2

Amy Chua Is a Wimp

Is Amy Chua a tiger mother, for forcing her daughters to practice music four hours a day, and denying them sleepovers?  David Brooks thinks not: “Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls.” Chua is applying to her own kids the lessons she learned from her parents, and she is preparing her kids to…

Thoreau's Cellphone Experiment

When I teach “Intro to Literary Study,” I ask students to review their media consumption, and propose their own “media fast.” It’s not as simple as simply asking them to sign off of Facebook. For instance, I pointed out that I spend far more time on email than Facebook, so giving up Facebook would be trivial and not really all that challenging for me — especially because it’s possible to…

Space Invaders

Type professionals can get amusingly–if justifiably–overworked about spaces. “Forget about tolerating differences of opinion: typographically speaking, typing two spaces before the start of a new sentence is absolutely, unequivocally wrong,” Ilene Strizver, who runs a typographic consulting firm The Type Studio, once wrote. “When I see two spaces I shake my head and I go, Aye yay yay,” she told me. “I talk about ‘type crimes’ often, and in terms…

How should journalists handle incorrect tweets?

One blogging convention that I really like involves making corrections by striking out mistakes, bolding corrections, and adding a parenthetical note or a footnote explaining the change. But when a journalist makes a mistake on Twitter, is it more ethical to delete the post entirely (thus keeping a mistake from spreading) or is it better to leave the mistake as-is, but post a follow-up correction? Poynter.org ran the other on…

1

Complicating Assumptions about Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"

My students are usually captivated by “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and every time I teach it I get a paper or two with a thesis that argues the narrator’s husband is sexist, that the rest cure is demeaning, and/or that the narrator speaks for the author. That’s a bit like “proving” that the river is important in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or that the Puritans oppress Hester in The Scarlet Letter.…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Poet

Spooftacular stuff, from ladysisyphus. What are the plot-threads that clutch, what subplots grow Out of this pulpy rubbish? Son of James, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only Your third-person limited perspective, where your adverbs breed, And the caps lock gives no shelter, the chapter no relief, And the seventh book no sign of surcease. Only There is a horcrux inside this dark cave, (Come into the waters…