Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Graffiti Artist Left Behind

Spotted today on the Sligo Creek Trail (click to embiggen if you can't read the bottom line):

(Photo Credit: Moose, with her iPhone)

The following items are related to the above photo only in the sense that they are things that also caught our attention on a lazy misty Sunday in March that felt more like October. Running across them reminded Moose that there was a reason she used to spend about an hour every morning of her life running her eye over every single page of The Washington Post. Sometimes a story grabs you. It may not be the biggest news of the day or the most important issue of the moment, but it catches you, for one reason or another, and you end up being pleased for the unexpected bit of knowledge or delight the story provides. Such serendipitous encounters happen online, too, but Moose realizes there is still plenty of good writing in the Post, even as one section after another shrinks or falls away, and she misses a lot by not curling up with the dead-tree edition on a daily basis.

Yes, Moose feels responsible for the decline and fall of the American newspaper industry. Assuage her guilt by going to read these stories right now:
  • David Fahrenthold has some creative suggestions for how the National Endowment for the Arts could spend the $50 million it got as part of the economic stimulus package. Moose liked this piece because it reminded her of a whimsical introduction she did of Princeton prof (and blog pal) Jill Dolan when she spoke at Queer the Turtle U a couple of weeks ago. Moose imagined that Jill was named director of the NEA or the NEH and conjured a happy vision of Jill's first day on the job, which included investing $75 million to establish a Federal Bloggers Project (similar to the Federal Writers Project established by FDR in the 30s). The fantasy ended with Jill, who has written extensively on performance, utopia, and citizenship, asking Moose to direct the Federal Bloggers Project and ordering her to save the world with an army of grassroots critics and commentators all working in their jammies. Fahrenthold's story ends with a far more practical suggestion from Georgia Republican Jack Kingston, who fought putting the NEA money into the stimulus bill but has a brilliant idea for how it should be spent in order to promote economic growth:
"The money should be plowed into sacrilegious art, so that Christian groups can be offended and then hire a bunch of lawyers to sue somebody," he said. Then First Amendment groups hire their own lawyers, and talk radio hosts on both sides sell more ads, he said. You see where this is going. "That would probably create more jobs," he said, "than just a picture of . . . a ship at sea."

(Photo Credit: Melanie D. G. Kaplan)


  1. Anonymous1:36 AM EDT

    English professors' value to culture and society is proven by your first photo, Rox, and we (English profs) can learn so much from your second, learn stuff that will make us all the better at involving students in reading, deep, deep reading.

    I must've grown up in a time when it was cool to "get lost" in reading, when opening up the imagination was a wonderful thing. Surely it's part of my job to convince folks of that fact. Anyway, look at that dog. . .roll down the window and let the wind blow back your ears, er, hair. . . .


  2. Anonymous1:41 PM EDT

    Kill ignerance!

    Teache spelling!

  3. Every time Moose looks at the graffiti photo, she thinks of that scene early in Cather's most famous novel, where the immigrant father implores the narrator to "te-e-ach, teach, my Antonia." English teachers are so weird.

  4. Anonymous11:14 AM EDT

    We saw the story and enjoyed it, but we would have been glad of more information on actual travel arrangements. Traveling with a dog is not particularly easy, especially when you are visiting some places that don't allow pets. What did Darwin do while Melanie was in the Clinton Presidential Library? Or eating ribs in Alabama?

    If it's warm enough to eat outside, it's too warm to leave a dog in a car.

    If Kaplan ever puts her travels in a book, we will get it, just to see how such things are done.

    In the meantime, yes, Darwin is gorgeous, and we hope she enjoyed her trip.


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