Teaching the Holocaust

I assigned book one of Maus: A Survivor’s Tale to a “Writing About Literature” class, the designated writing-intensive course for our English majors. The students discussed the abrupt ending, the use of ethnic stereotypes, and of course the comic book medium itself. One student’s “Hearing through Yiddish… Seeing in Ink…” is particularly thoughtful. About a third of the class went on to read book two, even though it wasn’t on…

Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, and the Computer

Clearly, the computer re-energized Bukowski and gave him new life as a writer. Yet much of Bukowski’s late writing was about old age and death. The computer fit into this. In poems, letters, and in The Captain, Bukowski chronicled his struggles with the computer. The shutdowns, the lost poems, the time at the shop for repairs. This mirrored Bukowski’s own health problems and trips to the hospital. The computer represented…

Does anyone like 3-D?

Movie critics are sometimes asked why all movies cost the same to view, even though some may have cost $100 million to make, and others $500,000. It’s a reasonable question. I suppose the reasoning is that you get about two hours of movie either way. Now 3-D has provided exhibitors with a subterfuge to force consumers to subsidise their upgraded projection facilities — which is deceptive, because most theatres are…