Our move to Texas in 2000 was prompted by my acceptance into the History Ph.D. program at UT. Despite the best of intentions, I never started the program, spurred by my awareness of certain realities in the Ph.D. job market, some of which are outlined in this article in Slate. While working on my Master's degree at Duke, one short-term job I held was entering applicants into a database for a single teaching position at the public policy school. There were thousands, many from desperate professors trapped at East Bumfuck University (EBU!) with degrees from fine state schools like UT. UT's History program was one of the best in the nation when I came here. Even so, most of its graduates who found work (and some didn't) were going to EBU, usually as adjunct faculty (who make slightly less than your average Dairy Queen cashier). The sad truth about my database entry job was that Duke wasn't even going to think about any applicants without a degree from Harvard, Princeton, Yale, or (on the outside) Chicago. This state of affairs was far too similar to the economics of making a living as a musician, only without the glory. I sometimes wish that I'd pursued it more, but it's for the best that I didn't.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
My good friends Mike & Melissa had a son last night!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
This Salon article on dominionist Christians is terrifying. Definitely worth a click-through of the ads.
Speaking to outsiders, most Christian nationalists say they're simply responding to anti-Christian persecution. They say that secularism is itself a religion, one unfairly imposed on them. They say they're the victims in the culture wars. But Christian nationalist ideologues don't want equality, they want dominance. In his book "The Changing of the Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action," George Grant, former executive director of D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries, wrote:
"Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ -- to have dominion in civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.
But it is dominion we are after. Not just a voice.
It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.
It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.
It is dominion we are after.
World conquest. That's what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less...
Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land -- of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ."
Sunday, May 07, 2006
My heart goes out to the family & friends of Grant McLennan, underappreciated genius and Go-Between. He was way too fucking young to die.
From the Go-Betweens site:
On Saturday 6th May, legendary Australian singer songwriter Grant W McLennan died in his sleep at his home in Brisbane. McLennan was one of Australia’s greatest songwriters who created an outstanding musical legacy as a founder member of The Go-Betweens and as a solo artist. He was enjoying enormous acclaim for the band’s most recent album Oceans Apart, which has received five star reviews around the world and won had a prestigious ARIA award.
McLennan was born in Rockhampton, Queensland on 12th February 1958. While attending university in Brisbane he met fellow student Robert Forster and together they formed The Go-Betweens. After releasing a string of singles the band recorded their debut album, Send Me A Lullaby, in 1981. The Go-Betweens recorded a series of exceptional albums that achieved widespread critical acclaim and were fundamental in bringing Australian music to a global audience. He was an unparalleled lyricist and a prolific and meticulous composer. His auto-biographical masterpiece ‘Cattle and Cane’ was recently voted by the Australian Performing Rights Association as one of the ten greatest Australian songs of all time.
In 1989 The Go-Betweens took a ten year sabbatical and McLennan recorded four powerful solo albums including the vivacious debut Watershed and the epic Horsebreaker Star as well as forming satellite groups like Jack Frost with Steve Kilbey of The Church and The Far Out Corporation with Ian Haug of Powderfinger.
When Robert Forster and Grant McLennan reformed The Go-Betweens in 2000, the band was greeted with adulation by a new generation of musicians like Belle and Sebastian, for whom their songs had been an inspirational teenage soundtrack. The three albums the band subsequently released were universally acknowledged as containing some of McLennan’s greatest compositions.
McLennan was a passionate supporter of the arts, extremely well-read and maintained a keen interest in all contemporary music, cinema and visual art. He was an exceptionally charming and polite man who endeared himself to everyone who met him and was one of the rare individuals worthy of the epithet ‘larger than life’.
His singular contribution to music and his commitment to his craft simply cannot be overstated. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. He is survived by his mother, sister, brother, girlfriend Emma, bandmates Adele Pickvance and Glenn Thompson and lifetime musical colleague and friend Robert Forster.
Bernard MacMahon, Lo-Max Records, 6th
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Unexpected but wonderful! It's finally here! The new High Hat, only 14 years after we ceased being relevant to anyone!
(Strangely enough, the following graphic appears to be unfixable. Apologies for the offense to your eye.)
Flyer for next Wednesday's show at the Chain Drive:
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
RIP, John Kenneth Galbraith, the greatest economist of the 20th century. Scratch that. He was the greatest economist of the contemporary world.
Salon has a nice eulogy from his biographer (you'll have to click through ads on that link, but it's worth it).
He also believed that the real audience for a deeper understanding of power was the public and its leaders, not just colleagues behind ivy walls. He argued with professional colleagues because he thought the trend to mathematicize economics led too easily to obscurantism and irrelevance. Economies weren't governed by "natural laws," like gravity or the speed of light in nature itself, but by social conventions, habits, customs, laws and fears. Human beings weren't thus "rational maximizers of their self-interest" but as often frail as they were strong, and highly susceptible to the influence of leaders of all kinds, simply because as Aristotle had long ago noted, humans were zoon politikon, social beings.
The idea that "markets" were somehow best left ungoverned by governments was on the face of it unimaginable to Galbraith. The term "markets" itself merely described the simple daily exchanges of all human life, back to the Neolithic. We lived specifically in one type of market, in modern capitalist economies, and moreover in a special stage therein. The 19th century had been the age of "production capitalism," when human beings had moved (or been moved) off the land and into cities, from farm work to factory work. The result had been the design, building and operation of what William Blake first called "satanic mills" but that grew into factories and companies of all kinds. Here, Galbraith said, was merely the first stage of capitalism. The second dawned with the 20th century, the era of "consumer capitalism" in its early form, when fully productive capitalism now had to figure out how to sell what it made. Advertising, branding, easy credit and the cultivation of status goods and insecurity that consumers weren't partaking in the latest fashion were its hallmarks.
Monday, May 01, 2006
I'm sure this is everywhere today, but good lord is it sweet to see Colbert in action in front of George W. himself.