Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Roundup - History, Rejection, and Sarah Palin

Well, it's been quite a week. On Thursday, CNN published a piece critical of Sarah Palin. I've criticized public figures before, but I usually have done so in "see both sides" kinds of writing (intended to have the reader end up seeing the world my way, but careful and measured). This was not measured in that way, but linked Palin's rhetoric to a history of forced baptism, religiously-fueled mob violence, and even apocalyptic rhetoric (a subject for another day).

I wrote a few more comments on the piece here. I also did an anthropological dive into my critical comments. Spoiler alert - mostly they called me gay.

I wrote two blog posts reacting to other articles. In one, I explored the rejection of women's historians by the proposed organizers of a National Women's History Museum. I wrote, "Experts in women's history are able to place such contemporary questions in a broad historical context, linking sexism and discrimination now and in the past. That's threatening to a bland positivist master narrative of progress from the "bad old days" before the vote to the good times now."

In the other, I talked about David Brooks, who wrote a lovely column about the love of books and bemoaning cultural change, missing the point that the policies he endorses are responsible for the erosion of the educative culture he thinks has been lost. If it's been lost at all.

Finally, I wrote about academia. On May 1, I wrote a little rant about international workers' day and academic work. Here's a line you're going to see a lot from me over the next few months: "Teaching is work. Programming is work. Scholarship is work. Science is work. Grading is work. Committee service is work. This is not to embrace the business-speak model of the academy; no, that model seeks to de-value your labor. Labor - valuing your work as work - is the antidote to business-speak."

And I started the week with rejection. My work gets rejected all the time. It hurts, but since I don't believe in the myth of the academic meritocracy, it doesn't shake me to the foundations of my soul. It took a long time to reach that place.

Thanks for reading. Thanks especially to all the new people who came to the blog. I'll try not to disappoint you.



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