Tom Bissell writes a letter to Niko Bellic about Grand Theft Auto V

I haven’t played GTAV, and probably never will, but that’s just because I have less time for playing games now. Almost everyone I know who loves video games — myself included — is broken in some fundamental way. With their ceaseless activity and risk-reward compulsion loops, games also soothe broken people. This is not a criticism. Fanatical readers tend to be broken people. The type of person who goes to…


The Case Against High-School Sports

“I’ve been in hundreds of classrooms,” says Singleton, who has spent 15 years as a principal and helped turn around other struggling schools. “This was the worst I’ve seen in my career. The kids were in control. The language was filthy. The teachers were not prepared.” By suspending sports, Singleton realized, he could save $150,000 in one year. A third of this amount was being paid to teachers as coaching…


Should a Journalist Covering Rocky Horror Live Attend the Show in Drag?

Is it a violation of journalistic integrity to participate in an event you’re covering, or is it a powerful, creative technique for reporting an experience from the inside? I spend most of my time as a journalism instructor getting students to pick up the habits of objective reporting (including the convention of the reporter functioning as an invisible observer), but sometimes the story lends itself to the more subjective “new…

In Defense of the Humanities Ph.D.: It’s No Crazier Than Becoming a Journalist

As my own tenure decision loomed, in my darkest moments I consoled myself by noting that, even if I had been denied tenure, I would have spent most of my 20s studying what I love and most of my 30s drawing a steady salary teaching and researching what I loved, along the way managing, by frugal living and entrepreneurial application of my technical skills, to pay off most of a…


Opinion: Don’t link video games with mass shootings

Contrary to Dr. Bushman’s suggestion, violent video games are not a commonality among mass homicide perpetrators. The impression that a link exists is a classic illusory correlation in which society notes the cases that fit and ignores those that don’t. When a shooter is a young male, the news media make a fuss over violent video games, typically forgetting to inform the public that almost all young males play violent…


An Adjunct’s Death Becomes a Rallying Cry for Many in Academe

Because I blogged Kovalik’s editorial yesterday, it’s only fair that I also publicize an article that includes Duquesne’s side of the story. A university spokeswoman provided a statement in which Duquesne’s chaplain and director of campus ministry, the Rev. Daniel Walsh, says that Ms. Vojtko lived at the university’s Laval House, a building for undergraduates studying to enter the priesthood, for several weeks during the past year, at the university’s invitation, after…


Anti-Semitic Times Square Elmo admits to Girl Scout extortion attempt

The headline made me click the link, and the lead made me blog it. (I confess I didn’t actually read the story, because I doubt anything could live up to that kind of an introduction.) A crackpot Times Square performer who was once busted making anti-Semitic slurs while dressed as Elmo admitted Wednesday he tried to extort $2 million from the Girl Scouts. –NY Daily News


Death of an adjunct

Attention must be paid. Meanwhile, in the past year, her teaching load had been reduced by the university to one class a semester, which meant she was making well below $10,000 a year. With huge out-of-pocket bills from UPMC Mercy for her cancer treatment, Margaret Mary was left in abject penury. She could no longer keep her electricity on in her home, which became uninhabitable during the winter. She therefore…


Jimmy Kimmel Reveals “Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches Fire” Prank

Brilliant. The combination of a looks-too-good-to-be-true video, the patina of respectability that comes when a TV talking head introduces the clip, and the internet as a means for spreading links illustrates just how easy it is to fool lots of people — including professionals who should know better. I did show the original video to my family for a laugh. Jimmy Kimmel Reveals “Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches…


Where Are the Women?

Thanks for the suggestion, Nicole. The 4th Estate Project’s study of 2012 election-year coverage found that major U.S. newspapers and TV news programs featured up to seven times as many quotes from men as women. Men’s voices were dominant even in stories on abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood, and women’s rights. The 2013 Status of Women in the U.S. Media report, produced by the Women’s Media Center, had similar findings,…