Interview Wednesday. Hope I do well. I realize that, no matter how good you are, it's always an odds game, so I'll try to maximize my probabilities and then just chill out about it. Probably never gets better than a coin flip even when everything is stacked, so no need to feel bad when the coin doesn't come up heads.
Remark about how sucky contemporary literature is: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/print/2010/10/smaller-than-life/8212/ Using Franzen as an example.
The same narrator who gives us “sucked” and “very into” also deploys compound adjectives, bursts of journalese, and long if syntactically crude sentences. An idiosyncratic mix? Far from it. We find the same insecure style on The Daily Show and in the blogosphere; we overhear it on the subway. It is the style of all who think highly enough of their own brains to worry about being thought “elitist,” not one of the gang. The reassuring vulgarity follows the flight of pseudo-eloquence as the night the day.And then something about MFA programs and such, http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n18/elif-batuman/get-a-real-degree
I should state up front that I am not a fan of programme fiction. Basically, I feel about it as towards new fiction from a developing nation with no literary tradition: I recognise that it has anthropological interest, and is compelling to those whose experience it describes, but I probably wouldn’t read it for fun. Moreover, if I wanted to read literature from the developing world, I would go ahead and read literature from the developing world. At least that way I’d learn something about some less privileged culture – about a less privileged culture that some people were actually born into, as opposed to one that they opted into by enrolling in an MFA programme.Take it with a grain of salt, of course, and I want to tread lightly because I don't want to shit publicly on an option Teh With is considering someday. And later in the article:
Why can’t the programme be better than it is? Why can’t it teach writers about history and the world, and not just about adverbs and themselves? Why can’t it at least try? The programme stands for everything that’s wonderful about America: the belief that every individual life can be independent from historical givens, that all the forms and conditions can be reinvented from scratch. Not knowing something is one way to be independent of it – but knowing lots of things is a better way and makes you more independent. It’s exciting and important to reject the great books, but it’s equally exciting and important to be in a conversation with them. One isn’t stating conclusively that Father Knows Best, but who knows whether Father might not have learned a few useful things on the road of life, if only by accident? When ‘great literature’ is replaced by ‘excellent fiction’, that’s the real betrayal of higher education.
And Key Opinion Leaders: http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/124335/ The comments are particularly illuminating, discussing how the article is misleading and where it is accurate.
I've been thinking about recruiting lately, both personally and professionally, because I'm interviewing for a job and because I'm sort of supposed to think about how we can measure how effective it is or something like that. It's probably the most critical area of "people decisions" but it's also the one where we collect the least data and drive the most decisions by vague hunches or unconfirmed opinion.
The link I clicked on is something about discounts for MS Office for home use. Yay!
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