Links for 2010-09-23

  • “Today, for a zillion complicated reasons, many of them having nothing to do with the academy itself, the discrete knowledge that constitutes meaningful cultural capital within various professional and social worlds is much more fragmented, as are those worlds themselves. [...]Sometimes you’ll get this in college, sometimes you’ll get it from friends, and sometimes you won’t get it until later.

    This is fine: I am not one of those pining for the ability to compress the culture back into a tightly canonical straitjacket. What I wonder about is whether we equip our students with the ability to rapidly read, interpret and synthesize the cultural capital of a given professional world, and whether we programmatically help incoming students who don’t already have some of the baseline skills of effective self-presentation develop them by the time they leave.”

  • “According to the poll, Obama has lost favor among many voters who supported his candidacy in 2008 but have since come to doubt he is a mammal. While these Americans concede Obama may not specifically be a cactus, most believe he is a plant of some kind, with 18 percent saying the president is a ficus, 37 percent believing him to be a grain such as wheat or millet, and 12 percent convinced he is an old-growth forest in Northern California.

    When asked why they agreed with the statement “President Obama is a large succulent plant composed of specialized cells designed for water retention in arid climates,” many responded that they “just know,” claiming the president only acts like a human being for political purposes and is truly a cactus at heart.”