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In the Big House

Today and tomorrow I’m in Ann Arbor, hoping to avenge Penn State’s “loss” to Michigan by historicizing the post-something cultural formation until people’s heads hurt.  It’s an indirect method, yeah, but I think it’ll work.

Actually I’m doing this lecture as part of the Global Ethnic Literatures Seminar (run by the Program in Comparative Literature) as well as a seminar on the introduction to this and then a class in disability studies tomorrow morning.  So I’ll post if I can, but for the foreseeable future I’ll be pretty busy.

The Global Ethnic Literatures Seminar’s list of invited speakers for the semester is here, and when I first saw it, I reverted to my struggling-mediocre-musician mode and said, “Dang!  I have to follow Seyla Benhabib!  I can’t even open for Seyla Benhabib.” Then I checked out all the hyperlinks on that page, and discovered that while everyone else’s names take you to their faculty pages, mine takes you right back here to this humble blog.  Go ahead, try it.  I’ll wait.

See?  Wasn’t that weird?  The funny thing is that I actually do have a Penn State faculty page, complete with actual academic information (degrees, publications, goals, assists, points, penalty minutes) and everything.  But what’s a mere faculty page when you have a widely-read and annoyingly self-referential blog?  What I really like is this:  whereas when you click on the GELS link to “Seyla Benhabib” or “Saskia Sassen,” you get web pages that feature Seyla Benhabib or Saskia Sassen, when you click on my name, you get the Hansons.

That rocks.  Puttin’ on the foil, coach—every game!  Want some?

And now to avenge that loss.

Update at 11 pm:  Whew—a long and very stimulating day.  So long, and so stimulating, that there’s no way I can come up with a new post.  But I’m happy to say this much:  my talk was so successful that the NCAA has agreed that Penn State actually beat Michigan on October 15, and the BCS and the major polls will be adjusted accordingly.  While that recalibration of the apparatus of social justice is going on, I suggest that you do as I did in my half-hour of down time:  read Judith Miller’s farewell letter in today’s New York Times.  One of the most extraordinary rhetorical performances I have witnessed in recent years, and that’s all I’m sayin’ for now.  But would that I had the time and energy for a good old-fashioned close reading.  Good night and good luck, everyone.

Posted by on 11/10 at 09:17 AM
  1. But what’s a mere faculty page when you have a widely-read and annoyingly self-referential blog?

    Woah, dude, cut it out, you’re making my head spin.  Could you *be* anymore po-mo? smile

    Rock on.

    Posted by Dr. Virago of Quod She  on  11/10  at  11:15 AM
  2. Go kick some maize and blue butt.

    Posted by Matt  on  11/10  at  11:29 AM
  3. I’m going to fearlessly brave the risk of getting a headache at your talk today.  Can’t wait.

    Posted by air  on  11/10  at  11:36 AM
  4. Think of yourself as the Ogie Oglethorpe of Comp Lit.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  11:51 AM
  5. Seriously, I think the script of “Slap Shot” is as smart about gender as “The Last Detail” is about class. Note how the short Canadian player rejects the idea that Ontkean’s character is gay because “‘e’s ‘ung like a ‘orse, man.” Note the exchange between Newman and his ex-girlfriend wo now mostly sleeps with women… his threat to the team owner that her son will grow up “a fag...” The way all the players are grossed out by the one guy’s over-the-top lewdness… Nancy Dowd is terrific. A persistent rumor claims “Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains!”, also scripted by her, was deep-sixed by Paramount because she complained about gender bias on the set. Sure would like to see that movie.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  12:03 PM
  6. Jeez, Mike, did you have to post a link to A*****?  Couldn’t you at least post a link to Powell’s, a *union* online bookseller? (But when buying, of course, go there through the link at powellsunion.com and the workers get a percentage of the sale!)

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  12:21 PM
  7. As a Paterno Family Professor in Literature, do you get invited to Paterno Family Thanksgivings to read selections from George Plimpton’s Paper Lion?

    Posted by norbizness  on  11/10  at  01:06 PM
  8. Yeah, but check out Bruce Lawrence’s groovy page, almost as cool as your blog.

    Posted by A. G. Rud  on  11/10  at  01:13 PM
  9. If Bruce Lawrence’s page is a faculty page with its changing images, cool titles, I wonder what they are smoking at Duke and It is not Tobacco.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  01:18 PM
  10. Couldn’t you work some of that postmodern voodoo on Texas and Miami, maybe even USC?  (Alabama will take care of themselves.) That would be much better revenge.

    Posted by Sean  on  11/10  at  01:25 PM
  11. orangemike, your comment has been referred to this blog’s complaint department and is being processed.  Please check back and try that hyperlink again.  Thank you for your input!

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  03:41 PM
  12. Go Blue!

    (I can imagine Tristan Tzara exclaiming such a thing.  “Go Blue!” What an odd thing to say.)

    Go Blue!

    Like my parents and selected grands and great-grands before me, I went to Mich, loved it, and so on, but my all-time favorite mascot is the Crimson Tide, because it seems completely calculated to make one think of menstruation, which is so strange for a football team, don’t you agree?

    Go Blue!

    Though I gotta hand it to Penn State for having the best college town name ever:  State College!  How deadpan!

    Go Blue!

    Enjoy Ann Arbor.

    Posted by john  on  11/10  at  04:16 PM
  13. If they interrupt you during the lecture, remember, you want that time back at the end, and another 2 minutes extra, minimum.
    Important to get an extra point or six in there after your hour is up…

    Posted by Steinn Sigurdsson  on  11/10  at  04:18 PM
  14. Jesus, Michael. You leave Penn State on its own for one minute and look what happens.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  11/10  at  05:02 PM
  15. Michael, I haven’t been inside the Big House, but they gave us a windshield tour of it when I did the CIC fellow gig in early ‘99, as part of a campus tour and discussion of architecture and planning subsequent to a talk on such by former prez Lee Bollinger. At that time, La Grande Maison had a new maize/but really yellowish McDonaldlike ribbon around the outside top. Is that still there?  I heard many alums were mortified by this Las Vegas look, okayed by Bollinger, of what is a memorial stadium.

    Posted by A. G. Rud  on  11/10  at  06:32 PM
  16. Oddly enough, I saw “Ladies and Gentlemen the Fabulous Stains” on VH1 when I was in seventh grade.  To this day it remains one of my favorite movies.  Copies are hard to come by; I’ve looked on eBay and there are a few but I haven’t gotten around to shelling out the pesos for one yet.

    And Michael, though I’ve never considered myself a football fan (at all), I would ask that you please kick some U of M butt for me.  As a Penn State student, it’s sort of required of me to be outraged.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  07:04 PM
  17. Why, Chris, why did you link that student’s opinion piece? So that I would lose all faith in the world?

    Mental note:  remind husband of chair-pushing duties, sadly neglected over the course of an 8-year relationship.  And I promise to stay out of the factories.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  07:37 PM
  18. ...everyone else’s names take you to their faculty pages...

    Is that Bruce Lawrence’s official faculty page?  If so, he might consider removing the shlocky flash animation that does nothing but show you the name of the link you just clicked on in an excruciatingly slow fade-in/fade-out sequence.

    Posted by  on  11/10  at  08:15 PM
  19. The Hansons kick ass, by the way.  A ghost from the past, or rather ghosts.

    Posted by Matt  on  11/10  at  09:13 PM
  20. Michael,

    Thanks for the amazing talk.  It gave me a lot to think about.


    Posted by air  on  11/10  at  10:05 PM
  21. Thanks for coming, air—and for saying hello in comments, too.  And Chris, I know, I know, I leave Pennsylvania for just two days and they start the auto-da-fé without me.  Grrrrr.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/10  at  11:46 PM
  22. Hey Michael, what air said!  Excellent, head spinning (in a good way—not in that Exorcist way) talk!

    Posted by Dr. Virago of Quod She  on  11/11  at  01:27 AM
  23. Figures---I was still at home in Ann Arbor when you came to PGH, and now I’m in PGH, you go to Ann Arbor. . . .

    AG Rud:  It wasn’t just the alumni who were disgusted by the “halo”; those of us who lived there were shocked and awed too.  They took it down I think less than a year after it went up (I’m not sure it even survived the season).

    Posted by jonathon  on  11/11  at  01:35 AM
  24. oh yeah--- go blue!

    (and go panthers!  eh, who am i kidding.  pitt sports suck.)

    Posted by jonathon  on  11/11  at  01:38 AM
  25. So your newest picture made me laugh.  Out loud, as they say.  I was laughing out loud because of that picture.  LOL.  That whole thing, but for real.

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  02:51 AM
  26. Thanks, Jonathon.  Wonder if there are any pics of the halo around, will have to dig.

    Posted by A. G.  on  11/11  at  07:54 AM
  27. Hee-hee!!!  Yay, you did it, you put the picture up! Oh that just makes my day. grin

    Posted by Dr. Virago of Quod She  on  11/11  at  09:00 AM
  28. Encomium of Judith--Isocrates and Gorgias would be proud.  The weird thing is that she wrote it herself.

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  09:41 AM
  29. Judith Miller’s performance is quite Something, but the utterance revealed at Chris’s link leaves me speechless. Okay, almost speechless. Michael, please return to campus quickly!

    “But in a world where men and women see each other as equals, a man might not open his wallet and show a level of gallantry toward an intriguing woman.” Has this kid never experienced reciprocity based on simple human regard without some power imbalance or economic exchange? Never mind that in his sentence about equal rights leading to equal responsibilities, he forgets not only to include equal access but also to note where men haven’t exactly upheld their end of the responsibilities stick. The above example also suggests Scott should get out a bit more; most men opening their wallets in a drinks-for-casual-conversation situation are probably hoping to ultimately show Something other than gallantry.

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  10:52 AM
  30. Oh, for Heaven’s sake—I had a couple of browsers open at once and thought Chris was referring to this, instead.  Sorry I missed the Daily Collegian‘s op-ed from the president of the Society for Uncreative Anachronism.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/11  at  11:00 AM
  31. Michael wrote: “Sorry I missed the Daily Collegian‘s op-ed from the president of the Society for Uncreative Anachronism.”

    Hey, watch it, Michael; some of the fiercest feminists I know (including the unfierce one I’m married to for almost 25 years) belong to the real Society for Creative Anachronism.  A lot of them, and not just such warriors as Aramanthra the Vicious, could take out the Daily Collegian‘s weinie boy in any fair fight.

    Lord Inali of Tanasi, GDH
    creatively anachronistic since A.S. VI (1971 CE)

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  11:23 AM
  32. But orangemike, that’s the Society for Creative Anachronism.  A completely different outfit, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  11:26 AM
  33. Yup, some of our outfits are definitely… different!

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  11:31 AM
  34. Mike Whitney does Judit---

    “I am gratified that Bill Keller, The Times’s executive editor, has backed off his criticism of me as a prima-Donna who ignores all professional standards. I felt his remarks were unsupported by fact and personally distressing. Some of his comments suggested insubordination on my part, but that is only partially true. I have always done exactly as I please, which is the great advantage of being on retainer to the White House and Pentagon. I expect that Bill now understands that journalistic integrity is not required of state propagandists’.

    I salute The Times’s editorial page for advocating a federal shield law, so that others, like me can disguise their treason behind the 1st amendment. I also want to thank them for obfuscating the facts of the case while I was in prison and, by doing so, concealing their culpability in selling the war to the American people. Also, thanks to the many people who continue to support the war and my humble efforts in that great cause. I went to jail to ensure that America will be bogged down for generations to come in an unwinnable conflict, alienating allies, and killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Most of all, I want to thank those colleagues who stood by me after I was criticized on these pages.

    My response to such criticism will be posted in full on my Web site: JudithMiller.org.

    In my future writing, I intend to continue to do the Pentagon’s bidding; drawing attention to the hobgoblins of Al Qaeda and WMD, which feed the popular imagination and perpetuate the global resource war. I will continue to disparage any nation that rejects the US economic model or denies the inalienable right of Israel to thumb its nose at the world community. I leave knowing that I have disgraced myself and severely damaged the credibility of the media, but trust that The Times will continue to be “a credible organ of capitalism” (Alexander Cockburn) and carry on the proud tradition of slanting the news to meet the objectives of western elites.

    Judith Miller
    New York
    Nov. 9, 2005”

    Posted by  on  11/11  at  06:30 PM
  35. Great stuff—with just one false note: 

    the hobgoblins of Al Qaeda and WMD

    There were no WMD.  There really is an al-Qaeda.

    Posted by Michael  on  11/12  at  08:30 AM





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