(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 [...]
(Crossposted at ARCADE.) Gavin Miller has a written a fascinating article,"The Apathetic Fallacy," in the April 2010 issue of Philosophy and Literature. Following up on the arguments made by Steven Knapp and Walter Benn Michaels in "Against Theory," Miller argues that the humanities are plagued by a wide-ranging -- and harmful -- taboo against speaking [...]
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 [...]
(Crossposted at Arcade.) Mark McGurl's The Program Era ends with an insightful reflection on the problem of "scale" in literary study -- our almost automatic assumption that we must always scale up the stakes of literary study in order to argue for our relevance. Bigger, we commonly assume, is better, and will garner for us [...]
(Crossposted at Arcade.) As Cecile Alduy points out in a recent ARCADE post, bad writing is far too common in literary criticism, which is surprising given the degree to which we are supposed to be attentive students of language and style. Cecile's post has gotten me thinking, Why do we write so badly? This badness [...]
Over at When Falls the Coliseum -- a "journal of American culture [of lack thereof]" -- Alex Kudera interviews your truly. We discussed politics, literature, and doppelgangers, not necessarily in that order. Check it out.
(Crossposted at Arcade.) Ian McEwan’s Solar (2010) has received mixed reviews, and for good reason. It’s a novel that starts with remarkable strength. Unlike Adam Roberts, over at The Valve, I found the novel's Arctic penis-freezing-and-possible-castration set piece somewhat funny, in a South Parkish sort of way; although I must, only somewhat proudly, admit to [...]
(Crossposted at Arcade.) What does it mean to own a community?This is something like the central question motivating a fascinating talk by Richard Nash, former head of Soft Skull Press and founder of Cursor, a reading start-up that promises to "[t]ransform the social contract of publishing by restoring the writer-reader relationship to its true equilibrium," [...]
It has taken a while, largely due to my laziness, but I've finally found a way to restore the blog postings that got lost in the shuffle when my site was hacked back around December. Their formatting's a bit wonky, but the old posts are back. Enjoy.
(Crossposted at Arcade.) At the risk of self-contradiction, I want to draw attention to a recent "Room for Debate" in the New York Times. Gathering together a number of critics, including Stanford's very own Blakey Vermeule, the Times asks: A recent Times article described the use of neurological research and cognitive science in the field of [...]