While haven’t taken an official hiatus from blogging, I have been incredibly busy with all sorts of things lately. I’d hoped that one last writing marathon would get me to a complete draft of the book. In fact, I’d promised myself that I wouldn’t get a haircut until said draft was done. That’s turning out to be a potentially bad idea as my hair gets bushier by the day and as other, similarly immediate deadlines approach. I’m also increasingly finding myself caught up with university service obligations, including one university-wide committee focusing on revamping students’ first-year experience. I’m currently pushing for the use of a blog or forum of some kind to help foster campus community, so if there are any good examples of campus community blogs out there, I’d love to have them (I mentioned the Davidson College student blog, which now appears to be defunct).
I’ve also been busy with teaching stuff. In addition to my (relatively standard) Intro to Film class, I’m doing an election theme in freshman composition and currently have students doing rhetorical of campaign videos housed on YouTube. And I’ve been pleased with the increasing interest in and knowledge of the election that my students are demonstrating. I didn’t get a chance to put together a course blog this time, but may try to do a course blog for my fall 2008 classes. My senior seminar on documentary is also going well enough (I’ve really enjoyed teaching Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, even though many of my students have complained about not liking James Agee. or at least his “character” in Famous, very much).
And, for the first time in a few days, I’ve taken some time out to scroll the web (or at least my RSS reader) for a few links:
- Via TV Squad, this amazing montage of TV production company logos, featuring everything from the “CBS Sunday Night Movie” lead-in to a number of Hannah-Barbera logos to some local logos. Like the video’s creator, I’m most intrigued by the 1970s-style futurism of many of these logos, with many of them setting off waves of nostalgia for past shows. The video is a bit rough in places, but I’m guessing that’s due to the fact that they were taken off videotape, possibly 25-30 years ago.
- Eli has a pointer to a nice little “War on Terror Remix” by the folks at Total Recut. Turns out the video is about a year old, but it’s still pretty amusing, kind of a Don DeLillo’s End Zone for the YouTube/war on terror age.
- Kathleen and Jason have both been talking about some of the discussion over the acceptance of innovative modes of electronic publishing, especially when it comes to tenure decisions. Kathleen points out that humanities scholars are more likely to accept online publications than their peers in social sciences, life sciences, etc, and that senior faculty are more open to innovation than junior scholars. The latter can be explained, I’d imagine, by fears about tenure expectations, something I found myself thinking about as I put together my portfolio for reappointment this year. Jason offers a useful model from his self-evaluation that helps to contextualize the kind of work we’re doing at sites like MediaCommons. And, yes, I promise to start blogging there more consistently in the very near future.
- The folks at if:book have a blog post about Charles Ferguson’s video editorial to The New York Times, the first video editorial published by the newspaper. Ferguson, who directed the important new Iraq documentary, No End in Sight, is responding to many of L. Paul Bremer’s claims about who made the decision to disband the Iraqi army after the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The video letter itself is sharply edited and thoroughly researched, one of the best features I’ve seen in the Times in a long time.
- Finally, Chris Hansen’s incredibly fun mockumentary, The Proper Care and Feeding of an American Messiah, is now on sale at DVD Empire. Currently on sale at $9.98, it’s definitely a bargain, and you’ll be supporting a truly independent and interesting filmmaker.