Archive for the ‘Nonfiction’ Category

Poets Off Poetry
March 30, 2008

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 This Recording

Thanks to Jackie Clark for inviting me to participate in the ten part Poets Off Poetry series.

My contribution, “Fed You From The Blood of My Nose: A Medley Melodic,” appears under the heading, “In Which Nearly Every Human Knows This Desire.”

Lots of links to music you might enjoy, and I hope you do …

~~~

p.s. Ana B. had an interesting dream, and Seth A. has an interesting take …

~~~

  1. Jim K. Says:
    March 7th, 2008 at 11:45 am eSome great links,
    but a lot are broken
    (from that pub).
  2. Amy King Says:
    March 7th, 2008 at 10:00 pm eA few were fixed — I hope not too many broken remain.

    That’s a poem, no?

    Thanks for visiting the site, Jim!

    A

  3. Jim K. Says:
    March 7th, 2008 at 11:20 pm eSometimes
    the load makes
    the site drop links.

    Not intentionally poetic.

    At philosophy forums,
    handyman sites,
    and radio reviews,
    I am accused of
    poetry due to my
    linebreaks.

    Now you.
    I give up ;-)

  4. Jim K. Says:
    March 7th, 2008 at 11:21 pm egood bonnie!
  5. Amy King Says:
    March 8th, 2008 at 6:39 pm eFunny how line breaks can make music!

Small Presses and Big Politics
March 29, 2008

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1. Go on and support Small Press Distribution if you have money to spare. My most recent is available now.

2. One speculative equation regarding “How Clinton Won“:

“Hillary Clinton won last night by putting together the voting coalition that has held Democratic frontrunners in good stead for 75 years. Take a look at these numbers – all of which come from CNN’s cross-tabulated exit polls. What you’ll see is that Hillary Clinton won many elements of the traditional FDR coalition.”

Click on RealClearPolitics for the numbers.

“Obama, on the other hand, had a very different electorate – one that has a bit in common with the insurgent candidacies of Gary Hart and Bill Bradley.”

Click on RealClearPolitics for that equation too.

3. From Judith Warner’s OpEd at The New York Times:

Could she “relate” to Clinton? Was she likely to find a “friend” in a woman with a camera-ready helmet of hair? Could she learn from Hillary? Could they share beauty tips? Would her gesture toward female bonding be well-received and perhaps met with the kind of positive mirroring of which Best Friendships Forever are made? …

It’s all about how you make voters feel.

Feeling – not thinking – becomes all-important when you have a field of candidates who aren’t really all that different from one another politically…

–Judith Warner, “Emotion Without Thought in New Hampshire

4. Reminds me of my current bedside reading, THE POLITICAL BRAIN, by Drew Westen:

“In politics, when reason and emotion collide, emotion invariably wins. Elections are decided in the marketplace of emotions, a marketplace filled with values, images, analogies, moral sentiments, and moving oratory, in which logic plays only a supporting role. Westen shows, through a whistle-stop journey through the evolution of the passionate brain and a bravura tour through fifty years of American presidential and national elections, why campaigns succeed and fail. The evidence is overwhelming that three things determine how people vote, in this order: their feelings toward the parties and their principles, their feelings toward the candidates, and, if they haven’t decided by then, their feelings toward the candidates’ policy positions.

Westen turns conventional political analyses on their head, suggesting that the question for Democratic politics isn’t so much about moving to the right or the left but about moving the electorate.”

–Drew Westen, THE POLITICAL BRAIN

~~~~

2 Responses to “Small Presses and Big Politics”

  1. T Says:
    January 12th, 2008 at 12:03 am enice little rundown. still can’t get worked up over this election yet though
  2. Jim K. Says:
    January 13th, 2008 at 1:12 am eA factor doesn’t do much unless a lack
    of it was a special problem. Either happy
    or sad would have cracked it. Too logical
    and you are “inhuman”. Too emotional
    and you are “weak”. There is some magical
    ideal nobody knows until it’s stepped on.
    Pundits overdramatize. It’s their job to
    push buttons. The news that the choices
    weren’t disgusting is no news.

Analysis 101
March 27, 2008

Many of my students are required to watch the above youtube video, “A Girl Like Me”, among numerous others, as part of their supplemental assignments in my courses. Basically, I try to get them to begin analyzing by using the mediums they are most accustomed to, which include youtube and showing dvds of popular media in class. Some resist — these are the students who equate growing up in the “Information Age” with “knowing it all”. “Why do we have to ask so many questions?” And then there are the other students who suspect that they have inherited their belief systems from their parents and mainstream media and are longing for permission to question those values, especially as they become aware of the absence of a historical context for how those values came about. I aim to enable.

The video below, Ciara’s “Like a Boy”, is not assigned viewing; I expect they will have seen that one on their own. But the video did resonate with some recent comments Gloria Steinem made at Mill’s College last March. What follows are a few paragraphs I’ve excerpted from an article in the latest Curve Magazine, “Gloria Steinem’s Two Cents”, about her visit there.

~~

–from “Gloria Steinem’s Two Cents” in Curve Magazine

The 73-year-old former editor and founder of Ms. magazine joked about her undercover work as a Playboy Bunny for a labor expose in 1963, saying that she is still introduced as a former Bunny and would not do it again. She added that while it was not a great career move, it was a feminist step forward. Steinem said that a story she would try to get out today is of sexual and labor slavery, which is “more numerous in form in relation to the current population and the world than it was in the 1800s.” She says that these forms of slavery are much larger, more damaging and more profitable than the drugs and arms industries.

On the greater number of women who attend college today as an indication of living in “the best of times,” Steinem responded that the numbers partially reflect women who are now in college because they weren’t able to attend before. The audience responded with mumbles when Steinem added, “There are all these studies that show, like the famous valedictorian study, that women’s self-esteem goes down with every additional year of higher education–because we are essentially studying our absence. It took me over 20 years to get over my college education. I don’t think we can make easy assumptions.”

Steinem also took Mills to task for their own survey, in which its students (all female) revealed their regard for feminism as an “elitist movement, that it only represented white upper- and middle-class and largely heterosexual women.” Steinem argued the opposite: “The women’s movement is factually, actually, the most inclusive from every point of view– from race, class, sexuality, ethnicity, language –movement that this country has ever seen,” she stated, remembering the 1977 National Women’s Conference. “[It] was probably the only truly representative national political meeting the country has ever seen. In 1977.” Furthermore, Steinem argued that to label feminism a white, elitist and exclusive movement “wipes out the history of women of color who have been the pioneers of the women’s movement always.”

Dr. Candace Falk, director of the Emma Goldman Papers Project, about the radical first-wave feminist, at UC Berkeley, said, “What I think is very interesting about [Steinem] is her ability to listen and to change, and to become one with her political analysis, and her sexual analysis, and her understanding of the world, of hierarchies, of capitalism–of all the ways in which things converge to put women in the lesser place–but also have a larger view of a kind of world that would include all of us.”

–from “Gloria Steinem’s Two Cents” in Curve Magazine

5 Responses to “Analysis 101”

  1. Mr. Horton Says:
    August 9th, 2007 at 2:03 am eThanks for “Girl Like Me.” Very powerful stuff.
  2. Jim K. Says:
    August 9th, 2007 at 5:27 am eGreat to have just for looking.
    YouTube is getting to be a key resource!
    There really ought to be a YouTube//Lib. Of Congress
    project. Or someone. Buying up rights if necessary.
  3. Emmanuel Sigauke Says:
    August 9th, 2007 at 4:16 pm eI started using YouTube in class this summer and what an amazing resource! Most of my students used it as a tool to present on their research projects, and that worked for a summer writing class.
  4. Nic Sebastian Says:
    August 9th, 2007 at 9:09 pm eGot a great kick out of both videos — thanks!
  5. Amy King Says:
    August 10th, 2007 at 4:08 pm eWelcomes all around!

Graduation Day Adjustments
March 23, 2008

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Caution: the following excerpts do not do justice to the scope and magnitude of David Foster Wallace’s very practical advice to liberal arts graduates and the rest of us. Please feel free to click on the link and read his proposition in its entirety:

Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed. […]

And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let’s get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what “day in day out” really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I’m talking about. […]

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. […]

This, I submit, is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

….Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

…The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. […]

No Responses to “Graduation Day Adjustments”

  1. Walter Brown Says:
    May 18th, 2006 at 12:27 am eI just attened a graduation…and the speech was inspiring.

    I left the link of the text

    http://monticohort1.blogspot.com/2006/05/small-honors.html

  2. Aimee aka Lattegrrl or Queen of wrestling tight jeans Says:
    May 25th, 2006 at 6:32 pm eWow, that was pretty great. “Teaching you to think” is something I heard over and over again in college and I really believed in it, but then the “day in day out” grabbed hold of me. living consciously is really hard and how do we practice it without a buddhist monk?