11 October 2013

Just Beyond Avenue Q

This delayed bit of nothingness brought to you by the number 16,699,421,000,000 and the letters G, O, and P

  • Thus far, this year's Nobel Prize Winners seem very much like each of the last few years. The continued anti-Americanism of the literature prize jury (hasn't changed much since 2008) may have softened a bit by naming a Canadian, but that's the closest in two decades... which just indicates that, like every other award in the arts, the Nobel Prize committee has its blind spots.
  • The law-journal system in the US is an amazingly diverse, amazingly insane ecosystem, with the majority of journals (student edited, student run, and articles selected by students) often derided as inferior to the frequently hyperideological "peer-reviewed" journals held up as some utopian ideal. Peer review is no panacaea (and when one is arguing doctrine and not data even less so), and neither is an academic landscape dominated by preselected ideologies (yeah, anything I wrote could ever appear in the Supreme Court Review from the Cato Institute... or even the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA, which has its own ideological predisposition in favor of distributors). Instead, the problems with law journals merely reflect those that virtually every other academic field struggles with, for good or for ill, in somewhat different proportions.
  • David Byrne — yes, extreme-padded-shoulders-in-music-videos David Byrne — decries the exclusion-through-pricing of "creative" youth from New York City. Need I mention the irony that this appeared in a London-based paper?
  • Microsoft Word must, indeed, die. I was an early adopter... in 1983. But that was primarily because WordPerfect hadn't yet released its first version with a worthwhile manual. Microsoft Word is the multipurpose woodworking tool of dealing with words: One can, in fact, do some extraordinary writing with it... in spite of, not because of, its defaults. Really: Still defaulting to 10pt Times New Roman? And the less said about the stupid decisions made for file format, the better.
  • Carrie Vaughn artfully summarizes women in comic art and cover paintings in much-more-polite language than I would have. But then, she's much more polite than I am. It's not "look sexy" that's the objective; it's "look sexy without any inconvenient personality."