“[A]t about the 10th, I started feeling as if it was inevitable — that it is going to get us all and there is nothing we could do to stop it.”
Today has been a day filled with making progress on a slew of different writing projects, adding a paragraph to this one, reviewing some comments on that one, thinking about some ancillary materials to go with another. It’s also been filled with email, and report outlining, and note-taking.
In fact, it’s been the kind of day that often makes me think “shoot, I didn’t get any writing done at all today,” when honestly, if I had a Fitbit for my keyboard, keeping track of the number of words I produced, I’d probably be nearing my daily goal.
Which is to say that, given the realities of job and life and priorities and such, my goals could use a bit of recalibration. Little steps here and there represent progress, if perhaps not on the path that has been most clearly marked out in my head. Honoring that progress as progress is probably important for my general sense that things are still moving, however it may appear.
The same holds for this space. As you may have noticed, I’ve gotten a bit active here again of late, but not in the big think-piece way I used to be. I have neither energy nor inclination for that kind of work. What’s happening here is small, bits and pieces of thoughts, things I’m reading and seeing, stuff I want to remember. But so far, at least, it’s having the effect of re-engaging me, making me look at the world like a person who wants to share parts of it, and sometimes even has things to say about it. And that’s perhaps the best of what this space, and my writing, have ever done.
Please, please, please, somebody tell me that iTunes 12.3 undoes the certainty with which 12.2 decided that about half of my e-books were #actually audiobooks, no matter how many times I told it otherwise, thereby completely borking my device-syncing process?
A gorgeous cover, and a beautiful video, from an a cappella group at JMU.
I am utterly, utterly crushed by this story. What a way to destroy the inventive spirit not just in this kid, but in so many surrounding him. But some folks are seeking ways to respond:
— Anil Dash (@anildash) September 16, 2015
Thank you fellow supporters. We can ban together to stop this racial inequality and prevent this from happening again pic.twitter.com/fBlmckoafU
— Ahmed Mohamed (@IStandWithAhmed) September 16, 2015
David Skinner’s fascinating history of the Library of America details both the slow path to overcoming ingrained resistance to the project (including then Librarian of Congress Daniel Boorstin’s “serious doubts about the very idea of an American canon”) and the ways in which the project was connected with the MLA’s Center for Editions of American Authors, a progenitor of today’s Committee on Scholarly Editions.
This is another in a periodic series of updates in which I announce that I’m trying to work my way back into running a bit more regularly once again, and invite you to find me on Runkeeper if you’re doing the same.
I think now the greatest challenge to changing the system from within is changing the system within. Graduate education is the feeder for a kind of strong culture that is far more binding than the gears of bureaucracy are. Make no mistake, the greatest obstacle to a revolution in higher education is the faculty.
Alex Halavais, “Why I Stay”
There are good and careful interpreters, and bad ones. Part of the job of the person who is in love with history is to recognize the difference.
Rebecca Onion, “Vox Victorians”
When I was in sixth grade, I decided that I hated the way that folks where I grew up pronounced my first name (think three syllables), so I convinced everyone to call me by a shortened nickname version (think first initial). This was a fine solution, until I discovered at some point in college that I really liked my actual first name and wanted to use it, but could not convince anyone to drop the nickname.
It took moving across the country, to a place where no one knew me, to make the switch. My first name and I got a fresh start — for the most part. Most of my family still uses the nickname, as do some old friends. They’re mostly forgiven, as people who knew me before 1991 were grandfathered in, so to speak.
Every so often, though, I’ll run across someone who didn’t know me then, but who now knows someone who did. And every so often, one of these people will decide to pick up the nickname, whether innocently or not, whether out of a genuine attempt to be friendly or a condescending familiarity.
Honestly, I do not care why they do it. What I’m mostly interested in here is my own reaction, which is frequently anxious, and often furious.
Part of the deal is that it triggers the same response as when someone gets my name wrong, usually mistaking either my first or last name for the slightly more common variants thereof. It happens to everyone sometimes. It’s an honest mistake. But I’m left weirdly saddened by the sense that I am not vivid enough to be remembered properly, or important enough to warrant correctness, and I never know how to issue a correction that isn’t either overly defensive or fruitlessly unheard. And when it happens more than once, or far enough into knowing someone that they ought to know better, all of that is intensified.
It’s got me wondering a bit about names and attachments, about the relationship between what someone calls you and what you feel yourself to be. Being called by that old nickname today inevitably puts me back in that desk where, on the first day of sixth grade, I made the spur of the moment decision to ask to be called something else, something that might be gotten a little less wrong. The difficulty I had shaking that casual decision to use a diminutive — and the visceral response I have when the wrong person tries to adopt it now — suggest the deep consequences of names, the degree to which they embed themselves wherever it is that identity lies.