Thursday, July 20, 2017

”There’s no excuse
for bad copyediting”


[Dustin, July 19, 2017.]

Fitch’s L, for loser, is backward. Good call, Dustin.

See also this strip’s treatment of phrasal adjectives and “rocket surgery.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More Vivian Maier

From the Chicago Tribune: “Almost 500 never-before-shown Vivian Maier prints have found a new home at the University of Chicago Library, the university announced Wednesday.”

A slideshow of fourteen photographs accompanies the Tribune article.

A related post
Henry Darger and Vivian Maier

Against “Jane”

The novelist Howard Jacobson, on why readers should not refer to Jane Austen as “Jane”:

[I]t is more than an impertinence; it is singularly cloth-eared, considering the precise forms that address takes in Jane Austen’s work. It isn’t only manners that are at stake when one person trespasses on another’s privacy and distance, it’s morality.

In novel after novel, we see how disregard for the niceties of respect will lead to what is described in Mansfield Park as “too horrible a confusion of guilt, too gross a complication of evil.” Outside the barriers that ceremony erects, “barbarism” lies in wait.

And if that sounds altogether too prim and unforgiving a view of human society, then you haven’t read Jane Austen.
See also: museum docents who talk about “Emily.”

Watch-band calendar

A message from the dowdy world arrived in our mailbox: a Myles Kimball catalogue. I was immediately drawn to its watch-band calendar. Because how else could you plan ahead? From the catalogue description:

Always have a calendar handy. Oval brushed-metal watchband calendars wrap easily around your watchband. Reversible: gold-tone on one side, silver-tone on the other, so watchband calendar plates will match most watches. 12 plates in a handy storage pouch. 5/8" x 1 1/2". Fit bands 5/8" to 1" wide.
Not just twelve plates and two tones, but also a handy storage pouch. I daresay that this item out-dowdies anything sold by the Vermont Country Store.

Desk, Kafkaesque

In Karl Rossmann’s room is “an American writing desk of the very finest sort”:


Franz Kafka, Amerika (The Man Who Disappered), trans. from the German by Michael Hoffman (New York: New Directions, 2002).

Another Kafka post
Cabbing with Kafka

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

“It’s getting kind of crowded in here”

As the head count at Trump Tower rises, I am reminded of a great moment in film.


[A Night at the Opera (dir. Sam Wood, 1935).]

Another modest proposal

About that job listing: Rosemary Feal, executive director of the Modern Language Association, calls it “pure exploitation.” What she proposes: “Double the salary and limit the working hours to 25 per week or pay pro rata for the additional hours necessary to do the job.”

I have another proposal: ban departments that engage in such exploitation from listing jobs (any jobs) in the MLA Job Information List and from interviewing at the MLA convention. If the MLA can establish an Academic Workforce Data Center, and if The Chronicle of Higher Education can establish a salary database, it is certainly possible to make use of such data (and other data) in the interest of, as they say, best practices.

The person who now holds the position advertised in the now-infamous listing has significant accomplishments: a research fellowship, a teaching award, eight articles published or to appear, a book to appear. Perhaps he’s moving on to better things. But academia is not.

A related post
Modest proposals to improve academia

[The now-infamous listing does not appear in the JIL.]

A job listing

A job listing from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Further commentary and response here. It feels like the future, and not just for Illinois.

Thanks to Diane Schirf for passing on the news.

A farewell to arm


[Hi and Lois, July 18, 2017. Click for a larger view.]

Forget that Irma looks a lot like Hi. Other women in the strip have looked a lot like Hi. It’s Irma’s arm I see, or what’s missing of it.

Related reading
All OCA Hi and Lois posts (Pinboard)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Crusty diction

Donald Trump today described John McCain as “a crusty voice in Washington.” And just today Charles Blow was writing about Trump’s diction.