Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The licensing and marketing department of this blog has informed me that there are significant problems with Chris Clarke’s world-famous graphic-novel version of What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Two problems, to be exact. Problem number one is that the novel contains too many “in jokes” about academe and blogging, such as references to Ann Althouse, Juan Cole, Stanley Fish, and “choice feminism.” Accordingly, casual readers unfamiliar with recent discussions of these figures and issues have found the novel rough going in places, as have millions of readers confused by the novel’s multiple layers of rich creamery irony surrounding its chewy nougat center.
The second problem is contained in the first, specifically with regard to the “millions of readers.” Not to put too fine a point on it, Clarke’s graphic novel is now outselling my book by a ratio of 30 to 1—coincidentally, the precise ratio of liberals to conservatives on most college faculties. The licensing and marketing department is of two minds about this. The licensing people want me to litigate, on the grounds that Clarke has done irreparable harm to the What’s Liberal? brand and has very likely made it impossible for us to expand into T-shirts and coffee mugs. The marketing people argue compellingly that the electric sheep have already escaped from the pen, so to speak, and that the only way to regain momentum is to get on the sheep train and let the sheep times roll, so to speak. They talk a lot about sheep, those marketing people.
Anyway, I’m pleased to announce that marketing has won this round, and that this blog will now be offering a new product for sale. Just click on the image below to purchase!
This handy volume addresses and answers the major questions raised by What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts (Graphic Novel)? Such as:
• What is the interpretive theory expounded by the teaching assistants of the People’s Revolutionary State University (panel 16)? How does it serve the cause of progressive re-education and universal emancipation?
• How is Chanterelle’s critique of “white privilege” (panel 51) inflected by her status as what Trinh Minh-ha calls the “inappropriate/d other”?
• Why did Comrade Adjunct Professor refuse to take a perfectly good truck to search for the missing teaching assistants (panel 23)? What can we learn from his example?
• How does the novel work to forestall all conservative, i.e. mistaken, criticism of What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts? Pay special attention to the novel’s ovine imagery.
• What does the Kandinsky mural symbolize? Why is it unacceptably formalist?
L & M would also like me to provide updates on other multimedia adapations of my book. First, I want to point out that this item, shamelessly promoted on Pandagon by a certain self-styled liberal avenger, is not an authorized audio reproduction of my work. Auguste illegally relied on my implied oral consent for the production of this audiotape (I believe it was a wink and a nod, to be exact), whereas U.S. Code Title 17 Section 5 clearly indicates that express written consent is required.
On the other hand, this Inside Higher Ed essay by Scott McLemee and accompanying podcast interview (!!!) is the real thing. Really real. We wouldn’t joke around about this. So go ahead and check it out, and discover for yourself why I can’t stand the sound of my own recorded voice. (I also don’t like talking on the phone, either. So these telephone interviews are kinda painful. But thanks to Scott for putting up with my hemming and growling and throat-clearing!)
The intro/outro music on the IHE podcast, by the way, consists of snippets from Baby Opaque’s cover of “Long Black Veil.” Baby Opaque was me, Todd Wilson (guitar), and Michael Dean (bass, vocals). We recorded that catchy little tune in the summer of 1985 at the tail end of a single six-hour session at Don Zientara’s world-famous Inner Ear Studio, back when the studio was housed in Zientara’s basement. The session consisted of twelve or thirteen songs, most of them recorded in one take (of course—the DIY crew wouldn’t have it any other way), and it wound up as our world-famous LP, Fugue in Cow Minor. Our world-famous five-song EP, Pain, Fears, and Insects (1984), was recorded in two hours. (I know, this sounds like something out of the Rutles documentary: our first album was made in two hours—our second took even longer.) Anyway, “Long Black Veil,” with backing screaming vocals from the world-famous Ian MacKaye, was released shortly after Baby Opaque broke up that summer, and it actually got some college radio airplay for a few months. The whole thing is available for your listening pleasure here. (See, it really is Multimedia Wednesday!) You can tell, if you listen very closely to the end of the final verse, that the drummer is kind of exhausted and dehydrated, and yet, in the words of the Maximum Rocknroll reviewer, “spunky.”
What is it doing in the podcast? Why, making it sound mean, of course.