Friday, January 20, 2012

A Selection of Random Links

After Wednesday's blackout, it appears the interwebs are buzzing with interesting stories this morning. Or perhaps I should credit my friends' Friday procrastination instead; I've found all of these posted by my facebook and/or twitter colleagues. Regardless, because I've come across such a diverse array of interesting things this morning, I don't have a coherent idea to post about; instead, you get a smidgen of many different ideas.

So, in no particular order, I offer you:

A proposal to eliminate university tuition
-- With all the crazy shit that's happened at the UC schools recently, this is actually positive information. From the article, "On Wednesday, a group of students at UC Riverside presented a proposal to UC President Mark Yudof that would abolish tuition - and he’s actually considering it." The best thing about it, at least from this short article, is that the plan actually makes sense.

An indicator that I truly am old -- Nothing says "you're not a kid anymore" like the news that your favorite childhood movie is being remade. And now, The Princess Bride is the victim. I'll grant that this cast/director could be a lot worse, but still, they're messing with perfection and I am not pleased.
Comedy, satire, and politics -- and the hazy borders between them. Some of my former Penn State colleagues and I recently had a long, involved discussion on facebook about Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart and political satire. It started with this article, and then this one, which I'd read a few days before, and the link I started with addresses some of the issues we'd been discussing. I will say that I'm not 100% sold on Colbert in many ways, that I prefer Stewart's approach; but I also acknowledge that Colbert's recent "long-form journalism" (as this article calls it) re: campaign finance, super PACs, etc is pretty effective in showing a non-expert audience exactly how fucked up the system is.

Another serious-comic piece -- which I relate to all too well. Maybe is running out of ideas, but this one on "The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor" is really on-point. I've had this conversation with a couple of friends of mine, one of whom grew up with less than I did (and I grew up firmly working class, if not "poor" exactly) and the other who grew up in a privileged suburb; the insidious effects of poverty are easy to under-estimate, especially for people who've never been there as well as those who've gotten past that income level. This piece, which is humorous in many places, does a great job of explaining some of them.

And a bit of bad news from India -- I adore Salman Rushdie. I first read him in high school, and my mother disapproved. I've read nearly all his books. I even used a quote from one of his essays as an epigraph for my MFA thesis. I follow him on Twitter. And I find it so ridiculous, and sad, that his life is still being threatened. This article is interesting as well in its discussion of literary festivals, and the question of what happens when these events (or any events) grow too big too fast. It also makes me both sad and relieved to be missing the AWP festival next month.

And I believe that's it for today. I need to get off the couch, run some errands, clean my apartment, and get ready to meet up with friends this evening where I get to hear about L's trip to Costa Rica. Yay! Have I mentioned how much I love my life?

Afterthought: in an effort to not be too "cheery," I'll also give you this morning's small stone:

the furnace works
for two solid hours
warming the morning rooms
enough to move
I don't get up until I can feel my nose

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