Monday, December 28, 2009


Last Time in December Edition

That's right, kids. The moms are on the road, and Roxie's World is in the house for the annual gathering of English profs, the convention of the Modern Language Association. We are pleased to report that Goose is showing no signs of ill health so far, so we are hoping there won't be a repeat of last year's awkward barfing-while-schmoozing incident. Moose has some actual business to transact at the convention. She's having lunch today with the World's Most Patient Editor in reference to the Most Overdue Project in American Publishing. (No, not the Book on Blogging That Is Going to Transform the Humanities and Save the World. That project isn't even ready for a Casual Chat Over Drinks With an Editor. Next year, perhaps.)

Aside from schmoozing, boozing, and catching up with old friends, the moms will be on the lookout for answers to the questions that are on the minds of English profs and aspiring English profs throughout the troubled land of American higher ed:

1. What will English profs bitch about when the MLA convention is moved to the first week of January next year and they can no longer complain about having to schlep off to some fabulous city for four days of hobnobbing right after Christmas? (Hint: Early evidence, picked up via Facebook, suggests there is a preemptive backlash already well underway. Apparently, English profs will seamlessly shift to bitching about how much they miss having to schlep off to some fabulous city for four days of hobnobbing right after Christmas.)

2. Will Barack Obama save the discipline of literary study? Don't laugh! This year's convention program indicates that the Man Who Barely Passed Health Insurance Reform is still making hearts go pitty-pat among the lit critters. The program lists no fewer than five (out of 767) sessions that invoke the president of the United States in some way, shape, or form (as in "Poetry and Hip-Hop in the Age of Obama" [session 636] and "Reading Race in the Obama Era" [session 650]). Fear not, kids. Roxie's World plans to have reporters at each of these sessions, and we promise to let you know what we learn about the Age/Era that is upon us. (Note to self: Ask history geek pals to look into whether the Age had been declared "Elizabethan" less than a year after Good Queen Bess took over Britannia in 1558. Just curious.)

More soon, kids, but Moose has to get gussied up for that lunch meeting. She's hoping that the World's Most Patient Editor won't withhold food until she commits to a firm date for delivering a manuscript for the Most Overdue Project in American Publishing. Wish her luck!


  1. Moose & Goose are about to head over to the main convention hotels (from our digs in the Ritz). This year, we set some kind of record for moves from one room to another before settling. First room had two beds, second had no lights, back to first room to unpack until a manager stepped in and moved us to a room we like (well, as long as the heat is turned off).

    Roxie's World has crack reporters on the loose, one focused on the Obama sessions, so check back here, folks!

    Roxie's biggest fan,

  2. I'm sensing the need for an upgrade with free wifi. Have you sent the complainer in chief?

  3. Tee hee. I think that would be Goose (complainer in chief). Didn't get free wifi but managed to score a table in the Ritz bar in spite of the self-important businessmen sipping coffee who kept saying they'd leave "in five minutes." I hope I never become as humorless as those two.

    PS - The Ritz's martinis are GREAT! Big, BIG ASS olives. And tasty, too.

  4. Awesome question about when "Elizabethan" became the fashionable way to refer to the years 1558-1603 in English history. In my painstaking seconds of research in the OED online, it reports not a single use of the term before 1807, and gained currency by 1840. (Variations include "Elizabethean" and "Elizabethian.") So, it appears to have been a (forgive me) rather Victorian fashion.

    I think the absence of a collective term to refer to the reign of Elizabeth I in the 18th C may be related to the gynephobia of the so-called "Enlightenment" and the so-called "Age of Revolution." (I'll have to think about that more.) The later 18th and early 19th centuries in French, British, and American history were all about the erasure of women.

    Perhaps the Age of Obama is like Obama himself: it's whatever you want it to be, and however you define it. Infinitely variable--a Hope in Every Pot, as a very mediocre President once promised the American people.

    Well, enjoy MLA, if you must, and good luck with that editor.


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