Danny Cardwell's picture

    Social Media, Self Creation, Glamour Shots, and Justin Bieber

    Social media has given us the gift/curse of being able to express our fractal selves in a variety of ways. In society we're (x); at home we're (y), but on social media we can be whoever we want to be. The person in our profiles can be a refined caricature of ourselves or a new creation that reflects our deepest desires. Our social media personas, in many respects, have become as real as our flesh and bones.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A Personal Note

    As many people who read this blog know, my mother has been very ill for some time. I don't have much to say about that, but having mentioned how sick she was it seems strange to let the topic drift off inconclusively.

    My mother has passed away. We had her funeral a week ago. I may have more to say about that later, but right now I do not.

    If you are a praying type, spare a few thoughts for my dad, who was married to her for more than 47 years, and who has suffered the heaviest loss of all. Thank you.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    A New Hampshire Primary Memory

    It's the New Hampshire primary today. I grew up in New Hampshire, and I remember those elections fondly.

    One of my my favorite memories, which I've blogged about a few years back, involves my Mom getting into it with Al Haig on the campaign trail back in the 80s. Haig was, of course, a retired general, former Supreme NATO commander, Nixon's last Chief of Staff and Reagan's first Secretary of State. Mom was a police lieutenant.

    So, Mom, who was interested in the question, asked Haig a question about women playing combat roles in the military.

    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Dr. King, Donald Trump, And The South

    The last few days have been very interesting in the Commonwealth of Virginia. On Saturday January 16th people attending Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. events in Lexington, VA were greeted by Confederate flag wavers. Since the removal of the flag from South Carolina's state house the Stars and Bars has been ubiquitous in this part of the world.
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    Ramona's picture

    Resolved: To Make 2016 A Year I Manage To Get Through

     

      Here it is, 2016, a fresh new start.  Things will be different this year, and not just different but better.  Way better!  So much better, next year at this time we won't even have to do a New Year's resolution.  Everything we resolved will have come true.  

    Perfect!  Can't wait!
     
    I'm lying! Not true!  
     
    But you knew that. 
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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Christmas Star

    It's Christmas, the second-most-important Christian holiday and the most important holiday for many Americans. Tonight is Christmas Eve. But for some families, every year, Christmas comes at a moment that seems dark and difficult. Many of my friends are in my thoughts tonight, and my own family is grieving.

    This will be our last Christmas with Mom. My mother is in hospice. She spoke during the fall about wanting to make it to Christmas, and she has. I am immensely thankful. I am very sad. We have her; we will lose her. The two truths are not separate.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Brett Foster Goes Out Singing

    I was blogging today about art, especially about poetry and about grief, but that post was interrupted by the news of an old friend's death. My own thoughts about grief can wait. I will still be thinking them tomorrow. Today I give way to the beautiful, kind-hearted poet and scholar Brett Foster, who has passed out of this world. He was a better man than I have ever been, and I will miss him.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Praise for the Foremothers

    This is how it works: men and women do things - write books, build institutions, start movements - that change your life forever, and the men get into the history books. The women mysteriously fall out of the story, over and over. How many times have you heard or read the words, "Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to be free"? How many of you can name the writer off the top of your head? That's what I'm talking about.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    What Is a "Good" College? Two Tentative Answers

    Sometimes, because of my job, people ask me advice about choosing colleges. It's always nice to be helpful, but talking about college reputations can be a minefield. Obviously, you learn quickly that you should never put any college or university down, but that's not enough. People can also get very prickly when you don't praise a particular college enough.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Ask Me About Shakespeare, Round Two

    So, last year I had an Ask Me About Shakespeare thread that people seemed to enjoy. (Answers to the first round of questions are at the link.) Let's try it again.

    Ramona's picture

    The Hopelessness of Homelessness - A Guest Post

    The post below was written by my internet friend and fellow writer, syrbal-labrys.  She posted it on her own blog, Experiential Pagan, about a month ago but I only just discovered it last week.  I asked her if I could re-post it here and she graciously agreed.  

    We talk about the homeless a lot, but most often as distant observers who can only imagine what it must be like.  This is a story of an encounter and a rescue, with an ending as elusive as the reasons why:

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Goodbye, My Second City

    Although "Doctor Cleveland" is my nom du blog, I've been splitting time between two cities for years. Like many academics in my generation, I've struggled with the "two-body problem" as part of a couple with teaching jobs at universities in different places. We've had homes in both places, but I've been the primary commuter and my spouse has held down the home front.

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    Ramona's picture

    Goodness and Mercy and The Charleston Massacre

    On Wednesday evening, June 17, a 21-year-old White Supremacist sat for an hour in a prayer meeting with the good people of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston and, when the hour was up, opened fire with his .45 caliber Glock.  He slaughtered nine innocent church members for no other reason than that he held such a deep, abiding hatred for blacks he wanted to be the one to kill them.  His goal was to start a race war.


    Later, after he was caught, he admitted to the police that the parishioners were so nice to him he almost didn't do it.  It was the twist of the knife for those of us already grieving over his murder victims.  One single second of conscience, one deviant drop of human kindness, and the people who welcomed him into their fold might have been saved.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Why Not Say It's Racism? The Charleston Massacre

    The murder of nine people in Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston has left me sick and stunned, as it has left many of you. And what I needed badly, over the last two days, was national unity. But I didn't get it. Apparently, we're too divided as a nation to band together after a terrorist attack. We're so divided that some of us won't admit that the terrorist had the motives that he clearly proclaimed. Apparently, there are sides to take in everything, even this.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    The Two-Body Problem: What I Learned

    A few weekends ago I came home from commencement, hung up my silly robe for another year, cleaned my fridge, packed my car, and left town for the city where I live with my spouse. I won't be back until later in the summer. I've been making that five-hundred-mile round trip nearly every weekend for three of the last four years, with breaks for summers or sabbaticals. But this was the last time.

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    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Shakespeare "Authorship Debates" and Amateur Scholarship

    So, just in time to ruin my New Year's celebrations, Newsweek has seen fit to publish a credulous article trumpeting the old who-wrote-Shakespeare conspiracy theories. I won't give Newsweek a link, but you can click through Amanda Marcotte's smart takedown at Rawstory if you're curious.

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Confidence, Rejection, and Criticism: Advice from Actors to Academics, Part Three

    Christmas week is especially hard for young academics trying to get a job, especially in literary studies. The annual rhythm of the job search means that most first-round interviews (the interviews that take place at major disciplinary conferences over the winter) get scheduled during the first half of December. By this time of year, grad students (and recent PhDs) looking for a job are counting the meager number of schools where their applications are still active; they may have applied to dozens of jobs and gotten one or two first-round interviews to show for it.
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    Ramona's picture

    It's Hard to Be Merry At Christmas When It's "Merry Christmas" Or Else

    The last time I wrote about Christmas I thought I was being pretty polite, considering the message I was getting from my friends and relatives and neighbors at the height of the War on Christmas.  To wit:  How DARE you even THINK about not wishing me a Merry Christmas!  Which, of course, led me to respond by pleading "not guilty"--which caused me to tell a lie at Christmas since I didn't feel the least bit guilty. Why would I?

    Doctor Cleveland's picture

    Turning Down the Imaginary Car (Advice from Actors to Academics, Part 2)

    I blogged earlier about how the academic job search can be framed like the search for an acting job (where the odds are incredibly steep, rejection is pervasive, and the stakes feel deeply personal). Today's post is a second installment of advice from Robert Cohen's classic Acting Professionally, a very career-specific book of advice that I have found applicable to other careers.

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