Monthly Archives: April 2008

Moodsy and Compost Brite

Maybe you hadda been conscious in the 1950s to appreciate the …erm… poignancy of this, which arrived via the usually sober-sided Crooked Timber, but the whole awful savor of the 1950s is available, in color, for your delectation:

…and this one is, as they say, just soooo wrong:

Gluttons for punishment (i.e., those who did watch daytime TV in the 1950s) might check out cartoondump on YouTube. Frinstance, I’m sure that some of you will click to see Moodsy the Clinically Depressed Owl sing Dry Heaves.

links for 2008-04-17

Three more snippets

To persuade you that McDaid’s Keyboard Practice belongs in your life, I offer these:

Of software:

These tools are all written by programmers driven by frightful agendas: lobbying memos from marketing, quarterly marching orders from managers, apologetic memos from engineering VPs describing overblown promises made to analysts by desperate CEOs, pet peeves, side bets on Easter eggs, crank theories, smoldering resentment over midyear reviews, bad habits from college programming courses, and the numb, looming horror of fixed ship dates. It’s a wonder any of this stuff works. Ever.

Of the sorting of the ambitious young:

They all dream of becoming the Elect – until they spend long enough in the City to realize that dreams don’t come true. The culture protects itself from an excess of artists by throwing up filters: editors, critics, teachers, device logging, all the machineries of meritocratic Selektion. Someone needs to determine where the culture will invest its reproductive capital. (“Money’s own genitals!” yelped Rilke, but we never learned who he was transcribing.)

The downside, as always, is time lags, slippage, human error, and an inevitable overgating. Are a few false negatives too high a price to pay?

Of the limitations of the ambitious young:

But their understanding of the world has been shaped by the presuppositionless “now this”-ness of the Net. Everything to them is sequence; flipping through the world by remote control, reality is just one damned thing after another. Their narrated digital space is not a medium that promotes reflection or deductive logic. And their induction never pushes past vague first-order syntheses; they’ve been taught to distrust master narratives, and schemas, res ipsa loquitur, are always tools of oppression.

No wonder they can’t play Bach.

On teachers, and teaching

I still find myself gnawing on the old bones of what it is to Teach, and to Learn. Now and again a ray of clarity breaks through the fug, and today’s case in point is Daniel Holz’ Ave atque Vale in honor of John Archibald Wheeler, the link for which was forwarded to me by Nick. I’ve known a couple of Teachers of that too-rare sort, and it’s worth considering why there aren’t more of them… what it is about the institutions that (occasionally) contain such wonders that doesn’t nourish their development, and reward their enterprise.