Some links!

December 20, 2021

I'm finishing grading today, so naturally, I'm on this blog!  Avoidance is the key to productivity: one cannot outwit the superego, but one can occasionally head-fake it.


Russia’s memory of The Great Patriotic War is akin to the US’s memory of its racial history: powerful but completely unaligned with, and indeed destructive of, reality.


Young people in China would prefer not to, apparently.  and it seems related to their sense of the inability to actually gain control over their lives in that country’s political situation.


Did Neanderthals make art?  Some scientists think so: "The fact that the new find from the Unicorn Cave dates from so long ago shows that Neanderthals were already able to independently produce patterns on bones and probably also communicate using symbols thousands of years before the arrival of modern humans in Europe," one of them says.


This is the future for higher education, if the GOP gets its way.


A reminder that what people say about what Francis Fukuyama said may not be what he actually said.


And since we’ve mentioned Fukuyama, we might as well cite a piece of his; here he seems right about this: “the degree of power over speech continues to get more and more concentrated with technological change, and our normative theories have not adjusted adequately to take account.”


Good rich piece on changes in language and how they relate to political change (and how they do not).  Worth reading and pondering.



“Like any casual Twitter user, academics use problematic as an innuendo, or better yet, an “insinuendo.” Rhetorically, this usage divides our audiences between those who know already what our commitments are—in many cases because, on a politically homogeneous campus, they share them—and so are presumptively in the know about what we find objectionable. To this audience, problematic indicates where the problem is; they do not need to be told what it is.”

Also, the piece makes a connection between teaching and learning and the kind of civil discourse we need today. They go hand-in-hand; one cannot long last without the other.


Lovely and lyrical essay by a friend of mine, Elisabeth Becker, on the layers of her own identity, her connection to languages and literatures, and her reflections on living now as a Jew (among many other things) in Germany. 


Humanities grads are actually pretty happy about their lives, it turns out. Go figure.


Keep on figuring!  And be well.