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January 19, 2007
I read Scott McLemee’s column on clutter yesterday in my office. Administrators refer to the room as the Adjunct Ghetto (we share it with TAs), and the decrepitude and overcrowding are manifestations of our status. Think of scenes from Titanic where poor but life-loving immigrants huddle in steerage. It’s like that, without hope for drinking, cavorting, or baring your bad teeth in a lecherous grin at Kate Winslet.
January 18, 2007
I don't know what that means, but they tell me the kids these days are all crazy for it.
January 16, 2007
Having just returned from an academic conference, I know the rigors of professional travel. I boarded the plane in Philly and saw my former boss seated far down the aisle. He snickered when I shuffled close enough to see for myself that I was next to a young father with a toddler in his lap.
January 14, 2007
When's the last time you listened to the entire "I Have a Dream" speech?
January 12, 2007
Half-baked thoughts, then, toward an AWP presentation that won’t be:Jokes, the good Dr. Freud said famously, are often “hostile.” (That, or obscene: the jokes of “exposure.”) Aggressiveness, satire, and defense belong to the “hostile” camp, and I’m interested in how sharp-edged jokes are used to cut the threat of physical violence. My idea is that satire, if that’s what I’m talking about here, pretends to embrace the values and rules of a given situation, then takes them too far (by a step or a mile), producing a backlash against the original situation.
January 11, 2007
I tried to put a panel session together for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference in Atlanta this spring.
January 9, 2007
Once there was a writer for one of America's biggest catalog companies. Perhaps because the young man was a veteran, because he showed up for work, met his deadlines, and wore trendy J.C.
January 5, 2007
A film corollary to my last post, about bad books:The media always reports on how emotionally hard the holidays can be, even while showing consumers joyously throwing their paychecks to grinning Macy’s clerks.
January 4, 2007
One of the drawbacks of being in the English Department of a big research university is the climate of machismo. It takes several forms, but it’s especially evident in the way people posture over what they’ve read: Been there, done that.
January 2, 2007
Some experiences don’t last long enough for satisfaction. You know what I’m talking about—cream soda numbs the tongue to its own silky sweetness, so you get a couple of tasty sips, then nothing, and the more you drink, the more bloated you feel. It’s a steep parabola on a graph with pleasure as its x-axis and time on the y-axis.Pure unending pleasure, on the other hand, is unimaginable. What if semesters never ended, and we could grade freshman papers through eternity? The graph would be a nearly horizontal line; the bliss would destroy us.



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