I’ve been absent here for the last month, so I thought I’d tell you briefly what I’ve been paying attention to of late but haven’t had the time to write about.
Bully – the fight over the MPAA rating of the documentary Bully has me hoping that this sparks more discussion about the rating system in general, how capricious it is, how it favors violence over sex, and how it disenfranchises independent filmmakers. I am glad the Weinsteins are taking up this fight, and I hope that it that this sparks a revolution in the film industry to revamp the system. I am not naive enough to believe that it will, but one can hope. For those interested, watch This Film is Not Yet Rated, an enlightening documentary about the how the ratings system works. It’s streaming on Netflix as well as available on DVD.
Kony2012 – This was a rare instance of my a political issue that my students were on top of before I had ever heard of it, which is precisely why it interests me. A student mentioned it a few weeks ago, and I had no idea what he meant. I was thinking of coney dogs. Anyway, I don’t want to rehash anything about the video itself or the criticisms of it (support of militarism and imperialism, white guilt, the futility of it, the choice of cause over others, ahistoricism, masturbation in public), but I am interested in how this video caught the attention of a usually apolitical segment of the population. It would be interesting to look at the aesthetics of the video, the use of SEO and other marketing techniques to float it to the top of Youtube, etc., to dissect how this video was able to mobilize. I am sure someone has looked at this already, but I haven’t been on top of things, so point me in the right direction if you know of anything.
e-literature - I have been thinking quite a lot lately about printed versus e-text, and the shifting economies of publishing, both popular and academic. I will start to tease out some of my ideas about self-publishing, academic publishing, peer-review and the aesthetics of the various “print” media. Too much to synthesize here, but maybe a few posts when my semester settles down.
teaching philosophies - I’ve always thought these were stupid wastes of paper, but I am beginning to change my mind. I have been rewriting my philos0phy and ran across some good advice. For someone who has been teaching for a long time (like me), specific examples and an admission that you weren’t born a good teacher, but have learned from experience make a readable and informative philosophy. I like my teaching philosophy now, and I hope hiring committees do as well. When I was training to be a high school teacher eons ago, we had to construct these, and, of course, they all looked the same. We didn’t have any experience, let alone philosophy. Anyway, here is some of the good advice I found, via a simple google search. Also, Brian Croxall was giving some sound advice on twitter a few days ago one of which was this:
He had a whole slew around that time. If he writes something more permanent, I’ll link it here.