Recommended daily reading – 12 May (hey, I still do this edition)

It’s Spring term and I find myself without time and energy to do many rewarding activities, like keeping up-to-date with my news feeds and maintaining this blog, but I have finally collected a few items to share.

Last week, Inside Higher Ed featured a story on the efforts of librarians to archive internet documents so that scholars in the future have the same kind of access to those texts as they do to print materials. The article is a good illustration as to why librarianship needs to be a professional and academic field, no matter what some in college administration might think.

Also last week, at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates has an incisive blog post challenging assertions of “black privilege” and anti-affirmative action politics. The most salient point is that most who see themselves as victims of discrimination as a result of affirmative action also fail to see their own privilege and how being white has historically been a benefit in America.

And here’s another moment of mundane beauty in Spacing Toronto’s “Street Scene” series.

Finally, some cool and fun looking cosplay  (via Comics.Hockey.Boobs) (Update: here’s more).

Recommended daily reading – 2 March (yes, I still do this edition)

I finally compiled enough links to post a new round-up.

In the area of teaching and learning:

  • At Inside Higher Ed, Robert Eisinger writes about the importance of “teaching ambiguity”. This is one of my great challenges. Cultural geographers deal with subjects that are ambiguous in their meaning and significance, and one thing I try to do is to help students develop tools and perspectives that enable them to effectively address topics where answers can be open-ended and much depends on the questions asked and in what context.
  • Curiosity Counts provides this quick hit about teens and geo-location services.

Turning to geography-related matters:

  • Jake Tobin Garrett has a defense of “messiness” in Toronto, and in cities in general. While one way to look at telephone polls plastered with fliers is as eyesores, Garrett points to them as indicators of a city’s creativity and energy.
  • SightLine has an interesting look at traffic volume in the Pacific Northwest, and how it has fallen short of expectations, suggesting that transportation planning need not be as car-oriented as it has been.

Renee French posted this image of a woman with a closed eye that I can’t quite shake. I think there is something compelling in the contract between the enclosed eye and the open one.

This, via ComicsAlliance, is awesome news, even if it is speculative.

Finally, I found The Mary Sue, a new blog devoted to girl geek culture, via GeekGirlCon on Twitter. And at The Mary Sue, Susana Polo has an interesting post arguing for women, and sexual minorities, to strategically gender or “out” themselves online as a way to break down the idea that the internet is a male/masculine space. The discussion in comments is well worth reading, too. While you are there, read Polo’s introduction/mission statement for the site.

Recommended daily reading – 9 February

Despite the time that has passed, only a few items here.

Fun item linked from the Torontoist about a program to tap maple trees outside of people’s homes in the city.

Staying in Toronto, here is another of the “Street Scenes” being posted at Spacing’s Toronto blog.

At Newsrama, Jill Potzzi has a smart discussion of what Dave E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman series for NBC needs to do. I think that this passage is particularly on-target:

Wonder Woman is just as much, if not more ferocious than Superman and Batman yet they won’t let her act that way in live-action. I understand having to have a balance between her feminine side or a secret identity but I can all-but-guarantee you she is going to spend way too much time in the “office” on this show. NBC and Kelley would do themselves a big favor by following what the Wonder Woman animated film by Lauren Montgomery, Michael Jelenic and Gail Simone presented to audiences as far as tone.

And, via Project:Rooftop, yes, please, to this.

Recommended daily reading – 1 February (nice quotes edition)

I have a series of pointers to pieces with individual quotations that I find to be particularly perceptive, or that articulate views I have in a perfect way. Emphasis is mine.

At CBR’s “She has no Head”, Kelly Thompson presents the Ladies Comics Project, and one of her readers, Nora, has this wonderful comment on women’s bodies in comics:

Not going to lie, I’m always a little disappointed in the insane bust-to-waist-to-hip ratio of comic book ladies (or at least the ones I have seen).  I recognize it as a style, I know it’s fantasy, but, you know, not mine.

Originally linked from Thompson’s 1979 Semi-Finalist.

At the Spacing Toronto blog, economist Hugh McKenzie has this pitch perfect discussion of government revenues and spending. What he says in the interview seems so simple and rational, you would think that we could proceed from this premise in all discussions of public budgets. Sadly, not true.

A city’s means aren’t fixed. A government’s means are determined politically, just as government expenses are determined politically. To say that the City should “live within its means” is to say nothing whatsoever. It only masks an argument for less services. When people make that suggestion, it’s undisclosed code for, “We know the cost of what we’re currently doing is going up and we’re not prepared to see taxes go up every year to pay for it. Therefore, every year we’re going to have to reduce the amount of services being provided.”

Finally, on Crooked Timber, John Quiggin has this insightful comment at the close of a piece on “U.S. decline”:

The main implication of all this, for me, is that Americans should stop worrying about relative “decline”, “competitiveness” and so on, and start focusing on making the US a better place to live.

In other political items, Carla Wise has a piece at High Country News on the lack of USDA approved slaughterhouses and the implications of that lack for small and local farmers, including one of our favorites, Afton Field Farm. And on Mother Jones, Kevin Drum reblogs three questions about events in Egypt and how American neocons are likely to respond to those events.

In comics and art:

  • On Techland, Douglas Wolk has some good advice to owners, or would-be owners of comics shops. I particularly am in favor of promoting points 2 and 3, and would second his statement about the quality of the stores in Portland.
  • At Written World, Ragnell has an interesting take on DC’s announcement of a Wonder Woman-themed cosmetic line.
  • Haven’t linked to Renee French in awhile, but the other day she posted this wonderfully goofy dog. And back on the Spacing Toronto blog is the latest of their lovely “Street Scenes” from Jerry Waese.

Recommended daily reading – 18 January

An eclectic list of items from my feeds:

At OregonLive, Shawn Levy covers the Portland premiere of IFC’s Portlandia, which airs this Friday on the channel.

Meanwhile, via Publisher’s Weekly on Twitter, is news of India’s first comic convention.

From Spacing Magazine on Twitter is a pointer to a study that suggests that bicycling infrastructure contributes more to economic development than does similar building for cars.

Another Twitter link, this one to Foreign Policy from ed bice (via ProgGrrl), and to an article by Marc Lynch taking an early look at social media and the current political situation in Tunisia. As a high school student I worked on an Amnesty International campaign to free a political prisoner in Tunisia, an individual who was eventually released, which does not happen most of the time. So, I have a slight personal connection to issues of freedom and democracy in that country that has raised my interest in what’s happening now.

Finally, Torontoist has this neat work of graffiti.

Recommended daily reading – 13 October (late edition)

Much to do the past few days, but here are some items I have been saving:

On the PopMatters “Marginal Utility” blog, Robert Horning has a post about his recent vacation to Winnipeg, Manitoba. His anecdote about Canadian border guards acting skeptical about people actually wanting to visit is true for me, too, and I’ve heard this attitude on my way to Vancouver BC, which, you would think would not generate much disbelief as a destination for international visitors. And, honestly, Winnipeg is a perfectly pleasant and interesting place; I understand why Horning feels, “strangely hesitant to recommend it to anyone”. Alas, for him, I think that Winnipeg is kind of an open secret at this point. After reading his blog post, read this from Kim Morgan.

Keeping with Canadian cities, Kevin Plummer on the Torontoist has a long essay on Goin’ Down the Road (1970), a film that is a fixture in the Canadian film canon, and one that I routinely screen in my Canadian film class. Whether the film’s stature says more about it or about the canon is one of the questions Plummer addresses, as well as how the movie got made, its themes and visual style, and reception. Ultimately, he chooses to see the film as a snapshot of late ’60s Toronto.

And, finally, a few comics related pieces:

  • On Acephalous, Scott Eric Kaufman has a short, but effective exercise on the power of authorship, text & image in comics using a single panel from Scott Pilgrim.
  • The oft-linked here Renee French has an interview at Robot 6 about her new book, H Day.
  • And Comics Alliance has news about Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle making way for Nick Spencer and Bernard Chang on Supergirl. I have been reading the new Supergirl in trade, while also going back to Peter David, and hope that the character is allowed to continue to develop on her own. Spencer is a writer that I have a love-hate relationship with. As in Forgetless, I think that he shows a strong sense of the current cultural moment, especially for young, urban creative types, but he also has a real taste for the seamier sides of human behavior. It will be interesting to see how his talents work on a title like Supergirl.

Recommended daily reading – 3 October (weekend clean up edition)

Away from my feeds for a few days, but here are a few selections:

Two ‘old news’ items, but still worth pointing to. First, via Comics Alliance, apparently David E. Kelley is set to write a new Wonder Woman TV series. I haven’t watched a Kelley show in ages, and I can’t decide if he will bring a refreshing perspective to the source material or if this will turn out to be a creative mismatch. As with speculation around the unmade WW movie, it seems that who ends up in the lead role will mean a lot to whether this works or not as much as who is running things behind the scenes.

Second, last week was Banned Books Week and Robot 6 points to a list of the ‘most challenged’ comics. Most are pretty easy to imagine being challenged by someone, but Bone? Really?

Also coming late, a report on OM’s Champions League loss to (ack) Chelsea (who also took down Arsenal today).

Torontoist has a story about Gould Street on the Ryerson University campus a pedestrian-only zone for at least a year. Anne-Marie and I were in this area of Toronto regularly when we went to TIFF in 2007. I also would like to see more major cities with designated no-car zones.

Lastly, the final four panels of this ComicCritics are hilariously true for anyone who knows Alan Moore and his attitudes towards DC.