December 30, 2011, 2:05 pm
December 30, 2011, 1:28 pm
One day last December she was at work when she failed to recognize someone she should have. “My eyesight isn’t very good and I’m not very good at facial recognition,” she explains. “She had a proper go at me in the lift.”
So Emily decided to kill herself.
“Because someone shouted at you in the lift?” I ask.
Jon Ronson on the impact of one, small public-sector cut.
December 30, 2011, 1:16 pm
Some excellent advice.
- It is best to go on the job market your last ABD year, so that you’ll appear fresh AND it’s preferable to have your degree in hand and a few years of teaching experience.
- One should publish aggressively in field-leading journals and seek to publish one’s dissertation as soon as practicable in order to stand out AND it’s best to go the more traditional route and hold back on publishing one’s research so as to save it for the tenure probationary period.
- One should cultivate as wide a teaching competence as possible so as to serve a variety of departmental needs AND one needs to have a clear, narrow specialization.
- One should jump at the opportunity to do adjunct work in order to stay in the field and develop one’s teaching portfolio AND one should be cautious about doing adjunct work lest it leave you with the taint of being a second-rater.
December 30, 2011, 8:54 am
Who knew he was still available for comment?
Breaking a 211-year media silence, retired Army Gen. George Washington appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday to speak out against many aspects of the way the Iraq war has been waged.
The first picture is worth the whole article.
December 26, 2011, 4:46 pm
Partly for fun, partly to make a point, I’m writing this post without referring to any texts, either online or on paper. Which should explain, if not excuse, any paraphrases or errors. The point may or may not become clear by the end of the post. This is not going to be an “FDR is better than Lincoln” post; you have been warned.
December 25, 2011, 3:22 pm
December 22, 2011, 1:15 pm
Part I here.
Now, onto more specific evaluations. (Deep breath) I’m going to eliminate Washington. He is the greatest American statesman, for what he did as a general and leader in the Revolution and what he did as a Founding Father and first President.* As to being the greatest general, he made a number of spectacularly correct decisions during the Revolution, but he was nearly zero for his career in terms of battlefield victories. That’s just too much to overcome.
Next, Winfield Scott. Scott has a remarkably strong case for being the greatest American general. In fact, I’m not sure he wasn’t. In double fact, I think I would say he was the greatest American general in career terms. He started spectacularly well in the War of 1812 (“Those are regulars, by God!“), continued impressively in the Mexican-American War (his capture of Mexico City made both the Mexicans and…
December 21, 2011, 8:29 pm
So the comments on this post got me thinking. Who was the best general in American History? It’s been several centuries, the US has fought lots of wars, and we have lots of famous generals.
So, who is it? Well, first, a disclaimer. As a historian I hate “who is the best…” or ranking lists of all kinds. History isn’t a sport, and it’s not organized like one. Generals don’t often get to fight against one another and certainly generals from the same countries rarely do. They fight in different eras with different resources and different enemies. Generals fight the wars in front of them, not the wars they want and certainly not a standardized war that would allow us to dial out personal differences. That makes rankings unfair, no matter how they are organized.
Nonetheless, it’s the end of the year when rankings flourish like kudzu, and I’m going to do it. Or, at least, I’m …
December 21, 2011, 8:29 am
December 20, 2011, 1:11 pm
I’ve taught the introductory historiography and methods seminar to incoming graduate students three times, and each time I’ve assigned Richard Evans’s Telling Lies About Hitler. Originally, the point in assigning it was to draw a line beyond which respectable historians must not go; together with Ari I had picked a number of other books that showed acceptable, even laudable, creativity in interpreting and extrapolating from sources – Return of Martin Guerre, Unredeemed Captive, others – and I wanted one that showed an unarguably inexcusable abuse of sources, so that we might know the difference. And what better choice than a tale about Holocaust denial?
December 18, 2011, 9:45 am
December 14, 2011, 3:08 pm
December 14, 2011, 8:29 am
One of the most fascinating parts of researching the Boxer Rebellion was the discovery of just how obstreperous ordinary Chinese can be. “Bandit season” (the bandit groups usually included lots of ordinary folks) was well known, so much that in 1932 an English minister prayed “for our preservation during the approaching bandit season, which opens like grouse-shooting about the middle of August, when the millet (perfect cover for bandits) is full grown.”
The pugnacity continues:
Reached by phone on Wednesday, residents said throngs of people were staging noisy rallies by day outside Wukan’s village hall, while young men with walkie-talkies employed tree limbs to obstruct roads leading to the town. Not far away, heavily armed riot police were maintaining their own roadblocks. The siege has prevented deliveries from reaching the town of 20,000, but residents said they had no problem…
December 12, 2011, 12:05 pm
Helen Vendler’s review of the Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove, is quite a piece of work. (It’s been widely noted in the blogosphere, e.g. here, by I think the same Anderson seen commenting on likeminded blogs.)
Dove’s response is well worth reading. But not having been gored directly, the rest of us may wonder if Vendler hasn’t just missed the point. Do we expect of an anthology that it will supply a complete and final list of the “poems to remember?” That’s from the headline, but it does reflect Vendler’s thinking –
No century in the evolution of poetry in English ever had 175 poets worth reading, so why are we being asked to sample so many poets of little or no lasting value?
How flatly she equates “lasting value” with being “worth reading”! For me, these are pretty different categories – especially for recent work, part of whose…