What I’m reading

Ken Robinson on “Changing education paradigms”:

“This is deep in the gene pool of public education, the idea that there are really two types of people: academic and non-academic, smart people and non-smart people. And a consequence of that is that many brilliant people think they’re not, because they’ve been judged against this particular view of the mind.”

Rep. Barney Frank smacks down a reporter from a Christian news outlet about the issue obsessing all opponents to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell– “omg what about the showers!”

Some DADT Q&A by Ari Ezra Waldman.

Pat Robertson wants to decriminalize marijuana, and the loony tunes commenters at The Blaze agree, while failing to understand that it’s mostly the fault of people just like them that it’s still illegal.

Warren reviews the year’s best and worst albums at Aural Eyes. The Top Ten are here.

Lisa of Naked Conversations discusses a different strain of “mean girls” that she hadn’t considered before:

…[Y]our average guy in a gym might—and everyone’s qualifying here, because this is just so messy and awful that we’re all bound to hurt each other’s feelings, and there’s no help for it—just might, see a cute girl dressed in somewhat provocative gym-wear who is also ignoring his (obvious?) desire and decide that she’s deliberately provoking, teasing, him, just to be mean. Who knows, maybe we up the ante if she’s at a night club in something skimpy and she dances with him. Maybe we don’t. I don’t fucking know. None of us really do, I imagine. And nobody seems to be talking about it, which seems to me to be the real problem.

Have you read, seen, or heard anything interesting lately? Link to it in the comments!

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6 Responses to What I’m reading

  1. Ben says:

    I’m not reading anything current but because I got a Sony e-Reader for Christmas I will be reading all sorts of things that I have either missed in my earlier life or never knew about. I’m reading some classics by authors like E.M. Forster, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, Kenneth Grahame and other. All for free from Gutenberg.org

    • April says:

      How do you like the e-Reader so far? I am on the fence about those things, but honestly, I’ve never even used one. I just wonder if reading them actually hurts people’s eyes, or if it’s easier or more difficult to get engaged in a book without the actual physical book.

    • Ben says:

      I like it very much. I won’t stop reading real books, especially since the price of e-books is climbing up. I’ll go to the library and check out more current things but right now I’m happy with my new toy. As I mentioned, it’s full of Gutenberg books, P.G. Wodehouse short stories, F. Scott Fitzgerald, etc.

      One of the advantages is having 30 books on one device and not having a stack of 30 books on the floor or the night table. I can easily go from book to book and easily add new books as I come across them. All the bookstores have bargin-priced books as well as some free books (not that many and not that good in my humble opinion).

      I, too, was on the fence about e-readers but after looking at them and playing with them in the bookstore I’ve come to like them. They will never replace real books for me but I’m finally reading again. I stopped for a while and I’m glad to be back in the habit.

  2. davidk25 says:

    I was given (I didn’t ask for it, just let me make that clear) but I was given an Amazon Kindle for Christmas – it took me about 25 minutes to give in to the temptation of E-book piracy, although I’ll second the shout out to Project Gutenberg – amongst others I got a copy of The Canterbury Tales from there, and Walter Bagehot’s Lombard Street – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lombard_Street,_London in a spirit of plus ça change…

    The main thing I’ve been reading on it though is The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson which I’ve been enjoying a lot and hasn’t been very well served by it’s press coverage, which made it sound like a satire of anti-Zionist Jews in the London media/politics scene, while in fact this covers only about 1/3 of the book. In fact the book covers the lives of three men and how they relate to their ethnicity and their relationships with women. I suppose I could say that it has a “Politically Incorrect” attitude, but that often means “(borderline) racist and sexist, (not) funny enough to get away with it (delete as appropriate)” – instead it just feels to me to be honest and not embarrassed at not always conforming to what you “have to” or “can’t” or “shouldn’t” say/feel about ethnicity, or religion, or male attitudes to women when these conflict with drawing convincing characters and not just treading on toes for the sake of laughs as most things described as “gloriously un-PC” would.
    The really interesting thing is, I can’t remember reading another book that actually covers in detail what it’s like to be a member of an ethnic majority (English) trying to relate to members of an ethnic minority (Jews.) This should be a really rich theme for contemporary English lit, what with ‘White America’ dipping into a plurality from a majority over the next 50 years, and all of the many complex ‘niceties’ (in all senses of the word) about ethnicity that we have in Britain. Any suggestions from anyone else?

    I’m not sure if Americans and other Foreigners can still listen to BBC radio, but if you can may I recommend Thinking Allowed’s Christmas and Class episode?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wr5mw

    What were your thoughts about Ken Robinson’s speech? have you seen the full thing?

    • April says:

      I haven’t seen the full thing! Thanks for linking to it; I’ll check it out tonight.

      I really enjoyed the snippet I posted. I completely agree with him, actually, especially with the part I quoted. I think he makes a great case for reforming public education in a way that no one is really talking about, even though everyone is talking about reforming public education these days.

      I think it’s really important that we, as a society, don’t regard craft and trade workers as though they are simply “laborers,” and take that further and not regard “laborers” as unskilled or uneducated. It’s a real disservicce when you consider the work and knowledge that go into such jobs, like construction, plumbing, cabinetry, etc.

      We get some BBC programming here on the actual radio (on our local NPR member station, where I’m at), but I’ll check out the link for the Christmas and Class show you gave.

  3. Melissa says:

    Lol, yes, those TOTALLY PROVOCATIVE women at the gym…the sweating, the grunting, the boobs smooshed down by sports bras, the BO…how can they not notice how turned on the men (who, as far as I can tell, are also only particularly concerned with their own workouts) are getting by their provocativeness?? 😉

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