Browsing the archives for the Uncategorized category

How to Squeeze the Humanities 101: The Case of Mark Bauerlein

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(Crossposted at Arcade.) Mark Bauerlein–author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30) and Literary Theory: An Autopsy–recently released a widely discussed study called "Literary Research: Cost and Impacts" for the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. This short study concludes that […]

Alan Jacobs and the Rise of the Reading Class

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(Crossposted at Arcade.) In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education called "Why We Can’t Teach Students to Love Reading," Alan Jacobs argues that "’deep attention’ reading has always been and will always be a minority pursuit." The inevitable minority status of deep reading "has been obscured in the past half-century, especially in […]

William S. Burroughs’ Wild Ride with Scientology

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Over at io9 you can read a short article I wrote on William S. Burroughs’ relationship to Scientology. In 1959, the same year Olympia Press published his most famous novel Naked Lunch, the writer William S. Burroughs visited the restaurant of his friend and collaborator, Brion Gysin, in Tangiers. There, Burroughs met John and Mary […]

Biological Universals as Authenticity, or, What’s the Matter with Steven Pinker?

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(Crossposted at Arcade.) In a fascinating parable, “A Story In Two Parts, With An Ending Yet To Be Written,” posted on the National Humanities Center’s On the Human Web site, Paula Moya tells the tale of a researcher named Kitayama who travels from the land of Interdependence to the land of Independence, conducts research into […]

The End of Ideology (Critique)?

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(Crossposted at Arcade.) I. In The Sublime Object of Ideology, Slavoj Žižek famously lays out his analysis of claims that we* find ourselves in a postideological age. Žižek doesn’t exactly mean “postideological” in the sense of Daniel Bell or Francis Fukuyama. For Bell or Fukuyama, postideology is characterized by the rise of technocracy, the transformation of […]

13 Ways of Looking at “Pac-Man”

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(Crossposted at Arcade.) January was apparently Andrew Ross month over at Dissent.  Two articles, Jeffrey J. Williams’s “How to be an Intellectual: The Cases of Richard Rorty and Andrew Ross” (in the Winter 2011 issue of the magazine) and Kevin Mattson’s “Cult Stud Mugged” (an online original), track Ross’s evolution from a so-called cult-stud into someone […]

The Postironic Art of Charlie Kaufman

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(Crossposted from Arcade.) I’d like to point my loyal readers to the amazing introduction Charlie Kaufman wrote for Synecdoche, New York: The Shooting Script, which is available over at The Rumpus. I would summarize the introduction and analyze it — I am almost unable to resist the temptation — but to do so would ruin the […]

Infinite Summer and New Models of Online Scholarship

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(Crossposted at Arcade.) I’d like to use my bloggy pulpit to draw your attention to a draft of Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s essay, “Infinite Summer: Reading the Social Network,” which discusses the origin and signifiance of an online effort to read Infinite Jest the summer after David Foster Wallace’s suicide. This essay is destined to become part […]

The Xtranormal Future of the Humanities

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(Crossposted at Arcade.) In the spirit of continuing the conversation we have been having on Arcade about Stanley Fish, the recent axing of French, Italian, classics, Russian, and theatre at SUNY Albany, and the future of the humanities, I’d like to present this video (h/t Mark Vega). This is a video created using "xtranormal," a […]

Op-Ed Preview: WikiLeaks vs. Top Secret America

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My satirical political novel "Pop Apocalypse" presents a future world in which the U.S. goes on an invasion spree around the world. Among other places, I had my fictional U.S. invade Iceland. It seemed like a great gag: Why would the U.S. want to invade a tiny country of 250,000 people in the Arctic Circle […]