Category Archives: the lost art of intellectual banter

December 26, 2013, 2:23 pm

Click (Dis)Like: Why Social Media Use Is Now A Professional Issue

computerIn my continuing study of Internet rage, I stumbled across this commentary on the Justine Sacco affair. Sacco, you may recall, was the communications director for InterActiveCorp, who tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” before getting on a flight to South Africa.

Upon arrival (the trip takes around 12 hours, an eternity on the web), Sacco found, among other things, that she had lost her job. An initially puzzled discussion about whether she had been hacked resolved itself into a collective belief that the offensive tweet had precedents, and must be genuine. While Sacco had been in the air, as Nick Bilton wrote on December 24 2013, “the Internet turned into a voracious and vengeful mob….people threatened to rape, shoot, kill and torture her. The mob found her Facebook and Instagram accounts and began threatening the same perils on…

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January 3, 2013, 12:13 pm

Day 1 of the AHA: In Case You Hear Someone Shout “BINGO!!!!” In The Middle Of A Panel……

It’s because that person is playing AHA Bingo!!! (Invented by the clever youngsters at Jacksonian America.)

November 16, 2012, 12:30 am

From The Mail Box: Reader Questions Whole Concept Of Academic Conferences

#2012ASA agreed to wait until after the election to deconstruct empire. Subsidize with tax dollars hasta pronto. Hillz

It’s very rare that I get a response to a post on academic conferences like this one. In the comment thread to yesterday’s post, archie_kelvin asks:

A long, long time ago, on the dear departed “Brainstorm” site, there was a long, long thread (in response to a post somewhat like TR’s) about attending an academic conference in a sunny clime, far away from the campuses of most attendees.

archie followed up with a bunch of questions, which I will attempt to answer (and yes, archie, my panel went very well today — thanks for asking.)

Aren’t these things just boondoggles, mini-vacations wholly or partly on somebody else’s tab?

All conferences, in all professions, are at least partly…

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January 5, 2011, 10:34 pm

It’s Safe To Go Back To the Annual Meeting; A Radical Guide To Days 1 and 2 of The 2011 AHA

I just want to say:  gays were not involved in logo design or color choice.

Last year there was quite a hullabaloo about the American Historical Annual Meeting out in San Diego. Doug Manchester, who owns the hotel the AHA chose, had given gobs of money to Prop 8, the anti-gay marriage initiative.  He also got a lot of that money by running a union-free work place.  It was what you would call a lose-lose choice for the AHA, and resulted in a lot of people flying out there to picket, and a lot of other people having to give their papers by sneaking in and out hidden in laundry trucks.  (No, not Really!  That was a joke!)  This year there are no worries: you can come into the hotel without worrying that you will have to cross a queer picket line, or worse, that the hotel bar is off limits to Good People.  We historians are meeting in the People’s Republic of Boston, a city that is unionized …

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June 15, 2009, 6:12 pm

Professors Of Academic Medicine Are Different From You And Me*: Blowing The Lid Off Publishing In The Sciences

The next time a scientist on your Tenure and Promotion committee gets sniffy about the publishing pace of a colleague in the humanities or social sciences, tell them to read this post from Margaret Soltan, our university ethicist on call over at University Diaries. Then tell them to put a sock in it.

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If you are not a literature professor, or even an undergraduate English major as was the Radical, this title derives from the following (undoubtedly apocryphal) encounter between Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald: ‘You know, the rich are different from you and me.’
Hemingway: ‘Yes. They’ve got more money.’

February 16, 2009, 3:27 pm

The Radical Is Reminded Of A Time When Intellectuals Were Witty And Television Talk Shows Were Smart

Because I have no time to post today; and because the pace of the semester has been ramped up to a new level of insanity this week; and because I think everything has been said about the last post that can possibly be said; and because the best way to stop a comments thread is to put up a new post to distract everyone; and because I am not feeling in the least witty, I would like to re-publish this wonderful 1971 clip from the Dick Cavett Show:

I would like to point out that it is not just the lefties (Cavett and Vidal) who are acute and funny (Mailer, although on the left, I know, was just such an ass I don’t know why any of his wives didn’t stab him before he got to one of them.) But Midge Decter’s intervention reminds me that in 1971 conservatives had razor wits too, not to mention good manners and gender politics, which is why in high school I used to subscribe to what became…

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