You’ve heard of The Endless Summer? It sure seems to me like this is the Endless Semester. Maybe it’s all of the snow and slush in April, but more than any other spring semester in recent memory, this one drags on and on. While I’m desperately trying to lasso this semester and tie it up real good, here are some fun links and ideas to keep you diverted:
- Evan Smith at Hatful of History has published a five-part series on what the Young Ones can teach us about Thatcherism. (Those of you who teach modern British history might want to take some cues from him on this–his posts are full of video links, which will entertain as well as inform your students!)
- Mouthy Broads Alert: Claire Messud calls bull$hit on questions about her characters’ “likability,” and Jamaica Kinkaid sounds off on the racism and sexism embedded in evaluations of her as an “angry” author. Meanwhile, not so coincidentally, Tenured Radical asks “Where are the Women at the NYRB?”
- Mouthy D00d Alert:Bitter Austerian Niall Ferguson says John Maynard Keynes advocated economic stimulus because he was “gay” and childless. Business Insider’s Henry Blodgett writes, “This is the first time we have heard a respectable academic tie another economist’s beliefs to his or her personal situation rather than his or her research. Saying that Keynes’ economic philosophy was based on him being childless would be like saying that Ferguson’s own economic philosophy is based on him being rich and famous and therefore not caring about the plight of poor unemployed people.” (I’m sure this wasn’t the “first time” a “respectable academic” slagged another because of hir personal life, but whatever.) To his credit, Ferguson immediately apologized and retracted his statement, saying “I should not have suggested – in an off-the-cuff response that was not part of my presentation – that Keynes was indifferent to the long run because he had no children, nor that he had no children because he was gay. This was doubly stupid. First, it is obvious that people who do not have children also care about future generations. Second, I had forgotten that Keynes’s wife Lydia miscarried.” The detail about the miscarriage is irrelevant–so what if Keynes was an accidental or on-purpose non-parent? This sounds like more posturing by parents who like to pretend that having children is some big favor to the universe.
- The news that a five-year old boy shot to death his two-year old sister with his own gun (!) has shocked the non-gun owning, non-reckless, responsible adults of the nation, but Cheryl Lemus notes that marketing guns to children is nothing new at Nursing Clio, in a post replete with striking images. (And while you’re over there, wish them a Happy First Birthday! If you’re missing Jacquelyn Antonovich’s Sunday Morning Medicine feature, you’re missing a major opportunity for learning, laughs, and grading-avoidance diversions!)
- Finally, it’s been a big week for MOOC critiques–if you’re not keeping up, I can’t help you much beyond directing you to Undine at Not of General Interest and Jonathan Rees at More or Less Bunk. (Don’t miss Jonathan’s post about the letter from the San Jose State University Philosophy Department to a Harvard “Superprofessor” explaining why they have refused to outsource their teaching to him, and the Superprofessor’s response in solidarity with his not-so-superprofessor colleagues at SJSU. Now that’s classy.) In “MOOC’n’Bake,” Undine writes about how a story about marketing Shake’n’Bake in Jane Maas’s Mad Women: The Other Side of Life on Madison Avenue in the ’60s and Beyond brought her to a revelation about MOOC technology and marketing.
Well, that should keep you busy. Leave your complaints or suggestions for the management in the comments below. In the meantime, please enjoy this glimpse of The Endless Summer (1966). Ahhh–now, doesn’t that get you in the mood for summer?