shills use the word Democrat as an adjective? It's doing the same thing, too, namely attempting to delegitimize an opponent seen as powerful through curious grammatical subterfuge. See the blogger's comment of 12/31 at 12:55am for the offending usage:

The Post-Academic's Guide to Academic Professionalism



"Erickson's songs form a mini-cycle of medieval Arab poems from Spain's Andalusia region dating from 900 to 1100 AD. Their poets -- with lapidary names like Ibn Hazm, Al-Asad Ibrahim Ibn Billitah from Toledo, Yusf Ibn Harun Al-Remedi from Cordoba, and Bakr Al-Tartushi from Eastern Andalusia -- are near-lost identities from Islam's Golden Age. (Erickson told me in a later telephone conversation that he discovered the obscure texts in a used-book store.)"

My fellow Americans: Just because a poet from another time, place, or literary-linguistic tradition was unfamiliar to you doesn't mean that his work was lost and needed you to rediscover it:


And this week on Twitter, medieval and modern mummery:

No comments:

Post a Comment