1 year ago
1 year ago
Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we’d pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we’re only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we’re considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that’s a pretty narrow vision.
2 years ago
It seems that racist fans of The Hunger Games are also very bad at reading comprehension, expressing their outrage via Twitter over the fact that two characters — who are both described as having “dark brown skin” in the book — were portrayed by black actors in the film.
I read some of the tweets last night (Jamelle Bouie retweeted a bunch of them and there’s a Tumblr blog dedicated to finding and publishing them); they made my stomach churn. Prior to seeing these tweets, I didn’t have anything at all to say about The Hunger Games: I haven’t read the books, I haven’t seen the movie, and doing either of these things isn’t at the top of my list.
But, of course, now I have a comment:
In all honesty, I’m not at all surprised by the sentiment, as I have a pretty good idea that we’re not living in the post-racial paradise of (some of) our dreams and, as an educator, I know that reading comprehension is sorely lacking in this country.
But I really am shocked that people want to tweet their racism and stupidity out to the universe. I continue to long for the day when racist idiots keep their idiocy to themselves as I really believe that’s the first step in doing away with the idiocy altogether. As the philosopher Richard Rorty once wrote, “what people cannot say in public becomes, eventually, what they cannot say even in private, and then, still later, what they cannot even believe in their hearts.”Apparently, we’ve still got a very long way to go even to get to that point.
 Richard Rorty, “What Can You Expect From Anti-Foundationalist Philosophers?: A Reply to Lynn Baker,” 78 Virginia Law Review (April 1992), 725-726.
2 years ago
Since the mid-1990s, the Walt Whitman Archive has been engaged in an ambitious project to digitize Whitman’s notebooks, manuscripts, essays, letters, journals and key contextual resources into an integrated and user-friendly website. In 2007, the Archive moved to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and under the co-direction of Ed Folsom and Kenneth Price, has made exciting developments into both the public understanding of Whitman, as well as the potential for digitization in the future of academia.
“We’ve been going around to more than 30 different libraries and other kinds of repositories around the country and to some extent around the world. We’re gathering all of those poetry manuscripts, purchasing high-quality scans of them, putting them up on the web, transcribing those sometimes very messy manuscripts, and then providing annotations, explaining them and dating them.”
This process is laborious, to be sure, but represents what is likely a massive switch in scholarly research. In Price’s mind, the advent of technology allows machines to zero in on linguistic, cultural and textual patterns we were previously unaware of throughout history.