Author Archives: Maia

Footnotes Endangered

Ruh-oh.  In this op-ed, Columbia’s Mark Taylor promotes some dumb, dumb ideas about higher education (replace departments with “problem-focused programs”, about “Space”, “Time”, and “Life”?  Is he aiming to be cute? Does he also want us to craft our senior theses on Twitter?).  Sure, it’s great for universities to adapt to the times, and granted, there might be a few more graduate students than the world needs right now.  But I don’t think academia is in danger of becoming a social deadweight so soon — and I’ve been made to understand that Harvard, for example, still churns out a lot of relevant research.

Besides, what’s wrong with a dissertation about how Scotus used citations?  I think it sounds swell.

Maia

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Sometimes A Lemon…

… is all we need to withdraw from numbness. For those with time, I offer a short, delicate tale — in decent translation — from Kajii Motojiro, a tuberculosis-stricken predecessor to the modern angst-ridden hipster. This work has inspired generations of Japanese students to leave lemons in department stores, and to extricate themselves from over-intellectualized absurdism.

color

From Francisco de Zurbaran, “Still Life with Lemons, Orange, and a Rose” (1633), in the Norton Simon Museum.

Soundtrack: “Disengaged”, Grouper. Or, like, Schoenberg.

Maia

P.S.  The Zurbaran is now on show on this side of the nation, at the Frick Museum in New York, until May 10.

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This American Altar

I have this poster — the work of “street artist” Shepard Fairey — taped above my dresser, not because I’m in love with Barack, but because I like how it looks.  Also, I got it for free (thanks, Ev!):

chisels1

And it turns out some other people (who, unlike me, know stuff about design) like it, too — the whole series won the Brit Insurance Design of the Year award.  Kitsch Americana validated!

Maia

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Animal Collective

After reading Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, I went to the zoo.  This was a mistake.

the-zoo

We wanted to check on Gus, the neurotic polar bear.  He wasn’t there.

Maia

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Karma Police

Could be old news on the blogosphere at this point, but this comment in The New Yorker, about Madoff and lobsters, might be the best work Woody Allen’s done since — oh, I dunno — Match Point?  Earlier?  Manhattan?

And I just used the word “blogosphere” in seriousness.  Wuh-oh.

Maia

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Alexandria 2.0

Next time I feel claustrophobic in Pusey 3, I’ll think covetously of this — Urban Mediaspace, which, once built, will be the largest public library in Scandinavia:

Oh, and this one — the recipient of the “Swedish Library Bus of the Year” Award — is kinda cool, too:

Oh well, at least Lamont is 24-hrs.

Maia

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‘Til Our Natures Do Us Part

From Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England, “Chapter the Fifteenth:  Of Husband and Wife”:

“A fourth incapacity [which disallows marriage] is want of reason; without a competent share of which, as no other, so neither can the matrimonial contract, be valid.  Idiots and lunatics, by the old common law, might have married…  This defect in our laws [are] however remedied with regard to lunatics, and persons under frenzies…  and idiots…”

People ask me why I’m opposed to marriage —

Because some of us are lunatics.  And the rest of us are idiots.

Maia

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