Aug

31

Reminder: Your Professors Are Smart

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What are these word things

Although maybe every so often you forget that.  In the last few weeks, many of our esteemed professors have published articles, perhaps to squeeze ’em in before the school year starts.  Read on and tell us what we missed in the comments.

Cris Beam, Creative Writing: Just Holding On Through The Curves (NYTimes)

I didn’t give birth to my daughter. I became her mother when I was 28 and she was 17. Call it an unplanned delivery, very late term. Christina was one of the 135,000-plus teenagers nationwide in foster care, most of whom are abandoned when they age out of the system between 18 and 21.

Editor’s note: Cris Beam has been in a handful of publications–her newest book was just published.

John McWhorter, American Studies: Miley’s Twerking Wasn’t Racist (The New Republic)

That charge–that she is making fun of black people in the guise of entertainment–is, among other things, reductive. How do we know Cyrus isn’t sincere when she says she loves “hood” culture? Because she’s white? I’m afraid that’s a little 1955.

Edward Mendelson, English: Seeing Is Not Believing (NY Review of Books)

But Hecht did something deeper and more complex than finding compensations in the perfections of art for the faults of life. What is uniquely unsettling about his poetry is its insistence that its aristocratic poise is helpless against the inner terror that gave rise to it.

Kenneth Jackson, History: Gotham’s Towering Ambitions (NYT)

Is New York still the wonder city, the place that celebrates the future, the city that once defined modernism? Or should it follow the paths of Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston and Savannah in emphasizing its human scale, its gracious streets and its fine, historic houses?

Andrew Delbanco, American Studies: Lincoln’s Long Game (TNR)

But there is a problem here—perhaps the deepest problem of our history. It is the incompatibility between venerating Lincoln as the martyred leader of America’s self-purification through blood and fire and claiming, as many have done, that what makes America exceptional among nations has been its capacity for compromise along a relatively narrow political spectrum.

“Handsome man reading a newspaper” via Shutterstock

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1 Comment

  1. dafuq, hol up  

    I actually find McWhorter hugely off point here. no one thinks (or perhaps even cares) that Miley twerked. There is no real cultural appropriation if she was sincere in waiting to accept twerk culture, which in modern America's conscious is thought of as a sub-culture of black America. This is to say, the twerking itself is not racist. What sociologists are condemning is her use of black individuals as no more than props to lend her credence (re: smacking and rimming that woman's ass, while the aforementioned "performer" does nothing but stand there on the stage for the duration of the performance, forming a backdrop for Miley).

    Her twerking isn't racist, and no one should be upset about that. In the same way, no one should be upset about her openly sexual displays and gyrations, b/c that harkens back the double-standard and the gender binary (i.e. no one would care if a male were that sexual on stage). It's about debasing a person into an object. It's about devaluing bodies of color. It's about stripping the humanity from a group of people so that they are no longer SEEN as people. And the freedom with which she does this is symptomatic of what America does at large. (Trayvon Martin. Stop and frisk.) And that is why people are in an uproar--because that shit is racist.

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