Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dialogue of Cultures

As you all probably know, the Center for Ethics and Culture's annual fall conference is taking place this weekend. This year's title is a Dialogue of Cultures. The keynote lecture was given Thursday night by the Most Reverend Elias Chacour, Archbishop Metropolitan of the Melkite
Catholic Diocese of Acco, Haifa, Nazareth and Galilee. Chacour offered a message of hope for interreligious dialogue and a surprisingly sharp wit.

There were many more presentations on Friday including one given by Alasdair MacIntyre titled "How to be a European: Questions for Tariq Ramadan." Also, Professor George Lopez, Professor of Peace studies, offered a talk on "The Ethics of Exit from Iraq: Insights from Just War thinking.”

Yesterday culminated with a wonderful talk by George Weigel about Pope Benedict's Regensburg address which, like the Archbishop, combined a serious message with a sense of humor. This conference brings together students and intellectuals from all over the world and symbolizes what Notre Dame is about--dialogue in search of truth. If you haven't attended the conference yet this year, I encourage you to make it over to McKenna Hall and join in this dialogue.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Speaking of reading lists...

In the vein of the post below, I found this in Fred Barnes' latest column in the Weekly Standard:
At the end of the session that lasted more than an hour, Bush ran down a list of the books he's reading or plans to. He said he just finished The Great Upheaval by Jay Winik, what he called "a great, great book." Now he's reading a novel, The Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Next he plans to read about the 1800 presidential election, A Magnificent Catastrophe by Edward J. Larson. And his now-departed aide Karl Rove has sent him the new book by historian Joseph Ellis, American Creation: Triumphs and Tragedies at the Founding.

Coincidentally, President Bush is now reading one of the books off of the list that I posted yesterday in the comments thread below, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. Among my favorite novels, it was unpublished during the author's lifetime, receiving its first printing 11 years after his 1969 suicide. After his mother demanded that Walker Percy read it, Percy was captivated and fought for it to be published. Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for it in 1981.

From Wikipedia:
It is an important part of the 'modern canon' of Southern literature.

The title derives from the book's epigraph by Jonathan Swift: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." (Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting)

The story is set in the city of New Orleans in the early 1960s. The central character is Ignatius J. (Jacques) Reilly, an intelligent but slothful man still living with his mother at age 30 in Uptown New Orleans, who, because of family circumstances, must set out to get a job. In his quest for employment he has various adventures with colorful French Quarter characters.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Top Ten?

Today I found a surprise gem in my on-campus mailbox: The College of Arts & Letters Gazette.


It's really not much more than a trite newsletter, with articles about all the great things being an A&L major can do for you--complete with pages of encouragement for the looming post-graduation job search that is often difficult for the PLS major lacking marketable skills.

The strangest thing (aside from the trivia contest which only the 'cultured' A&L major could possibly succeed in) must be the list of "10 Books all students should read before they graduate," compiled by Prof. Teresa Ghilarducci of the Economics Department.

In no particular order...

- Envy by Joseph Epstein (2003)
- The Overspent American by Juliet Schor (1998)
- Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury (1999)
- American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser (1925)
- The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell (1975)
- The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (2004)
- Golden Notebooks by Doris Lessing (1962)
- Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers by Robert L. Heilbroner (1953)
- The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy: An Economist Examines the Markets, Power, and Politics of World Trade by Pietra Rivoli (2005)
- A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul (1979)

Granted, having looked up each of these on Amazon, most of them don't seem half-bad. But they are not quite what I was expecting from a list of necessary texts for liberal arts majors. Perhaps a classic of the Western canon (or two...) might have been a good suggestion?

Worst Football Team, But Still the Most Valuable

Worst Football Team, But Still the Most Valuable

Despite our horrendous football season, we still topped Forbe's list as the Most Valuable Program in College Football. Here's part of the press release.

According to Forbes, "The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish, worth $101 million, is the most valuable team in college football. Unlike the other programs on our list, Notre Dame's athletic department operates under the umbrella of the university and is not run as its own distinct entity. As a result, a much higher share of profits are retained by university for academic use. The football team's contribution to academics totaled $21.1 million for the 2006-2007 season--that's as much as the next five most valuable teams contributed to their respective schools combined. Operating independent of the conference system allows Notre Dame to keep the entire $9 million in annual television revenue it gets from NBC, owned by General Electric."

Here are the rankings (value and profit listed in millions of dollars): School Value Profit Comment

1. Notre Dame $101 $45.8 Football contributed $21.1 M (million) to academic programs
2. Texas $92 $46.2 Earns $12 M annually from premium seating, with more to come
3. Georgia $90 $43.5 $60.3 M in football revenue last year was highest in SEC
4. Michigan $85 $36.2 Next year brings 83 luxury suites and 3,200 club seats at $226 M cost
5. Florida $84 $38.2 Revenue last year increased $11 M to $58.9 M in title season

6. LSU $76 $31.7 Addition of eighth home game added 11% to value in one year
7. Tennessee $74 $17.3* Four renovations in 10 years have added 10,000 seats and 78 suites
* Football program also contributed $16.2 M in donations to Volunteer Athletic & Scholarship Fund via ticket reservation fees
8. Auburn $73 $33.9 Home games produce $50 M in incremental spending in Lee County
9. Alabama $72 $31.8 Saban's $4 M salary is highest in college football history
10. Ohio State $71 $26.6 Bucks led Big Ten in revenue at $59.1 M, also led expenses at $32.5 M

11. Oklahoma $70 $18.5 2004 renovation added 27 suites and 2,500 club seats
12. So. Carolina $69 $28.9 Value increased 22% last year, best of top 20 teams
13. Penn State $69 $29.4 Second-largest stadium in country sells out every game
14. USC $53 $13 Most valuable Pac-10 program saw value go up 7% in last year
15. Arkansas $53 $19.3 Incremental spending in county: $7.3 M per home game

16. Texas A&M $50 $20.5 Projecting $9.5 M in broadcast revenue next season
17. Washington $50 $19.9 AD Todd Turner lobbying for expansion of stadium
18. Nebraska $49 $12.4 ----------
19. Mich. State $44 $18.3 Plans larger contribution to academics via Big Ten Network revenue
20. Wisconsin $43 $14.3 Fell five spots due to $7.6 M decrease in profits from a year ago

Monday, November 26, 2007

Website Updates

Three cheers for updates!

The website is about 20% updated. The homepage has new articles, as well as a shmorgasbord of new articles under Campus, for your viewing pleasure. There will eventually be the past 4 issues of the Rover up and ready to read, in time for the last issue of the semester. I apologize for the delay in getting everything on there.


And now, a shameless plug:
The Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture presents its 8th annual Fall Conference, The Dialogue of Cultures, this weekend. The keynote address is Thursday night at 7:30 by Elias Chacour, Archbishop of Galilee, in the main auditorium of McKenna Hall.