10. Well, is there at least a GeekDad-friendly catchphrase?
Yes! “Matt Lauer can suck it!” “Science shows no mercy. And neither do I.”
I’m mostly pleased to say that, as of this afternoon, I’m the president-elect (effective virtually immediately) of the CCSU AAUP chapter. On our campus, that’s a union position, representing full-time *and* part-time faculty, librarians, and coaches. I say “mostly pleased” because, while I care a great deal about the university, its faculty, and the role of higher education, these are obviously pretty miserable times. The union will be voting soon on a wage/benefits concession package, and there’s no reason to think that funding for higher education will improve over the course of my term. Frankly, I’m shocked there was another candidate!
The other reason I’m “mostly” pleased is that I’m on sabbatical for the fall, but obviously this will keep me on campus some . . . . Sigh. That said, I’ve got debts no honest man can pay, so let the corruption and graft begin, am I right?
There may be some implications for the blog and twitter account, but they’ll probably be minor. (Probably fewer jokes about corruption, huh? Although I can tell you where the bodies will be buried: In the pond 2 blocks from my house. It’s convenient–I walk by it on the way home from campus.)
Anyway, to commemorate the election, here’s an obligatory Billy Bragg video, plus two by The Hold Steady: “Stay Positive” and “Constructive Summer.”
I’m less ambivalent about the other announcement, which is that I’ll be writing in a more official capacity for the amazing Wired.com blog, GeekDad. (As will CCSU student Alex Jarvis!) I’ve written a couple of one-off posts for them in the past, and am excited to be able to do so more regularly.
So, I guess that’s it. Union chapter president. GeekDad writer. If you think about it, it’s deeply, deeply funny that Merlin Mann mentioned me in a post about priorities. But, that’s why he’s brilliant.]]>
Three of Brenda Maddox’s splendid biographies center on famous modernist marriages: D. H. & Frieda Lawrence, W. B. & Georgie Yeats, and James and Nora Joyce. Like many modernists, Lawrence, Yeats, and Joyce each was keenly interested in making art more psychologically rich and complex. That Maddox’s newest biography should focus on Ernest Jones thus makes a satisfyingly perverse sense: For what was Jones but Freud’s work wife?
Read the whole thing here.]]>
In 1872, Vanity Fair remarked that “Time and opinions move so fast that it is difficult to recall the period, though it is really so recent, when the Rev. Charles Kingsley, sometime author of ‘Alton Locke’ and now Chaplain to the Queen [ . . . ] was one of the most daring and advanced revolutionists of his cloth” (qtd. in Klaver 472; Klaver’s ellipsis). Vanity Fair omits many reasons why Kingsley might fascinate modern Victorianists: his complex emphasis on manliness, masculinity, and the body; his immersion in scientific projects (sanitation reform) and debates; his jingoism and sense of national mission, even when these sanctioned brutal or near-genocidal violence; the conflict with John Henry Newman; his children’s books, especially The Water Babies (1863); and his interest in sexual satisfaction within marriage as an almost sacramental blessing. And yet all too frequently, knowledge of Kingsley can devolve into the following series: muscular Christian; self-destructive combatant with Newman; author of Alton Locke (1850) and The Water Babies, plus a few other works. J. M. I. Klaver’s The Apostle of the Flesh seeks to restore Kingsley to a more central place in the Victorian period.
Interested parties without access to Victorian Studies can e-mail me for the review. My edition of Kingsley’s Alton Locke is due to Broadview in a mere six weeks!]]>
Inasmuch as the VSA program relies on standardized testing to assess general education / liberal arts outcomes, I have misgivings about its utility. And since it’s trying to capture “value-added” education, the problem of student motivation seems insoluble: The VSA methodology suggests testing random samples of first-year and senior students. But, almost by definition, the assessment can’t be part of the student’s grade for the class. Why any senior would take this seriously is beyond me.
Having said that, I’m probably a little bit more sanguine about the public reporting of assessment data than some colleagues. On the one hand, I’ll admit that too much federal control of this would be disastrous; on the other hand, I do think that colleges have been so high-handed about the sanctity of their mission, and so blithely confident in the effectiveness of their methods, that unconventional methods are called for.
Anyway, read the whole thing there.]]>