Friday, April 25, 2008

Random stuff collected on the net

First, a couple of new heroes.

This guy is so awesome. He's the antithesis of what the media tells us a “rock star” should be. But he doesn't care. His joy and enthusiasm about, not just his music, but the whole concept of music, is downright infectious.

Here in the south, religion tends to earn itself a reputation for discouraging critical thinking. But I know it doesn't have to be that way. I've met a few true religious scholars for whom I have great respect, even when we (often) disagree. I love seeing stuff like this, not because it's putting a Faux News reporter in his place, but because this guy's firm in his convictions, can back them up quite reasonably (with or without scripture), does not push his beliefs, but does call shenanigans on the reporter for trying to use the power of his position to distort reality. “Just because you say he is a racist doesn't make it so.” I'm paraphrasing there, but that's the gist of it.

Speaking of the social construction of race, I found a very cool quote from Tay Zonday (the Chocolate Rain guy):

I live in Minneapolis. I'm 25 years old. I'm not sure what you mean by "background." Is that a code word for "race?" The straight-faced answer is that I'm Martian. They don't have a box for me on the census form. I'm the write-in candidate that the government leaves no space for when you have to choose your race.

Seriously, is race something you choose? The whole point is that I don't choose it. It is somebody else's shortcut to my soul. So journalists ask "what's your background?" like I'm supposed to retell someone else's story about me as though it's a fact of who I am and where I come from. As long as I talk about myself in fiction that someone else wrote, I might as well write my own fiction: I'm from Mars. Most believe the story that I'm a black mulatto.

That's from this interview by way of Tay's Wikipedia entry. From that, I also learned that he's a graduate of The Evergreen State College. Evergreen is one of my favorite schools ever. Their curriculum overview page explains why I feel that way better than I can myself.

I discovered Evergreen in the book “Colleges That Change Lives”. Out of the 40 or so schools in that book, Evergreen and The New College of Florida were my favorites. At various points in my academic path, I've considered attending both. If I have any academic passions left after I'm done with MACT and move on to doctorate level work (my only current lead is the PhD in Digital Media from Georgia Tech), I think I'd be pretty happy teaching at one of those schools since I never got a chance to attend.

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