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Today's links courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily, or one degree of separation therefrom.

NY Times: Admit It. You Love It. It Matters.
Particularly in academia, where bodies are just carts for hauling around brains, the thrill and social play and complex masquerade of fashion is “very much denigrated,” Ms. Showalter said. “The academic uniform has some variations,” she said, “but basically is intended to make you look like you’re not paying attention to fashion, and not vain, and not interested in it, God forbid.”

Columbia Journalism Review: Goodbye To All That
Like the Book Review, the sports section was nearly ad-free and yet nowhere was the demand made that the section ought to gear its coverage to encourage advertising from the very teams its editors and reporters were charged with covering. The sports section, like most sections of the newspaper, if one were to have separately totaled up its costs, lost money. The same was true of the Book Review. Nor was the Los Angeles Times alone. This was the case at most of America’s newspapers.

Roy F. Baumeister: Is There Anything Good About Men?
Experts estimate Genghis Khan had several hundred and perhaps more than a thousand children. He took big risks and eventually conquered most of the known world. For him, the big risks led to huge payoffs in offspring. My point is that no woman, even if she conquered twice as much territory as Genghis Khan, could have had a thousand children. Striving for greatness in that sense offered the human female no such biological payoff. For the man, the possibility was there, and so the blood of Genghis Khan runs through a large segment of today’s human population. By definition, only a few men can achieve greatness, but for the few men who do, the gains have been real. And we are descended from those great men much more than from other men. Remember, most of the mediocre men left no descendants at all.

The Smart Set: The Trouble With Farmers
What do the farmers really believe, anyway? Have they found something real and timeless as they tarried out in the fields under a summer sun that bronzed their skin and baked their skulls just right? Don't they know that the mute indifference of nature is as terrifying and empty as the noisy scrambling of the metropolis? Surely they know. They just don't want to let on that it is all the same because it would lessen their one advantage to power in the universal will.

-The Gneech


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
Given how many professors wear suits to class, I found it odd that the columnist would deem them 'indifferent to fashion'.
Sep. 5th, 2007 10:27 pm (UTC)
The NYT article reminds me of Dorinne Kondo's About Face, which uses Asian (particularly Japanese) entries into the world of fashion and theater as a way of exploring how portrayals of race in those realms serve as way of exploring race in a larger context. Kondo, as well, is puzzled by academia's indifference, even contempt, of fashion as a subject of study. But one of the biggest problems with Kondo's work (as well as the NYT article) is there is a big disconnect between what happens on the fashion runways and what mere mortals can wear, a fact that seems not to register with either author. I've long contended that what happens on the fashion runways around the world is not really intended to be worn by real people, but is more akin to an exercise of "what can we make that will fit on the human body?" That is much more abstract idea. Yes, professors wear suits, but it's a classical style that I'm sure most involved in haute couture would find abhorrent as old-fashioned. In the real world, fashion changes much more slowly; colors, accessories and cuts are best measured in term of decades. It's not as inconsequential as some in academia might like to think of it, but fashion is not as important as its enthusiasts seem to think, either.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 6th, 2007 12:18 am (UTC)
#3 -- from a strictly evolutionary point of view, yes. Which is the point he's making.

(Deleted comment)
Sep. 6th, 2007 02:13 am (UTC)
Well it's not like he's advocating that. He's merely trying to use it as a framework for explanation.

Sep. 6th, 2007 11:58 pm (UTC)
I remember reading somewhere that Genghis Khan is an ancestor to some truly scary number of people, like 1/8 of all the people in Asia alive today ... but I don't remember the source. Still, it shows how fast male genetic lines tend to die off (the common male ancestor we all share is only something like 90,000 years back).
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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