I know it's early in the day to be drinking, kids (and we certainly don't encourage wine before breakfast), but my typist has a lot to do today and has had this pic of a pleasant sauv blanc with a pretty summery label just sitting in her phone waiting for an excuse to be shared avec vous, so we thought we'd use it to set up a little midsummer reading list to keep you occupied while she works on the paper she'll be giving at the big Emily Dickinson shindig in Oxford in a couple of weeks. (Don't get confused, darlings. Moose hasn't gone and turned herself into a poetry geek. She'll be presenting a piece of her new stuff proving that every woman writer who ever mattered at all would have made one heck of a blogger. Dickinson fits into that odd paradigm rather nicely, as it happens. [See also this brief report on what she did at last summer's Willa Cather shindig.])
Oh, if you've wandered in here by way of Shakesville (which kindly included our critique of The Kids Are All Right in yesterday's Blogaround), welcome to Roxie's World! We are delighted to see you. We don't do movie reviews every day, but we try to do something fun and socially redeeming on a regular basis, so give us a click when you've got a moment to kill as you wander the Interwebz.
Anyhoo, here's a bunch of stuff we've been collecting on a range of subjects -- queer intimacies! higher ed! reading! -- likely to be of interest to our marvelously motley crew of readers. Read, ponder, discuss, and for dog's sake hydrate, my pretties. We've got another scorcher on tap for the eastern half of the US of A today.
- First up for your consideration is a piece that follows nicely on our critique of the narrow, conservative terms in which queer families and intimacies are imagined in The Kids Are All Right. Queer legal eagle Nan Hunter points us toward a new study of gay male relationships that are "long-term, stable, and open." The study, led by Colleen Hoff and Sean Beougher of San Francisco State University, looked at 566 Bay area couples and found that nearly half had negotiated open relationships that allow for sex with outsiders. According to the San Francisco Chronicle report on the study, "47 percent reported open relationships. Forty-five percent were monogamous, and the remaining 8 percent disagreed about what they were." (Note to self: If you find yourself having dinner with some fellas in that 8 percent group, do not bring up the subject of dating!)
- Next up are several pieces offering further depressing proof that the plan to destroy public higher education in the United States is right on track! California continues to lead the way. You might want to crack open a fruity little sauv blanc (or something stronger) before you read this report, again from the SF Chronicle, about plans to start offering "a bachelor's degree over the Internet comparable in quality to its prestigious campus program." Ah, yes -- distance learning: because we don't need no education; we just need degrees! As always, our blog boyfriend Chris Newfield has been all over this story with a series of posts on what the UC regents have been up to lately, but in this one he cites a study that demolishes the myth that online education saves money. Also, while you are torturing yourself with the grim outlook for higher ed, go read this update from the Department of Yes, Things Can Always Get Worse -- a Chronicle of Higher Ed report on how deeply screwed university systems in New York and Illinois are by the budget limbos created by legislatures in those states. It ain't pretty, kids (and that article is behind the sub wall -- sorry).
- Don't worry, though -- Our neighbors to the north have decided to wreck their higher education system, too! Here is a piece by comparativist Linda Hutcheon on news this week that the University of Toronto plans to close its Center for Comparative Literature, founded more than forty years ago by Northrop Frye. It's being billed as a cost-cutting move, of course, but Hutcheon rightly reads it as an attack on interdisciplinarity.
- For a little pick-me-up (and if you've been following those links you need one about now!), go read this heartwarming story from one of our Virginia pals about Keswick, a 2-year old yellow Labrador retriever who is the new service dog for Robbie Bingler, a staffer at UVA's Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities who is paralyzed below the shoulders. Robbie's previous dog Harpo, who had helped him with daily tasks for seven years and was a beloved presence around IATH, died of cancer in March. This is a great story about animals, humans, and love in the workplace.
- Finally, even if you didn't just get a new iPad delivered to your doorstep, as someone in Roxie's World did this week, you'll want to take a look at this thoughtful commentary by Duke's Cathy Davidson on what she does not love about reading on devices like Kindle and the iPad. Not only did it make Moose feel a little less jealous about not being the person who received the sleek new gadget, it also sparked some important reflections on how print-based assumptions about reading are embedded in our tools for non-print reading. Davidson finds that limiting and frustrating, and Moose suspects she will too if she can get her hands on the new iPad for an extended test-read. Check out the piece and let us know what you think.