Monday Links

  • Your humble editors were lucky to have some good teachers in graduate school. One of them, Stephanie LeMenager, is about to publish her second book, Living Oil: Petroleum Culture in the American Century. If you’d like to see an example of weight and erudition merged with readability, consider it. I am looking your way, university libraries.
  • Britain’s perfectly OK version (I kid, I kid) of the New York Times, the Guardian, recently posted a good 15-minute interview with David Simon, who created The Wire. It complements his role in a 2012 documentary on the drug war, The House I Live In.
  • Thomas Frank has a poignant, righteous essay in The Baffler. It is about US higher education. It is reality-centric. It anticipates what will become a significant literary posture over the next decade: melancholy shame at how we all, but especially the Baby Boomers, constitute one big benumbed “generation that stood by gawking while a handful of parasites and billionaires smashed it for their own benefit,” “it” being the incredible public-university system America put together in the mid-twentieth century with the goal of sustaining a vibrant middle class. Which the system did. For a while. A vibrant middle class being the basis of political and cultural modernity. Then billionaires.
  • Big Ghost is one of the web’s best music critics. I hope his gritty urban slang and frequent aversion to commas don’t upset my progressive white friends. (Hi, almost every reader!) Here is BG’s viciously profane, incisive reading of a Drake album.
  • Finally there is this, a thing existing on the Internet, a movie poster for something called The English Teacher, which apparently earned Julianne Moore a paycheck to spend on a new villa in Monaco. The movie looks lame and forgettable. Further, it is childish to get riled up over a movie. Nonetheless, for some reason the expression on Greg Kinnear’s face makes me want to throw a TV through a wall. He looks like he’s doing a George-Bush-during-press-conferences face. I am going to venture out onto a metaphorical limb here and guess that this film is a nominally literate cornball dipshit’s idea (to use the proper academic terminology) of what teaching consists in. The English Teacher (TET) loves leatherbound books so much that she sits on them. No time for chairs! She’s got students to inspire. And you know she’s smart, because she’s wearing glasses.

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