Monday, February 20, 2006

New Heights of Absurdity

An anonymous reader brought my attention to this new effort to pass a sedition law in the US, as a noble successor to two previous unconstitutional pieces of legislation: the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and the Sedition Act of 1918.

Meanwhile, I got this notice in my mailbox today alogn with several other MLA calls for papers, I particularly like the part that says: "Intellectually rigorous approaches that avoid the familiar ruts of conference papers--inspired by the research methods of the surrealist project, for instance--are particularly welcome"


Announcement and Call for Papers

The Lebowski Cult: An Academic Symposium
28-29 September 2006
The Executive West
830 Phillips Lane
Louisville, Kentucky

The aim of this small symposium is to invent a critical program equal to
the task of interpreting The Big Lebowski (1998) and addressing the
Lebowski cult that has quickly grown in its wake, both the legions of
more or less public fans as well as the cultural politics, resonances,
and after-affects of their fanaticism.

The 5th Annual Lebowski Fest (
scheduled to follow the symposium, September 29th & 30th, will be
included in the conference registration.

The organizers invite papers ranging in approach from the theoretical to
the documentary, from alternative historicism to cultural phenomenology.
Intellectually rigorous approaches that avoid the familiar ruts of
conference papers--inspired by the research methods of the surrealist
project, for instance--are particularly welcome on Lebowski and the
following topics:

Auteur Theory and Cult Film, the sixties and the nineties, Creedence and
The Eagles, Bob Dylan and Kenny Rogers, Logjammin and Gutterballs,
Fluxus and the Brunswick aesthetic, fans and audiences, the hard-boiled
and the postmodern, nihilism and existentialism, the Port Huron
Statement, Malibu, Busby Berkeley, Saddam, The Long Goodbye, Nixon,
bowling, Tara Reid, The Big Sleep, Vietnam, hippies, the Jesus,
language, citation, catch-phrases, cliche, coinage, dreaming, "smart"
films, irony, the last Western, Los Angeles, or what-have-you.

An abstract of about 500 words as well as a brief CV should be e-mailed
(in the body of the e-mail: no attachments) by March 1st, 2006, to both
Aaron Jaffe, Assistant Professor of English, University of Louisville,, and Ed Comentale, Associate Professor of
English, Indiana University,

As the symposium will be held in a local bowling alley, participants
should arrange to bring appropriate footwear or be prepared to rent on

Yes, I suppose it's funny, funny in the way that the rest of hipster-irony is funny. Oh, I'm so glad to see my fellow-academics are striving to achieve such relevance in this time of world-wide crisis. It's heartening to know that at least one of the coordinators of this symposium actually has tenure at a major research institution. That must be because their work is so very, very rigorous and challenging.


Anonymous said...

history lesson - CANCELLED

In a seven-year-old secret program at the National Archives, intelligence agencies have been removing from public access thousands of historical documents that were available for years, including some already published by the State Department and others photocopied years ago by private historians.


an intelligence historian, Matthew M. Aid, noticed that dozens of documents he had copied years ago had been withdrawn from the archives' open shelves.

Mr. Aid was struck by what seemed to him the innocuous contents of the documents — mostly decades-old State Department reports from the Korean War and the early cold war. He found that eight reclassified documents had been previously published in the State Department's history series, "Foreign Relations of the United States."

"The stuff they pulled should never have been removed," he said. "Some of it is mundane, and some of it is outright ridiculous."

Anonymous said...

"...Even though universities give students email addresses, it’s often the case that students won’t use them. Instead they prefer their free hotmail or yahoo or gmail addresses. No problem as such there, except that sometimes the students pick the kind of addresses for themselves that aren’t exactly professional-quality. Frankly it feels a bit odd to correspond with, e.g., missbitchy23 or WildcatBongs about letters of reference or what have you" Kieran Healy via Atrios, re NYT article on student emails to professors

Anonymous said...

This is akin to Nero's fiddling while Rome burned. Plus ca change etc.

Anonymous said...

The academic coup d'etat engineered by hard left members of the faculty of arts and sciences against Harvard's president Lawrence Summers has broad implications beyond Cambridge and even beyond the Ivy League. It represents a major victory for hard-left censors over reasoned discourse about controversial issues. The political correctness cops won a big victory, and reasoned discourse suffered a significant defeat. Dersh

reb said...

Oy. Dersh. which should I be laughing at more "academic coup" or "hard left"?
What constitutes "hard left" these days, the Marxist Literary Group? ( )

reb said...

Indeed, I had a really annoying student whose email address appropriately began with "fuccisyourproblem."