Thursday, September 23, 2010


Here is the reaction from my colleagues in the psychology department to a proposed undergraduate general education course on Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams:

We would be concerned if students had an academic experience at [our University] that endorsed psychoanalysis as a viable approach to personality and the meaning of dreams in an era where psychological inquiry has for decades relied on scientific methods that have dismissed psychoanalysis along with phrenology, astrology and other invalid explanations of human behavior.
Salvidor Dali's 1939 sketch of Freud.
It's not that the psychology department itself has any interest in teaching courses on Freud. This we knew already. However, the fact that they wish to prevent any "academic experience" of Freud by students anywhere at our university is new.

I don't believe these objections will prevent the course from being offered, but it will consume the time and energy of many people around campus. This is the level of intellectual debate that occupies much of my time as an academic. Some days it strikes me as comic. Other days, it just makes me sad.

Perhaps the next course I propose will be "Psychoanalysis, Phrenology and Astrology." That should make for some entertaining committee meetings at the very least.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Climate Change For Gardeners

These maps are from the Arbor Day Foundation. They show the gardening zone changes in the US from 1990 to 2006. If you follow the link, you can see a nice animation of shifts.

Since gardeners are everywhere, I would have thought that such easily visible changes in the zone maps at your local nursery would be simple evidence for climate change that cut across ideological boundaries. Evidently, not.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fight For Your Long Day

Duffleman (or "Duffy," as he is called) is the creation of Alex Kudera, a longtime Philadelphia adjunct whose novel, Fight for Your Long Day, is about to be released by Atticus Press. Duffy's narrative on this long day catalogs a list of the kinds of insults that are part of an adjunct's daily existence -- and documents, too, his continuing sense of obligation to his students.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Get Over It

Here's a picture of actor Ian McKellen at a protest over Pope Benedict's recent UK visit. Most of the protesters' shirts read "Some People Are Gay. Get Over It." Sir McKellen's is wonderfully different.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blake It Yourself!

I may have to try this. I think an authentic Nayland Blake hanging on the wall of my office would be pretty kickass.

Two phrases any contemporary artist is apt to hear are “That costs how much?” and “Hell, anyone could do that!” and what the hey, sometimes it’s true. There’s a lot of art out there I’d love to own, but can’t afford, and I have a lot of friends who can’t afford to buy my work. So here’s my solution: once a month I’ll give you step by step instructions for a piece that I have specially designed for this website. You can make your very own Nayland Blake, with a certificate of authenticity. I’ll try to keep the material costs low, the skill level easy and once you’ve got your finished piece, you can send me a picture of the results and I’ll post it here for the world to see.

Friday, September 03, 2010