The University of Michigan Press is going all-digital, baby.  Does this make you more or less likely to seek out UMP as a publisher?  I get the economic argument–but what kind of history authors in particular is this move going to attract?  Given how status-conscious publishers are–and how relatively sought-after historians are after they’ve published a book already–I just don’t see too many second- or third-time authors agreeing to have their books published digitally.

Speaking as a reader–I spend enough time in front of glowing screens as it is.  I’ve consulted some on-line books close to my own research, but I can’t say that I’ve “read” them.  And, having a shelf of “books” printed out from the internets–that just sounds messy and unappealing.

Weekend Funnies

totusThis is hillarious:  Barack Obama’s Teleprompter has a blog, and you’d better believe that TOTUS has a lot to say (via Corrente.)  For example, TOTUS answers readers’ questions:

Teleprompter, have you ever thought about helping Secretary Geithner, or do you work for just one person?

No, I am a one-man machine. And while I’m beginning to have some self-doubt about the way the Big O and I are working, do you really think I could make a lick of difference with Timmah? What Tim Terrific (the Big Guy’s nickname for him) needs is a time machine with “way back” capabilities, which would allow the rest of us to direct him on career paths that we now realize he has the talents for, like, teaching macramé at a small Midwestern women’s college or perhaps working as a salesman at a lemonade stand managed by a seven-year-old.

In other words, no piece of equipment in existence today could help this man.

And, TOTUS says that ” Vice President Biden is the smartest person in the Administration. Seriously.”

What of the unfortunate off-the-cuff remark about the Special Olympics on The Tonight Show the other night? Continue reading

A l'Agrandissement du Temps Perdu*

caryatid*Or, On the Enlargement of Things Lost.

In an essay about breast reconstruction after a double mastectomy, “Replacing Things Lost,” Amy DePaul offers a fascinating glimpse into the technology of breast reconstruction and the cultural expectations that go with it.  She writes that in her first meeting with the plastic surgeon, he asked her, “What is your current bra and cup size, and what would you like to move up to?” as though it were self-evident that she would want to emerge Phoenix-like from a mastectomy with larger breasts:

No, I thought. No, he didn’t just imply that I am an obvious candidate for breast augmentation, though some might argue that I was. I looked at my doctor and then my husband, both of whom studiously avoided eye contact with me. . . .

I finally managed to stammer a response to the bra inquiry (“It’s 34, um, A”) and said that no, I’d pass on the augmentation. My answer seemed to surprise my doctor (“Oh” was all he could say at first), and then he mentioned that I might want to mull this matter some more and perhaps confer with my husband on the decision. But my mind was pretty much made up that day in the office. The inescapable fact is that I resist any attempts by others to “improve” me. My husband, for the record, never tried to talk me into augmenting. He is a very intelligent man. Continue reading

"Barbie's Campus" is probably a lot like yours

Remember when most college students went to college to learn?  Yeah, me neither.  Erica at the good old days sent me some Barbie links, and lookee here what I found, ca. 1964 (via Found in Mom’s Basement).  Erica is not a historian, but she’s led me to some images that perfectly embody the current historiography on American college life in the twentieth century, with its emphasis on good times and heterosociality:


Check out the matching bedspreads in Barbie’s dorm!  She and her roommate (Midge?) must have coordinated their decor carefully.  (Click to enlarge!)  The advertising copy for Barbie’s Campus promises “four true to life campus scenes in one cardboard unit!”  Here are the other three:  Continue reading

CU(e) the sideshow clowns

sadclownI’ve never written anything much about Ward Churchill on this blog–some of you may have wondered why, since for me it’s a local news story, and since I have written pretty extensively about the academic workplace and academia in the public sphere.  2008 was a relatively low-profile year for Churchill, and the politicians trying to get him fired have been out of office for a few years, as have the University of Colorado presidents who were involved in his censure and firing.  Churchill’s civil lawsuit against the University of Colorado is being heard now in Denver, so this is really the first timel’affaire Churchill has been a timely topic for this blog, which has only been in existence since January 2008.  (For those of you who just can’t get enough, this law blog is following the trial.)

The major reason I don’t have much to say about Churchill–the “roosting chickens” essay he wrote on September 12, 2001, the allegations of plagiarism against him, or his termination–is that I really don’t see any good guys in this story.  (See this rundown by Dahlia Lithwick at Slate about how a 3-1/2 year old essay on the world wide self-published timewasting web suddenly became national news in the late winter of 2005.)  Rumors had swirled around Churchill for years in the Native American studies community; Continue reading

And speaking of sausage parties…

Echidne has the winners of the National Book Critics Circle this year.  (Go ahead and click on over–I’ll wait.)  Why is it that Francine Prose’s brilliant article, “Scent of a Woman’s Ink:  Are Women Writers Really Inferior?” Harper’s Magazine (June, 1998) keeps coming to mind?  As she wrote then,

And yet there are women writers of literary fiction: the species, however endangered, has not as yet been eradicated. Perhaps this recent batch of book awards was simply an anomaly? Perhaps our apprehensions about the ways in which fiction by women is received are merely symptomatic of some feminist dementia?

In fact, as so often happens, the statistics outdo one’s grisliest paranoias. Continue reading

Tuesday roundup: Pure marshmallow fluff, but we like it! edition

The National Museum of the American Peep

The National Museum of the American Peep

Easter is so late this year and we’ve got several more weeks until we can cuddle fluffy baby bunnies and chicks, so check out these shiny, happy news tidbits:

  • Clio Bluestocking has created the Peep show di tutti Peep Shows:  “The National Museum of the American Peep” features her incredible energy, creativity, and artistry on display.  Don’t miss it!  Be sure to click through all of the photos here.
  • Feeling blue?  You won’t after you read this story and watch this video of The Compliment Guys at Purdue University (via Inside Higher Ed.)  Awwwww-don’t you just want to join a big group hug now? 
  • Part III of the conversation about Judith Bennett’s History Matters is just getting started at Tenured Radical–come on over and join the fun.
  • And now, the best news of all:  Notorious, Ph.D., Girl Scholar and Dr. Crazy at Reassigned Time have been awarded tenure and promotion!  Yes, my pretties:  our cowgirlropeMarxist feminist takeover of higher education is nearly complete!  I’ll be giving you your final instructions soon–you’ll know it’s me when I ring twice, hang up, ring twice again, hang up again, and ring a third time because I can’t figure out this damned text messaging business.  IF U CN READ THS U R DAVID HOROWITZ.  C U L8TR, H8TR!
  • Leave your good news in the thread below.  Fellowships?  Scholarships?  Sabbaticals?  Articles and/or books accepted for publication?  Negative medical test results?  Big tax refund?  Etc.  Sing it!