Saturday, February 19, 2011

Random Week

This week was my favorite kind of week, intellectually.

Sometimes I read and think about a single writer or issue, and sometimes I'm all over the map.  This week, I was all over the map.

I finished reading Sherry Turkle's book, Alone Together.  I really liked her comments about why we shouldn't think of our addiction to technology as an addiction to technology at all.  In her words, "If there is an addiction here, it is ... to the habits of mind that technology allows us to practice" (288).

She also had a great observation: "Loneliness is failed solitude."  I've often tried to figure out why, although I'm often alone, I'm never lonely.  Apparently, I'm a success at solitude.  Go me.

I'm going to read her earlier work, Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet (1997) next.

I found out a little bit about The Center for Public Integrity.  Unlike The Tea Party, which is 9/10ths uninformed vitriol and 1/10th complete misinformation, The Center for Public Integrity is a nonpartisan organization that supports investigative journalism designed to "make institutional power more transparent and accountable."

I'm sure someone out there has just clicked the link and is already screaming "liberal" and "progressive," but that's not my problem.

I finished reading Daniel Gardner's The Science of Fear.  Some interesting observations about the media and the pharmaceutical industry that I may end up blogging about some day.  Just a warning.

I started reading a 16th-century novel from South Asia by Pingali Surana: The Sound of the Kiss Or, The Story That Must Never Be Told.

I'm still working my way through Ferdowsi's, The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings.  I read parts of it long ago, in grad. school, but I need to get back to it for the course I'm designing on literary and oral traditions in Central Eurasia. 

Next I need to learn about Persian miniatures.

In the meantime, though, The Shahnameh is a pretty interesting 10th-century text, with lots of food for thought about government, monarchy and father-son relationships.  It'll be fun to teach, I think.

On that note, I actually watched a clip of myself teaching class.  A segment of TCNJ MyWay was filmed in my Dostoevsky class last fall.  It's on the TCNJ homepage now. 

My on-screen appearance lasts several nanoseconds, which is exactly as much as I can bear to watch of myself on film. 

I think I'm reading from The Brothers Karamazov in the clip, and I seem to be enjoying it quite a bit (even if no one else is).  This is good, because I do enjoy reading The Brothers Karamazov.  

So this means that my on-screen portrayal of myself as a reader of Dostoevsky is "honest." 

All in all, it's been a good week.

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