Oh Boris

The incomparable mayor of London, Boris Johnson, reads the best hangover description ever from Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim. One of my students posted it for their interesting thing about a British novel in contemporary culture. It really is my favorite passage from Lucky Jim.


Partly Cloudy

This adorable video is courtesy of Brianna Coody, who posted it to FB. I have a soft spot for animated shorts and silent film. It’s the reason why the first seven minutes or so of Up, despite the dark territory it covers, is my favorite part of that film. The way it gives you a whole life, lived to the full without the hard parts taken out but supported through love, and does it entirely through music and image is profound. Of course, no Pixar film is really a children’s film. Nothing for children is really for children.

Pink and the Fat Shaming Troglodytes

A few students and I were discussing the treatment of women on the internet today, and then I read this article about how the singer Pink was fat shamed for….looking hot in a black dress? I‘m not even entirely sure what the issue is here, but you can go look for yourselves. The larger issue, of course, is that women must conform to some arbitrary standard of beauty valued by the interweb troglodytes. I know too many women, myself included at times, who feel bad about their bodies because of the troglodytes. We all have these amazing vessels that take us through the world, and they don’t all look alike. Some adhere to a general aesthetic society has somehow determined is beautiful, but that aesthetic is a moving, evolving thing. It’s not static, and one of the wonders of living in our hyper connected world is the way that aesthetic is changing more rapidly to embrace all kinds of bodies as beautiful. Don’t let the troglodytes win, and in this case, they haven’t. Pink’s responses are pitch perfect, which is par for the course for her. She embraces a body that her family loves and gave her her daughter. Love of self, of family, of your vessel is so much more important than striving for arbitrary ideals.

Journalism’s Navel Gazing

This week has seen the publication of both Columbia School of Journalism’s lengthy expose of all the things that went wrong with the reporting of sexual assault on UVA in Rolling Stone and this lengthy piece in Vanity Fair about the fall of Brian Williams from NBC’s Nightly News. Both are examples of how journalism reviews its own mistakes, and must reads for the week. Lots to think about. I found the Vanity Fair piece especially interesting in exploring how simply being good at business in general doesn’t make you an effective manager of journalistic talent.  There are some jobs where content knowledge matters, perhaps more than we want to admit in a society that sees education as conveyor belt to a career, any career, versus valuing specialized knowledge, but that’s a different argument.

Humor and Outrage; or, where do I find that list of things clever girls like

The interwebs have offered up two amazing lists of comedic outrage this week. First Patton Oswalt broke twitter with his hilarious defense of new, incoming Daily Show host Trevor Noah. 53 tweets of pure comedic gold as Oswalt traces the various ways a joke can outrage people. Read it here.

Next, is Cate Burlington’s amazing list of “Things My Male Tech Colleagues Have Actually Said to Me, Annotated.” It hits the mark repeatedly, and sadly reminds of me a student who I once disappointed by gently pointing out the women go into engineering too. (True story, my calculus professor in undergrad thought I was an engineering major, and he was a little crestfallen when I told him he wouldn’t see me the next semester because I was in fact an English major. ) I too want to know how to be a real geek.