From Great Universities to “Knowledge Factories”: Another American Institution in Decline

ACADEME BLOG

Thomas Frank, perhaps best known for What’s the Matter with Kansas?, an examination of America’s new conservatism, has an article in Salon, “The New Republic, the torture report, and the TED talks geniuses who gutted journalism.” Toward the end, he writes this:

The new press lord’s deeds are all made possible by the shrinking significance of everyone else. Compared to the patois of power, the language of journalism is but meaningless babble. Compared to once having been a friend of Zuckerberg, no form of literary genius matters any more. Compared to the puissance and majesty of the CIA, we amount to nothing. We are playthings of the powerful, churned out by the millions every year from the nation’s knowledge factories. We are zeroes to their ones, ready to rationalize monopoly or rectal hydration at a moment’s notice.

We’ve been through all of this before, though Frank doesn’t write…

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Readers and Writers Battling Censorship in Kuwait Have a Hard Road Ahead

An interesting peek into Kuwaiti book censorship and the battle that authors face there. While I understand censorship in a world that is becoming wildly uncensored, I also believe in the rights of each individual to choose what they want to consume. I feel that age censorship is more appropriate method. Eventually we all become adults, and as adults, we should be allowed to make our own decisions.

Arabic Literature (in English)

According to Kuwaiti Minister of Education and Higher Education Bader Al-Essa, rumors of “sex books” in Kuwaiti libraries are greatly exaggerated:

sout_al_kuwaitThe Kuwait-based Arab Times wrote earlier this week — in an article titled ‘Presence Of Sex Books In Public Libraries Rumors’ — that Al-Essa had said:

What is being published about the presence of sex books in public libraries…he called it news promoted by the social networking websites such as Twitter and others, but there is no evidence or an iota of truth in such news.

Al-Essa went on to say that anyone with “proof” should submit it to the concerned authority.

But he also promised to check up on any of these allegations, as “Essa said there are hundreds of news reports that need to be checked and confirmed and that the ministry wants to check and confirm their authenticity.”

From a relatively free 1960s and 1970s, Kuwait has become one…

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Editors’ Picks of the Year: Notable Reads on WordPress.com

The WordPress.com Blog

Our editors dove into the archives to resurface top posts published on WordPress.com this year, from personal essays to comics, and photography to fiction. Here’s a glimpse of what you published — and what the community especially loved — in 2014.

“Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did,” Stephan Pastis, Pearls Before Swine

“Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning,” writes comic artist Stephan Pastis of the legendary Calvin and Hobbes creator. This summer, Pastis collaborated — in secret — with Watterson. Their awesome idea: Watterson would silently step in and draw Pastis’ comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, for a few days, pretending to be a second grader. Pastis recounts the experience, offering a rare glimpse of Bigfoot.

Pearls Before Swine; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.Pearls Before Swine; Stephan Pastis; June 4, 2014.

“No Apology,” Mehreen Kasana

I will apologize for ISIS when every…

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Leigh Anne Tuohy, Racism, and the White Saviour Complex

The Belle Jar

Leigh Anne “That Nice Woman Sandra Bullock Played In The Blind Side” Tuohy recently posted the following picture and caption on her Facebook and Instagram accounts:

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We see what we want! It’s the gospel truth! These two were literally huddled over in a corner table nose to nose and the person with me said “I bet they are up to no good” well you know me… I walked over, told them to scoot over. After 10 seconds of dead silence I said so whats happening at this table? I get nothing.. I then explained it was my store and they should spill it… They showed me their phones and they were texting friends trying to scrape up $3.00 each for the high school basketball game! Well they left with smiles, money for popcorn and bus fare. We have to STOP judging people and assuming and pigeon holing people!…

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Why you don’t need to be rich to be a cultural tourist, and why it’s probably better not to be (really!)

Great post from a fellow blogger. Staying in the thick of it: Europe

Picnic at the Cathedral

I remember the exact moment: after a morning of winding our way uphill through the medieval Albayzín neighborhood of Granada in Southern Spain, we reached the San Nicholas Viewpoint. We picnicked while taking in the enchanting view of the Alhambra and surrounding mountains and I mentioned to HOB that, according to our guide book, this view is Bill Clinton’s favorite sight in Europe. And somehow our idle chit-chat crystallized it for me–I have everything I want. I spent the entire day yesterday exploring the Alhambra. There’s nothing about this experience that would be better if I were rich, famous or a former American president. 

Ever since having this rather obvious, but nonetheless life-changing illumination, I’ve become convinced that not only are we not missing out by traveling on a modest budget, but we are far better off.  A great example is the last day from our trip this spring to…

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New Year

Hope everyone had a safe and happy new year!

TAC Campaign 20th Anniversary Video

I had a powerful video forwarded to me yesterday by my cousin that I think would be prudent for all of us to see, especially during the holidays when so many of us will be traveling and enjoying time with our families.

This video was put together by TAC (Transport Accident Commission), which began airing videos like this one in 1989. Arguably, because of the videos, the number of accidents related to drinking and driving have been substantially reduced.

This video hits a note for me because a couple years ago I had a step sister killed by someone under the influence. She had been walking home from work one day when a drunk driver veered off the road and hit her. It was a horrible tragedy. It tore the family up for a long time.

I’m not trying to be depressing on Christmas Eve, but we all sometimes need to be reminded of the effects our actions have on others.

I know we all want to have fun and make memories, but if you are going to drink, stay where you are or have someone else drive you home. It’s not worth hurting/killing someone. The last thing we all want is something tragic to happen around the holidays.

So if you’ve found your way to this site, and haven’t seen the video, then watch it.