Don’t mind me while I watch this 80 more times while not grading.
Fascinating long read by Jason Reid on race in the NFL, which is 70% African American. It looks at the statistical breakdown of the race of players at certain positions, drawing from Malcolm Gladwell’s work on group sorting and perceptions. It also discusses the ways in which certain positions tend to have more black players and than white players and vice versa. While it touches on the institutional racism of the NFL’s early days and the unofficial ban well into the 1980s on African-American players being at center or quarterback, it also explores how coaches search for patterns in players, so much so that it’s hard to find a white tailback now. Reid’s tone is measured, exploring the current pattern without trying to draw a specific conclusion about what the data is showing.
Fascinating article in the NYTimes in how big data can explore how making a certain grade in a lower level course, such as composition, can predict whether or not you graduate. Data analysis can’t tell you why a student makes a certain grade–it could be preparation or messy life issues–but it definitely seems to highlight what classes are indicative of successful completion of an undergraduate degree.
Sunshine and amazingness.
Anne Hathaway and James Cordon did a 5 minute rom-com musical, complete with set changes and 10 songs, or at least snippets of songs. It’s as delightful as it sounds.
I was an early Disney consumer; I hesitate to say fan because I’ve never been to the theme parks and it wasn’t like I sought Disney productions out specifically. Yet, I’m not sure I can count the number of times I watched Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks, my anglophenia well indoctrinated through these movies. My grandmother also took us to see every Disney revival when it hit the movie theaters. I saw Cinderella for the first time on a big screen. Also the Great Mouse Detective and Oliver and Company, roundly panned animated films from the 1980s, although I like both. I was just at the right age–late tween/early teen–for the Disney revival lead by Howard Ashman and Alan Mencken, who turned animated film into Broadway quality musicals. Beauty and the Beast is the culmination of their efforts. It takes the problematic parameters of the fairy tale and turns it into a believable journey for both Belle and the Beast. Get a hanky for this lovely tribute to Ashman, who was dying of AIDS as he completed work on the film.
The time will come when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
-Derek Walcott, “Love after Love”
Walcott passed away today, March 17, 2017
Margaret Atwood has an essay in the New Times this week on the writing of and meaning of her 1984 dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Key points on the type of narrative she sees her novel as:
But there’s a literary form I haven’t mentioned yet: the literature of witness. Offred records her story as best she can; then she hides it, trusting that it may be discovered later, by someone who is free to understand it and share it. This is an act of hope: Every recorded story implies a future reader. Robinson Crusoe keeps a journal. So did Samuel Pepys, in which he chronicled the Great Fire of London. So did many who lived during the Black Death, although their accounts often stop abruptly. So did Roméo Daillaire, who chronicled both the Rwandan genocide and the world’s indifference to it. So did Anne Frank, hidden in her secret annex.
There are two reading audiences for Offred’s account: the one at the end of the book, at an academic conference in the future, who are free to read but who are not always as empathetic as one might wish; and the individual reader of the book at any given time. That is the “real” reader, the Dear Reader for whom every writer writes. And many Dear Readers will become writers in their turn. That is how we writers all started: by reading. We heard the voice of a book speaking to us.
I cannot explain why, but watching Isabelle Bellis washing her face is the most calming thing you’ll do this evening. Well next to following her steps, and giving yourself a delightful face massage. Watch part two of moisture application too.
Gaelynn Lea is a revelation here discussing the intersection of disability, sexuality, and the American beauty industry. My cultural studies students are watching this in class next week, but everyone else should listen to Lea too. She’s also the 2016 Tiny Desk Concert winner.