Posts Tagged ‘Walt Whitman’
* Real-life trolley problem: programming a self-driving car to decide what to aim at in the event of a crash.
* As one of the first full-time faculty members at Southern New Hampshire’s online college, Ms. Caldwell taught 20 online courses last year: four at a time for five terms, each eight weeks long. The textbooks and syllabi were provided by the university; Ms. Caldwell’s job was to teach. She was told to grade and give feedback on all student work in 72 hours or less.
* The digital humanities bubble has popped. Climb on board the science fiction studies bubble before it’s too late!
* March Madness: The University of Oregon and the local district attorney’s office appear to have colluded to prevent a rape accusation from interfering with basketball. What a mess. “I thought, maybe this is just what happens in college,” she told police, “… just college fun.”
* Go ahead, make your jokes: Harvard Faculty Members Approve College’s First Honor Code.
* “The Day I Started Lying to Ruth”: A cancer doctor on losing his wife to cancer.
* The CPB also usefully charts the changing funding fortunes of higher education and corrections. As they remind us (4), there has been an effective reversal in the priorities placed on higher education and corrections since the early 1980s. In 1980-81 2.9% of the General Fund was spent on corrections; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 9%. In 1980-81, 9.6% of the General Fund was spent on higher education; in 2014-2015 the Governor proposes 5.1%. Actually the reversal is worse than the CPB indicates since Brown’s General Fund budget does not include the spending being sent to counties for realignment. This has allowed him to appear as if he is cutting back on correctional spending when he is not.
* Portland Committee Reviews Arrest of Nine-Year-Old Girl. Give them time! They really need to think through if arresting kids is really a good idea!
* Atrocious: The Globe and Mail wants its management to the have the right to assign editorial employees to write and edit advertorial copy as part of their regular duties, according to this union bulletin.
* RIP, Community. For now!
* I’m a little surprised we don’t already have a few trillionaires lying around. Get to work, capital! You’re slacking.
* Iowa Secretary of State makes voter fraud his signature issue, pours a ton of money into finding it, comes up with 117 illegally cast votes and gets six convictions. Typical voter turnout in Iowa is around one million people.
* Stress Gives You Daughters, Sons Make You Liberal. Well, that about solves all the big questions forever.
* And bell hooks vs. Beyoncé: whoever wins, we… Well, look, Beyoncé’s going to win. Let me start over.
Writers who have been lucky enough to land these gigs are inclined to talk — when we aren’t grumbling — about their good fortune in sensible language, citing all that is sane, healthy, balanced and economically viable about their jobs. But another question is discussed less. What exactly does all this teaching do to our writing? And what, if anything, does it mean for a country to have a tenured literature? What exactly does all this teaching do to our writing? And what, if anything, does it mean for a country to have a tenured literature?
So asks David Gessner in the New York Times Magazine.
Consider that our first great national literary flowering constituted, in part, a rebellion against what was thought of as academic, effete and indoors-y in English writing. It slightly complicates things that this flowering was greatly influenced by an Englishman, Wordsworth, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that in the 1850s Melville published “Moby-Dick” (1851); Thoreau, “Walden” (1854); and Whitman, “Leaves of Grass” (1855), while at the same time Emily Dickinson began to hit her private stride and Emerson was still lecturing. Thoreau claimed to have never wasted a walk on another, and it’s hard to imagine him taking a break from one of his marathon strolls to waste three hours teaching a graduate workshop. Equally difficult is picturing Melville asking a group of undergrads, “What’s at stake in this story?” or Dickinson clapping a colleague on the back after a faculty meeting.
There was an essential fanaticism in all their efforts, the sense of an entire life thrown into the great project of creating works of art. Even if we grant that you can be as original within the university as up in your garret, we must concede the possibility that something is lost by living a divided life. Intensity perhaps. The ability to focus hard and long on big, ambitious projects. A great writer, after all, must travel daily to a mental subcontinent, must rip into the work, experiencing the exertion of it, the anxiety of it and, once in a blue moon, the glory of it. It’s fine for writing teachers to talk in self-help jargon about how their lives require “balance” and “shifting gears” between teaching and writing, but below that civil language lurks the uncomfortable fact that the creation of literature requires a degree of monomania, and that it is, at least in part, an irrational enterprise. It’s hard to throw your whole self into something when that self has another job.