Weighing the cost of fear: Is college worth it?
April 16, 2014
I live in a library. Not Hodges, which incidentally houses the Hodges fund — one of the largest in the nation for English departments due to the Hodges-Harbrace Handbook.
No. I live in a library of my own making.
I have read hundreds of books, ranging from the classics of literature ...
To desire freedom is to desire the womb
April 02, 2014
"The Pervert's Guide to Ideology" (2012) is a documentary by Slavoj Zizek, the foremost philosopher in the Continental tradition who has made waves in the intelligentsia for two straight decades since publishing "The Sublime Object of Ideology."
It is long at a bit more than two hours, and it ...
A phenomenology of today's labor force for tomorrow's graduates
March 12, 2014
<p>America will soon receive, as it does every year, the newest members of its full-time workforce from the mouths of its colleges and universities.</p>
<p>We, the beneficiaries of these colleges and universities, will retain their fresh faces and optimism yet. Optimism is not money, however, and it most certainly is not knowledge. So here is a brief list of pointers for any student currently looking to make use of their degree, even as degree creep increases and the labor pool shrinks and bisects into part-time.</p>
<p>You've already been told to network. But between your classes and your social sphere, the networking you have performed probably hasn't been developed with lucrative ends in mind. So use your university experiences as a lesson – the time you wasted ought to have been wasted, if only to make you value those hours more highly than before.</p>
A historian's perspective on modern Marxian influence
March 05, 2014
With five novels and multiple essays published alongside a stint on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jonathan Sperber is much more than a professor at the University of Missouri. Sperber is a historian with extensive knowledge on European revolutions and Karl Marx, which is in the same vein of ...
Poetry paves way to discussion on LGBT issues
February 19, 2014
This Saturday I was chauffeured to Firefly Farms, the brainchild of UT professor Erin Smith, by a kindly man and his guest in a four-door sedan. Along the way I threw up — Valentine's had been a lonely one — and spent a bit of time collecting myself when we reached ...
Q&A with Bryan Borland, famed LGBTQ poetry publisher
February 12, 2014
Bryan Borland of Sibling Rivalry Press has made a name for himself publishing LGBTQ poetry. I caught up with him for an interview.
J.B.: What sort of writers does your press cater to?
B.B.: As publisher, I'm interested in writers who have something to say that hasn ...
What I learned from a week in the Alcoa psych ward
February 05, 2014
For reasons I won't divulge, I recently spent a week in a mental hospital located near Knoxville.
The facility is well-designed, clean, staffed with sympathetic people and filled with a range of interesting patients.
If you have ever felt like university life is making you crazy, it probably is ...
Literature reveals sources of unconscious manipulation
January 29, 2014
Aldous Huxley, the British writer for the counter-cultural milieu, is a name everyone ought to be familiar with.
His "Brave New World" is a mainstay within school curricula, his "Doors of Perception" is on the shelf of every LSD-dropping hippie from the 1960s, and his "Perennial Philosophy" is the book ...
UT professor's artistic, cultural efforts deserve recognition
January 22, 2014
A few days ago, I interviewed University of Tennessee professor and poet Erin Smith about her long-running arts project, Sundress Publications.
She founded it in 1999 and has managed it out of Firefly Farms ever since. While such arts communities are not a strange formation to find in Knoxville or ...
Be wary of today's social hierarchy and your position in it
January 15, 2014
Examine the ontology of any profession. Even you, Volunteer, are in training for a genius and fickle hierarchy designed to make you aspire. Max Weber, the famous sociologist, called such a phenomenon a "rational formalization of society."
It is inescapable, both attainable and yet out of your reach — at least ...
On the Common Core and its discontents
January 08, 2014
The Frankfurt School theorist Walter Benjamin once lamented that art dies when the same model that produced the Ford Model T is applied to art. What of the Common Core, the new rational model of educational measurement schools nationwide, including in Tennessee, are adopting? It is, as student speaker Ethan ...