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Cylons Are The New Tribbles

'I played Othello once.'

A few months ago, as some of you are aware, the Chronicle of Higher Education posted an essay by one “Ivan Tribble” warning academic job-seekers against the perils of blogging. The essay triggered considerable indignation from Blogtown, lots of discussion about the rewards and pitfalls of this new medium, a pseudo-retraction from the pseudonymous Tribble, and more Star Trek riffs and Tribble / trouble / tribulation puns than one would think the infrastructure of the internet capable of sustaining. [For my mom: What’s a Tribble?] My man Ralph Luker, who’s got more links than the PGA, provided a round-up of comments on Tribble from the history district of Blogtown. And as Exhibit A in the case for blogging on the job hunt, he offered yours truly! (Plus the brilliant Caleb McDaniel.) Thanks for the shout-out, Ralph. I actually have it both ways: I have a blog, but to please the Tribbles of the world, I never post on it.

I wasn’t going to say more about the Tribble troubles myself because a) all the other folks Ralph linked to have already done a fine job defending academic blogging, and b) every time you blog about blogging, a puppy dies. But I did take the time to answer Rebecca Goetz’ survey on blogging and the job hunt, and my answer got long enough that I thought I’d excerpt a bit of it here. […]
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Let Them Eat Wireless

In which Yr. Humble Correspondent tries his hand at that most dee-verting genre of blog posts, impotent griping about the slings and arrows of outrageous customer service.Calamity Jon Morris, the Gen-X Winsor McCay, wrote in his weblog the other day: “While thousands upon thousands have lost everything they ever owned, their homes, their families or their lives, I remain very angry at Netflix for dragging its feet on my latest returns. I may just be a monster.” I know how you feel, Jon. I myself feel a bit of a monster for posting the following. It does me little credit to moan about having no telephone while so many have just lost their homes. On the other hand, there were people suffering in the world long before Hurricane Katrina. What are we the bloggers of the world supposed to do, keep our whinging to ourselves until all of the world’s real problems are solved? Unlikely.

So, L & I moved into our new home two months ago. We love it. A downstairs and an upstairs, shiny appliances, funky details, a yard, a garage, a hidden treasure (allegedly), and the cutest little tree-lined street you’ve ever seen. Anyone who hadn’t been paying Boston rents for the last decade would judge it a modest little starter home, but I feel like an English colonist surveying the New World: “We will NEVER use up all this space! Never in a million years!” But there’s always a but, isn’t there? Here’s ours…
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The Good Flood

What has happened down here, is the wind have changed…

One of those odd synchronicities that seem to accompany natural disasters like spooked horses and whining dogs: the week before Katrina, I happened to be reading up on the Louisiana flood of 1927, in James Cobb’s The Most Southern Place on Earth and John Barry’s Rising Tide. The American Studies course I’ll be teaching this year is built around a series of “places in time.” Each week or two, we’ll examine an event or site or moment where “America” and what it meant was constructed, contested, or otherwise up for grabs: the Boston Tea Party, Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and so on. I wanted to get a little farther off the path beaten by textbooks and survey courses, and I’d thought about including the 1927 flood. But with a historian’s unerring sense of topicality, I decided not to, three days before Katrina hit.
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Ahoy-Hoy

Wow. That is the longest I have ever gone without internet access. Except, I suppose, from birth until 1993. I still don’t have internet at home—or a @%#$! telephone—but finally my office is equipped. You might think I could have logged in over the summer at the library or something, but come now: a grown man doesn’t blog standing up.

So. What did I miss in the last three months?