Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Tuesday Night

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They nuked paradise.

* Kotsko: We hear over and over again that our modern economy requires flexible workers who can easily move among different tasks and settings. Yet instead of taking advantage of the natural ability of colleges and universities to cultivate these kinds of competencies, we are continually told that we need to retool our programs to do just the opposite.

In this case as in so many others, a relentless focus on practicality is the most impractical thing at all. And by the same token, the most “impractical” education — one that provides students with an opportunity to develop as fully as possible as thinkers and citizens — may also provide students the chance to develop the most valuable job skills more or less as a matter of course.

Something’s fishy when a purportedly non-ideological movement shows up on the scene promising revolutionary change that looks suspiciously like the non-academic status quo. Why, exactly, should the ‘next big thing’ in the humanities come from the whitest, malest subfield this side of diplomatic history? Why does the New York Times cover the new field’s projects so much more enthusiastically than it does traditional work? Why has digital humanities attracted more enthusiasm from state funders, across agencies and nation, than the humanities have seen since the Cold War ended? I often think: one of the things digital humanities is potentially very, very good at is naturalizing the world as it is. And our reflexive ways of thinking about the world are just what theory has always sought to get us away from; the nightmare from which it tries to jolt us awake.

* Playboy (NSFW, obviously) interviews Stephen Colbert about science fiction, cynicism, appearing in character, and more.

PLAYBOY: Is it true you met Stewart for the first time while asking him a question at a press conference?

COLBERT: Yeah, that was it. I’d been doing The Daily Show when Craig Kilborn was hosting. I heard they were doing a press conference to announce that Jon was the new host, and I said, “Isn’t that the sort of thing we should be covering?” So I went, sat down in the audience and raised my hand when they opened it up to questions. I was like, “Stephen Colbert, Daily Show.” Oh God, how did I phrase it? “Does this announcement have any effect on the prospects of me getting the hosting job?” Jon looked at Doug Herzog, who was the network president at the time and is again, and said, “You said he wasn’t funny.”

* Meta-analysis says PMS may not exist.

* Twilight of the geniuses: life with an abnormally high IQ.

* Romney’s bluff.

* And some free advice for the GOP: stop doing this.

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