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Practicing Gratitude

If you look up practice in the dictionary, you get lots of definitions. You will see there that the word derives from the Greek and Latin sense of “practical work.” Gratitude as a practice is indeed practical work. It takes work. It takes practice. As such, it connotes the many meanings of practice found in the dictionary. Think about gratitude…

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The Politics of Representation: Aliens and Monsters

I responded to the aliens and monsters Facebook meme this morning and I have been thinking about the image ever since. The meme depicts aliens and monsters in pop culture transforming from ugly and monstrous to attractive and desirous. It asks WTF happened? Here is my answer: “People would rather embrace aliens from outer space than illegal aliens.” My later…

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Your Neighborhood Grocery Store

Grocery stores are the intersections of life. They are sites of culture, commerce, and exchange where we traffic in power relations, interpersonal connections, and political commitments. They are stages for enacting liberal guilt and way stations for the study of food politics. I have become highly conscious of this complexity as I try to wean myself of my unhealthy addiction…

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unForeclosed: Ontological Homelessness

As a nation, we are ontologically insecure yet we define ourselves as exceptional. We are ontologically homeless in a state of exception. Political theorists and pundits talk about American exceptionalism as a global stance, as a doctrinal extension of our manifest destiny. In the American Monomyth, Jewett and Lawrence elaborate on this bedrock of our national imagination. We conceive ourselves…

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Salad Text

Smart phones have changed the easy e do business, to putt it mildly. i Swype with my druid and voice text orvoice tore sulk the tinge.  Come again? Smart phones have changed the way we do business, to state the obvious. I use the Swype keyboard app or the voice feature on my Droid (not druid, though it is a…

Gratitudes

Gratitudes: It’s Been a Long Lonely, Lonely Time

Keeping track of gratitudes helps keep me positive and appreciative. The only rule is people can't be on the list because there are too many to name. Focusing on the small things keeps me mindful. Here's my gratitudes for today.

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted gratitudes. That makes a person forgetful. The gratitude rule is that the list must exclude people. That rule exists because there are too many people to be thankful for and I’d be skipping people by accident. No hurt feelings that way. Such gratitudes need be expressed in private, I believe. Today, in honor of remembering gratitude, I will therefore mention local groups of people, in no particular order.

1. The BRCC community for fortitude in the face of uncertainty.

2. The boomerangs of Baton Rouge for planting the seeds of cosmopolitan life in this city.

3. The LGBT activists for persistence and vision.

4. Dialogue on Race Louisiana for forging ahead.

5. The LSU Performance Studies folks for unwavering spirit and creativity.

6. BRPN for progressing in spite of it all.

7. The Unitarian Church for providing an early haven, however brief.

8. The women I worked with at the LSU Women’s Center. You built something wonderful and sustainable and I am honored to have been part of it.

9. Everyone, young and old, present and absent, that I ever played D&D with in Baton Rouge.

10. Ladies who lunch; despite our difference in ends and means, I respect the difference they make for the part of the projects we share.

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Higher Education and the State of Public Humanities

The death of Big Bird loomed in the latest election and his stay of execution was a relief to progressives and liberals. An email exchange with a colleague reminded me of a teaching experience I had a couple of years ago in which Sesame Street became a touchstone for me about the “death of the humanities.” I taught an Introduction…