The months tick upwards. I tried to write this as four months, rewrite it at five, post it at six. I wish I could say it was because I wanted to say everything perfectly, but it’s not. Life overtakes us, and promises we make glibly to ourselves—“I’ll think of her everyday”—are forgotten fast. She always… Continue reading You Are Here
It’s a bit belated to write something about #BlackLivesMatter. Although the timing isn’t exactly intentional, I would half-justify my non-blogging by arguing that “now”—as in, “late”—is the perfect time to say something, precisely to make a small contribution to this issue not simply fading away (again) or to continue my own attempts to be something… Continue reading Black & White & Shades of Grey
My publisher thinks my proposed book title is juvenile and/or terrible. I think their proposed book title is juvenile and/or terrible. This is horribly self-indulgent and sounds self-promotional, but since I live in a bubble I am genuinely interested in what people would think would be a good title. The less you know about the… Continue reading Crowdsourcing My Book Title
The course I’m TA-ing this fall is required for undergraduates majoring in sociology. It is thus heinously oversubscribed. For the first three weeks of class, we circulated a sign-in sheet in lecture. Actually, we circulated several. Some students signed every single one—one person literally signed-in four times in one day and then came up to… Continue reading The Add/Drop Dance
In the “national conversation” that we’re largely not having about militarized policing, I have nothing important to contribute. For what it’s worth, I forced my undergraduate Sociological Theory class to apply different theorists’ analyses to recent events in Ferguson. I’m vaguely aware of ongoing police surveillance, disruption, and violence in communities of color, and I’m… Continue reading On the Appropriate Role for Assault Rifles in a Civil Campus Community
Before I left school last fall, I graded one set of students’ papers in my role as a graduate instructor at UC Berkeley. It was a basic paper assigned in an introductory sociology course, so I assumed that a competent, complete answer deserved an “A.” When I submitted my grades and sample papers for the… Continue reading Grade Inflation: Maybe Unfair, Probably Just
A small child, having eaten the tastier offerings on his plate, picks unenthusiastically at his vegetables. An exasperated parent tells him that he should eat his food because there are starving people in China.* The child points out that there is no way anyone can transport his broccoli to China, and thus his decision is… Continue reading Waste Not, Want Not?
French people don’t give a shit about lifestyle politics. Okay, it’s a generalization, but—despite my short residence and limited language skills—there’s some truth to it. I saw it on May Day, among the anarchists selling Coca-Cola products and candy bars, and I saw it at a “zero waste” conference where the attendees couldn’t manage to… Continue reading Should the Revolution Have a Vegan Option?
Did you know that going on extremely long vacations and then forgetting about them used to be a socially legitimate—if not exactly socially acceptable—way to go crazy? Maybe. It’s certainly not an original discovery of mine: it has come from reading Ian Hacking’s brilliant Mad Travelers, which explores the cultural niche, formed from anxiety about… Continue reading Freudian Shifts
Perhaps because the novelty—by which I mean an alcohol-accentuated tincture of horror and awe—has worn off, I’m not coming away from my fifth reunion with the same crazed list of stories as I had after, say, my Freshman year. There were no drunken alumni saving me from arrest at the hands of Mohawk-profiling P-safe officers;… Continue reading Going back was the best of times, going back was the worst of times