Monthly Archives: August 2010

on openness in academia: why I’ll be posting my coursework online

cross-posted at the HASTAC blog.

Academics don’t really like to share.

There are lots of reasons for this, and many of the reasons are built right into the foundations of the ivory tower. We can’t forget that the success of the modern university depends on a scarcity principle: There is important knowledge available inside of those gates, and not everybody can access it, and the knowledge is therefore worth paying for. The more exclusive universities presumably offer more exclusive … Read more

the web is dead. long live kittens!

Here is my new kitten, whose name is Lily Cuttlefish Bugbane McWilliams the Bobcat of the Valley:

Lily the Kitten

I decided to adopt Lily for lots of reasons, but the main one is my 13-year-old cat Max, who has dealt with a set of chronic illnesses for more than half of his life. These are progressive and, ultimately, most likely terminal illnesses, and Max has been slowly but steadily losing weight, muscle mass, and energy for several years. I wanted my next … Read more

Is androgyny in academia a deal-breaker?

file under: let me in, coach–I’m ready to play


Earlier this summer,  I got my hair cut very short in what can accurately be described as a boy style. I know this because after the haircut, I was immediately and consistently mistaken for a boy.


photo of my short haircut

closeup of my haircut

I was surprised and thrilled to be mistaken for a boy, for reasons that are sort of hard to explain. I enjoy performing gender in ways that confuse people. I love seeing a boy with … Read more

Sons of Anarchy returns Sept. 7

The FX series Sons of Anarchy is one of the best dramas on television right now. For reasons that are unclear to me, however, many people whose opinions I deeply respect do not watch this show. I want to make it clear that I believe this is a mistake.

Take Hamlet, Oedipus Rex, and Easy Rider and throw into a tumbler. Add Katey Sagal (Married with Children, Futurama), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Charley Hunnam (Queer as Read more

book review: UR, by Stephen King

Stephen King holds up a pink Amazon Kindle 2

I have one major problem with Stephen King’s 2009 novella Ur, which is perhaps the first creative work written pretty much exclusively about the Amazon Kindle as well as exclusively for the Amazon kindle. My problem is this: Ur, presented as a sort of semi-ironic cautionary tale about trusting new technologies too much, doesn’t understand how people interact with new technologies.

Here’s the plot: Wesley Smith, a thirty-something … Read more

finally someone listens to common sense about Proposition 8

You’ve heard by now, I assume, that U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8, the amendment to the California state Constitution that banned gay marriage.

In explaining his ruling, Walker wrote that

Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in  singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to

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film review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire

Still from The Girl Who Played With FireThe Rejectionist offers a powerful and persuasive feminist critique of Stieg Larsson’s series of mysteries starring Lisbeth Salander. Actually, “critique” is probably too mild of a term; it’s more accurately a “complete smackdown.” She writes:

There are some problems with Dragon Tattoo, and let’s talk about the main one: There are a lot of dead ladies in this book. Literally: hundreds. There are other beefs I have with Dragon Tattoo, on the level of Literature: the plotting is

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