Thursday, January 10, 2008

God in the Newspaper

For you Rovers who think that God has disappeared from public life: I was reading my local paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune, this morning and I came across an article that featured the Conde Nast "It List" of places to visit in 2008. Drum roll please.

St. Lucia
Hainan Island, China
Puerto Escondido and the Oaxacan Coast
and yes, you better believe it...
San Diego, California
I'm sorry Kevin, I guess Florida just doesn't cut it.

The more interesting thing though is this quote from the article:

"People love lists - they take an incredibly complex body of material and reduce them to utter simplicity," said Robert Thompson, a professor and director of the Bleier Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. "And it's been going on for a millenium. God did it with the Ten Commandments: '10 Ways to Be a Good Human Being'"

Because the Ten Commandments are just as arbitrary as some hear-say must travel list. Furthermore, why does Syracuse have a Center for the Study of Popular Television? How academic can that be. It makes me lament the fact that Hesburgh dismantled Notre Dame's Communications department in the 70s because too many athletes were enrolled. We get the Center for Ethics and Culture instead. Which isn't bad, but it's not TV, cmon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Larry Craig Failed This One

The course that Michigan taxpayers just couldn't do without at UM:
English 317 - How to be Gay: Male Homosexuality and Initiation

From the course description:

Gay men do some of that learning on their own, but often we learn how to be gay from others, either because we look to them for instruction or because they simply tell us what they think we need to know, whether we ask for their advice or not.

'Course, most of us don't need classes for that. Usually we just go where the crowd is and let the house music and Purple Rainbows take care of the "initiation." (Red Bull and Vodkas? I don't know what the "in" gay drinks are. Maybe I do need to take a course on this after all...)

Only one question can spring to the mind of the critical observer: What in the world does gay initiation have to do with English?

The professor answers that gay initiation has three links to English, "(1) as a sub-cultural practice — subtle, complex, and difficult to theorize — which a small but significant body of work in queer studies has begun to explore; (2) as a theme in gay male writing; and (3) as a class project, since the course itself will constitute an experiment in the very process of initiation that it hopes to understand."

I say nothing at all. That's why every school needs a Gender Studies Department like ours! To provide a context for the courses on gay initiation!

Hat Tip to James Kushiner at Mere Comments.
Here's our football season. In 9 minutes.

Too early to declare us contenders for 2008?

Confusion Breeds Communication

As the first two primaries are in and showing different winners, I hope that the race will stay open to all candidates. This will enable voters to learn about their choices in a deeper way than normal. This is the first election in decades that lacks a sure candidate for either party. And for a nation seeking more from its officials, this can only be a good thing. Knowledge of a candidates articulated positions will increase the voters ability to make the correct choice for their respective parties and the nation. Elections can only truly work when this knowledge is out there, so hopefully the media will pressure candidates to elucidate their opinions and stances. Hopefully, the larger slate of candidates will lead to better choices for the true elections, better communication to the voter, and better ideas to improve this great nation of ours.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Easter Come Early

Despite Ireland's present economic boom resulting from the Celtic Tiger, I have been sorely disappointed by Irish capitalism throughout my studies here. 90% of the cheeses on offer in supermarkets are cheddar: red cheddar, white cheddar, mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, mature cheddar, very mature cheddar. I hardly eat anything else. The portions are smaller. The chicken isn't pumped with growth hormone. The eggs are the brown kind whose shells splinter really badly and chips of brown egg shell wind up in your omlette (which is filled with, you guessed it, grated cheddar cheese). The fruits and vegetables for sale are mostly the ones which are in season (and potatoes are always in season!) I got sick this week and discovered to my deep annoyance that Ireland doesn't have applesauce. I asked one of my Notre Dame friends what you're supposed to eat when you're sick in Ireland and she aptly responded: "potatoes. mashed potatoes." No thank you.

However, there is one respect in which Irish consummerism trumps American: They start celebrating Easter immediately following New Year's with the abundant availability of Cadbury Creme Easter Eggs. I'm not giving up sweets this year for Lent. No, I am going to sit back and eat as many chocolatey Cadburries with that delightfully coloured mock yolk and eggwhite from now through Pentecost while you all have to wait for Dyngus Day. Cheers.

(clicking on the title of this post takes you to a website with a thorough history of the triumph of the Cadbury Creme Egg)