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by Jodi S. Cohen and Tara Malone

13 Feb 2008

By Jodi S. Cohen and Tara Malone

Chicago Tribune (MCT)

Journalists love to debate the use of anonymous sources, but the discussion this week at Northwestern University’s journalism school is no hypothetical: the texts are published columns by the controversial dean of the school, John Lavine.

Earlier this week, a columnist for The Daily Northwestern, a student newspaper, questioned the use of anonymous quotes in two introductory letters Lavine wrote last year for the Medill alumni magazine.

“I sure felt good about this class. It is one of the best I’ve taken,” reads part of one quotation, which, Lavine wrote, “a Medill junior told me.”

The unnamed student appears to be talking about a class in which students developed “a fully integrated marketing program,” an emphasis which Lavine has promoted over the protest of some alumni and students.

In the same piece, Lavine quotes “one sophomore” who glowingly praises a new reporting program, concluding, “This is the most exciting my education has been.”

At Medill, one of the country’s premier journalism schools, training in the careful use of unnamed sources is emphasized.

Professors routinely require students to submit names and contact information for every person quoted in their articles, a guard against fabrication.

So Lavine’s use of anonymous quotes raised the suspicions of David Spett, a Medill senior and Daily Northwestern columnist.

by Rob Horning

13 Feb 2008

Frederic Bastiat, a 19th-century French free-trade polemicist, is a highly entertaining writer who reaches almost Swiftian heights in ridiculing protectionist “sophisms,” and one of his best essays, “A Petition” may have inspired one of the best Simpsons episdoes, the one in which Mr. Burns plans to blot out the sun to help his energy business. Bastiat often refutes protectionism by enjoining us to look at things from the consumer’s point of view—tariffs protect producers at the expense of consumers, impoverishing everyone who would otherwise benefit from the magic of comparative advantage. “Consumption is the goal of all our efforts,’ he declares in a typical formulation, “and it is only by adopting the point of view of the consumer that we shall find the solution to all our problems.” This is a core idea of neo-classical economics, that the point of production is consumption, and maximizing consumption maximizes well-being. As Bastiat says, “human labor is not an end but a means. It never remains unemployed.” The last part of that is to refute the lump-of-labor fallacy; human ingenuity will find new uses for our productive capacity and we can never run out of work. But why? The answer to that runs counter to Bastiat’s first proposition, that labor is a means. It is also an end, in that people need meaningful work to perform in order to be personally fulfilled. This notion is at the heart of the early Marxian critique of Adam Smith in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts.

So when we are encouraged to fixate on the consumer’s point of view to resolve all sorts of labor-related economic issues, what we’re essentially being told is: Give up your fantasy of meaningful work and be happy with the range of goods you can consume. Be a shopper, not a maker.

by PopMatters Staff

13 Feb 2008

Clown (Moves!!! Rework) [MP3]

Clown (Original) [MP3]

SSION - “Heaven” Live at Whoop Dee Doo!

Cherry Tulips [MP3] (from Some Racing, Some Stopping out on 19 February)

Louis Collins [MP3]

Jody [MP3]

Frightened Rabbit
The Modern Leper [MP3]

More On This Album

by Jason Gross

13 Feb 2008

While it’s not the definitive or last study about this, there’s an interesting Hypebot article which claims that blogs have more influence over record purchases than MySpace.  Supposedly, MS helped Lily Allen to become a UK star but the Arctic Monkeys deny that MS was the vehicle that launched them.  It’ll be interesting to see other studies about this.

Also wanted to note this L.A. Times article about how fans are getting involved in artists’ careers by becoming their patrons/producers.  It’s not an entirely new model (patronage goes back centuries and the fan-as-producer model is more than a few years old now) but it’s worth mentioning and repeating after you hear all the gloomy music biz stories and wonder how artists are gonna carry on in a brave new Net world.

by Nikki Tranter

13 Feb 2008

A few weeks back, we took a look at Bookworms With Ink, a literary blog book-obsessed tattoo enthusiasts where it’s hard to get cooler than this. It only gets better, that blog. Its growing community surprises me more and more with the varied quotes and illustrations people choose to have permanently etched on them. I’ve yet to come across anything quite as fascinating.

The other day, though, I found Lou Reads, a blog by a Louisville teacher that is basically a log of every book, well, that Lou reads. Each book is logged, dated, and reviewed. I’m loving this as much as the tattoo blog—Lou’s reviews are some of the sharpest and warmest I’ve ever read. Her taste spans Cormac McCarthy to Michael Chabon to Jennifer Crusie. She’s as spot on in her comments on pop trash as she is Pulitzer winners, and searching her archives is great fun when you start clicking random, dated tags wondering, “what will Lou read next!?”

Lou is fascinating in her own way. In her “About Us” section, she notes that she used to keep a log of all books she read, and she read a lot. Until Hurricane Katrina, when every book started was soon abandoned. In “the last six months or so” (from June 2007), she notes that she has again been able to read books to their ends, and so has re-started her logging.

Every book stirs a memory of a time and place in my life. I read the bulk of Love Warps the Mind a Little in the bed of the man that I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. I bought Lady Gregory’s Toothbrush in a small bookstore in Sligo, Ireland. The only books I was able to devour post-Katrina were genre pulp fiction like Tom Corcoran’s Gumbo Lindo and Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein ... Now that I’m reading again, I thought I would pick up where I left off—in a more public and more thorough form.

My favourite thing about Lou is a hear-me-roar honesty. Check out this exceprt from her review of Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld:

I was also a scholarship kid at a tony New England prep school (although it was a day school). I wasn’t as much of an outsider as Lee, but I was definitely in the “unpopular” clique. And shit happened to me too. And I changed and grew during the course of my four years there. At the end of the book (I don’t consider this a spoiler) when she nearly flunks out her senior year for giving up on her math exam, I couldn’t believe that she was the exact same train wreck that she was when she first came to Ault.

Not your average review, right? Yet, still an opinion both shocking and utterly relevant. These are the sorts of reviews I want to read.

On Cormac McCarthy’s The Road:

Ooof. It seems like the only way to properly describe the effect that this book had on me is to make unintelligible, grunty, despairing sounds. Oooof. Uuhhh. Shhhh. Ohhhhh. Insert long, deep, desperate sigh here ... I read the last chunk of the book in a single sitting in Starbucks. Huge mistake. Unwilling to sob in public as I turned the last few pages, I swallowed my despair and ended up haunted by it for days. Don’t take that comment lightly. Quite literally, I went home, made myself comfort food, and then curled on the couch, despondant, for the rest of the evening. Simply revisiting the book right now has hurled me into a funk.

I don’t think I’ve read a review of The Road yet that nails the books breathtaking effect as well as this. Her ability to grab at the heart of stories. their settings, and subtexts is just glorious.

One more great moment from Lou Reads, this one in reference to Ernest J Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying:

Tragic, heavy book ... one where it takes you clear ‘til the end to actually feel sympathy for any of the characters. But what an impact. I was stunned, disappointed, when I met with my seven ninth grade advisees this week and found out that they all thought it was b-o-r-i-n-g! But to my surprise (and honestly renewing my faith that 14-year-old girls are still GIRLS) they were way put off by the somewhat explicit sex scenes!

You won’t find that stuff in the New York Times.



//Mixed media

Moving Pixels Podcast: Unearthing the 'Charnel House'

// Moving Pixels

"This week we discuss Owl Creek Games's follow up to Sepulchre, the triptych of tales called The Charnel House Trilogy.

READ the article