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Travel and Nostalgia

by John Holbo on August 12, 2011

I wished I had lived in the days of real journeys, when it was still possible to see the full splendor of the spectacle that had not yet been blighted, polluted and spoilt … When was the best time to see India? At what period would the study of the Brazilian savage have afforded the purest satisfaction, and revealed them in their least adulterated state? Would it have been better to arrive in Rio in the eighteenth century with Bougainville, or in the sixteenth with Léry and Thevet? – Claude Lévi-Strauss

Speaking of which, I watched Midnight In Paris on the plane, coming home from vacation, which seemed a fine occasion to watch such a film. It seems like a good idea for a film. But I don’t think it ended up being a good film. It’s too self-satisfied with the fact of it being a film with a good idea for what it’s going to be about. It kinda rests on its laurels before it even gets started. Owen Wilson is just walking around, giving a passable dramatic reading of his lines. All the actors playing the famous figures from the 20’s are having fun, but in a light sort of Hey Kathy Bates is pretending to be Gertrude Stein and Adrien Brody is having fun with his Dali accent kind of way. The direction was … fine. Paris looked like … Paris as filmed for a nice American Express ad or something like that. Competent evocation of a beautiful city. Is this what all Woody Allen movies have been like for the last 20 years? I really haven’t checked in for a while. Seems like lots of people really liked this movie. It was ok. Did you like it?

Locke tercentenary

by Chris Bertram on October 26, 2004

This year is the 300th anniversary of the death of John Locke and since he was born in Wrington and brought up in Pensford (both small villages near Bristol) we’ve been doing our bit to celebrate. On Saturday we had “a one-day conference aimed mainly at schoolchildren”: and last night I gave an evening class on his political thought (attended by, among others, our polymathically perverse commenter Count Des von Bladet who “asked a question about Levi-Strauss”: that I didn’t understand). There’s also been a flurry of newspaper articles, of which “the latest is from Martin Kettle in today’s Guardian”:,3604,1335926,00.html .

Solidarity and Hierarchy in Academic Job Markets

by Kieran Healy on November 11, 2003

Via Brayden King, I’ve come across a nice paper by Shin-Kap Han in the current issue of Social Networks, which my colleague Ron Breiger co-edits. The paper is a network analysis of the exchange of job candidates in a number of disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Though academics talk about “the job market,” it will not surprise you that placement is deeply embedded in systems of departmental status that bear little resemblance to a properly functioning market. Indeed, the paper finds that the discipline that makes the study (and promotion) of markets its specialty is the one with the highest degree of elite solidarity and hierarchical control over the placement of its graduate students.

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