As you may recall, I took the last few days off, during which I tinkered extensively with the right-hand column (result: four fresh Top Five picks and several new blogs in the “Sites to See” module) and rummaged through my overflowing basketful of accumulated links. Here’s a snootful of what a bunch of other interesting people have been writing in recent weeks.
I really should do this more often….
– Ms. Critical Mass takes a cold-eyed look at the effects of the spread of adjunct teaching on academic freedom:
Almost half of all college teachers are entirely unprotected by the vaunted “academic freedom” that is so often touted as the philosophical mainstay of academic life. Add to the number of adjuncts the number of grad students and non-tenured assistant professors who are also teaching college courses in the absence of job security, and you get a picture of an academic world where very, very few people actually have the freedom to speak, write, research, and teach as they see fit (by “see fit” I don’t mean to defend those teachers who abuse their positions to proselytize, or who are incompetent in some way; I mean to defend those who might have legitimate reasons for pursuing unorthodox pedagogical methods and scholarly topics, as well as those whose politics might endanger their professional positions, if known). The picture is one of an academic world in which “academic freedom” is the privilege of the tenured few; it is thus not a “freedom” at all, but the special privilege of an increasingly small group of academic elites….
Read and ponder.
– Says Eric Berlin:
I’m no music critic. So I can’t write 500 words on why Fiona Apple’s song Extraordinary Machine is so wonderful. All I know is, it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever heard–certainly unlike any pop song–and you should go find a way to listen to it right now. That is all.
I could probably write those 500 words, but I won’t. I’ll just say that I must have listened to “Extraordinary Machine” (the song, not the album) at least a couple of dozen times since Ms. in the wings first drew it to my attention, bless her. It’s that different–and that cool.
– Mr. American Scene is in a true-confession mode when it comes to important books he’s never read. (Henry IV? Yikes!)
– Are drama critics getting dumber? Is that even possible? Michael Coveney thinks so:
Instead, too many theatre reviews do little more than describe something as “great” or “awful.” Even when the writing is stylish, reviews will often lack the knowledge that was taken for granted a generation ago. And increasingly, editors are sending in the critical clowns in the true joke spirit of contemporary journalism….
– Mr. Modern Kicks disagrees with me about Jed Perl’s New Art City: Manhattan at Mid-Century. I loved it, he didn’t. While he failed to change my mind, he made me think–without raising his voice. Smart, civilized disagreement…what a concept.
– Anna L. Conti waxes amusing on art gallery postcards:
The image on the postcard always sells. In my experience, this is not an absolute law but it happens more often than not. In the past, I’ve sometimes poked fun at the people who come in, give the entire show a 30-second glance and then say, “Where’s the one on the card?” And boy, are they upset if it’s sold already. At some of my shows, I’ve had people call as soon as they receive the card (before they’ve seen anything in person) and want to put a hold on the painting they saw on the card. Once, at an opening, I saw two people get into a fight over who was going buy a particular painting (naturally, it was the one on the card.)…
Which reminds me of one of my own corollary propositions to Murphy’s Law: Don’t even bother looking for a postcard of your favorite painting in a museum.
– The Museum of Modern Art is deaccessioning (i.e., selling off) an important late oil painting by Milton Avery. In case you’ve been wondering what MoMA doesn’t think worth hanging onto, much less hanging, this is what it looks like.
– You like Top Ten lists, big boy? Mr. Modern Art Notes obliges with an annotated list of his ten favorite American cities in which to see art.
– Incidentally, did you know that the FBI’s Art Theft Program has a Web site…
– …or that you can take an online test to see whether you know enough about the United States to become a naturalized U.S. citizen?
– And have you ever wondered why The Complete New Yorker: Eighty Years of the Nation’s Greatest Magazine is so damn cumbersome to use, lovely and amazing though it is to have all of The New Yorker on DVD? Go here for the answer.
– Speaking of lawyers (which we were), allow me to remind you yet again bloggers get sued, for all sorts of reasons. Mr. BuzzMachine has a hair-raising list of recent anti-blog litigation. Read it and take cover.
– Finally, here’s the scoop on that $100 student laptop you’ve been reading about. (No, you can’t buy one. Sorry.)