We all know that having to explain things in writing helps you clarify your thinking and helps you remember facts. Well at least for most of us. Good writers, that is those with good handwriting, have better grammar and better test scores or so say education researchers in a recent NYTimes article.
However, another handwriting expert, Albany -based Kate Gladstone, is quoted as saying “that while a student needs to jot down 100 legible words a minute to follow a typical lecture, someone using print can manage only 30. ‘That’s fine for class,’ she said, ‘if the class is first grade.'”
I was sent a reference to the NYTimes article (which is heavily discussed on the blog Collision Detection) by the person who has the worst handwriting, does the most compulsive note-taking, and is the single fastest typist of anyone I know.
Where does that leave the rest of us? Those of us who never managed even a C in penmanship as it was called back in the day. Those of us who were required to take typing in what was called “junior high.” Those of us who were forbidden to take any classes in creative writing or journalism until we had completed two semesters of typing. Those of us who have tried to become poets instead of novelists because we can’t imagine writing more that 5000 words on anything — and having to edit our own writing. Those of us so dyslexic that any grouping of letters seem like they might be an actual word if we could just work out the anagram in front of us.
Journalists take off the gloves and start punching now that computer guy, will find the name, compares them to mainframe computer people.
NYTimes Jill Abramson takes the bait first and never gives up.
MSNBC’s (Rick Kaplan? Jon Bonne?) says that there is a blog associated with every MSNBC show. He loves them bloggers. But who will assure quality and, of course the title of the conference, credibility. Decries that mistakes are seen as willful in news these days in the eyes of citizens. MSNBC ran 19,000 citizen-shot videos about the tsuinami. Says that commentators, like Scarboro, are not fact checked?!?
Jimmy Wales holds up wikipedia as an example of a success. He holds that wikipedia is better than old school pedias. That gets the old school journalists all jazzed up. In particular, NYTime-sters. He says that IBM survived the end of the mainframe. So NYTimes can too — if they are willing to change.
Voice I don’t recognize says that cable news has moved from new to commentary — for cheapness.
Powerline John Hinderaker talks about the power of links as a source of trust and of access to more data etc.
Discussion of how institutional journalist can take the “good” parts of blogging and keep the basic values of journalism that have developed over time. Bill Mitchell of Poynter is talking about his paper on “Earn Your Own Trust, Roll Your Own Ethics: Transparency and Beyond.”. (Bob Steele helped on this paper).
Librarians are getting a nod along with journalists and bloggers.
Transparency being discussed and nuanced.
Karen Schneider, FreeRangeLibrarian, is speaking for librarians and is saying that she represents the end of the information transaction. The user end. Tales of rural internet connectivity. She has been live blogging the conference at FreeRangeLibrarian.
Since 2002, the majority of New York Times readers are online readers. While members of the NYTimes staff see themselves as putting out a traditional paper newspaper, the readers are now world-wide and online. When will the staff get the clue.
600 blogs are on the Harvard/Berkman Center since they set up free blogs there.
Dave Winer is up allegedly responding to Rosen with a highly romantic version of what a blogger is.
William F. Winter former governor of Mississippi recently reminded the Seminar for Southern Legislators that 1970 was a watershed year. “[A] remarkable group of so-called New South governors had been elected across the South. Running on platforms promoting racial equity, educational quality and economic development, they brought a new tone to the political arena which had been dominated for so long by the one issue of race. Their names would soon be known across the nation — names like Jimmy Carter of Georgia, Reubin Askew of Florida, Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, John West of South Carolina, and Linwood Holton of Virginia.”
But Tim Tyson, who was only 10 years old at the time and living not far from Chapel Hill in Oxford NC, saw a different world. The murder of black veteran Henry Marrow sparked riots and burnings and marches, showing that racial equality was far from a done deal.
Haunted by the murder story and having become in the meantime a historian (after a stint at Crook’s Corner), Tyson visited and revisited his former home town of Oxford, putting together a history of the events in the still divided town. A history that some had actively tried to erase and rewrite.
The murder is not mystery, but many mysteries surround the murder. Blood Done Sign My Name is compelling, personal, local, particular, broad and always interesting. The book also calls on us to continue to confront our shared racial problems.
The contenders for the UNC Summer Reading Program are good books as well. Tracy Kidder’s book on Paul Farmer, Mountains Beyond Mountains, will be the Carrboro community read. Yann Martel’s Life of Pi has won several important literary awards since it was first published. But neither of those books can compare with the power and the insistence of the history of Oxford and of Henry Marrow as told by Tyson.
The 2005 Summer Reading Program Book Selection Committee has chosen “Blood Done Sign My Name” by Timothy B. Tyson for this year’s reading program for our incoming undergraduate students in August.
On behalf of our committee of students, faculty and staff, I write to thank the University community for your help in this selection process. We received suggestions from more than 224 people about books, types of books or general topics that covered a diverse group of topics, authors and viewpoints. That input resulted from a campus-wide email, online postings to the reading program Web page (www.unc.edu/srp/) and recommendations from alumni, members of the general public, and others sent to the chancellor’s office. We considered those suggestions and developed others through our deliberations.
Our committee concluded that “Blood Done Sign My Name” was an especially appropriate selection for a program that asks our new students to focus on discussion and dialogue about a compelling topic. We believe that the questions and issues raised by this book will provide many excellent opportunities for our new students to have thoughtful conversations in their discussion groups.
Published in 2004, “Blood Done Sign My Name” was written by Tyson, a professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison who grew up in eastern North Carolina as the son of a Methodist minister.The author, who earned his Ph.D. at Duke University, traces his own experiences, including living in Oxford, N.C., as a white 10-year-old in 1970. That is when the murder of Henry Marrow, a 23-year-old black veteran, ignited an explosive chapter in the history of racial conflict in North Carolina.
Our committee members felt that Tyson’s story was engaging and fearlessly shared his own emotions and insights about how a white person was touched by the racial tension that permeated the Jim Crow South. In recommending the book, we hope that Tyson’s candor will inspire readers to confront the fears and emotions that often attend discussions of race and to engage in a secure and energizing dialogue informed by historical clarity.
The committee’s second and third choices, respectively, were “Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer,” by Tracy Kidder, and “Life of Pi,” by Yann Martel.
Our committee has worked extremely hard since last fall to represent the Carolina community. We are grateful for the support on campus for the book selection process and for this program. Additional information about this year’s program will continue to be updated at http://www.unc.edu/srp/
Holden Thorp, Professor of Chemistry
Chair, Summer Reading Program Book Selection Committee
Here in the South, that’s news. Especially when the day-time temperatures were in the 70s last week! YIKES
Only flurries, but it’s the idea of the stuff. UPDATE: Sticking and building up! Yankee arrogance about how to drive, how to walk, etc soars! Southerners rush to groceries to buy white – eggs, bread, milk, toilet paper all vanish from the shelves!
“One interesting thing to me is that only one film really looked to the future,” said Paul Jones, director of the public digital library ibiblio.org and one of the competition’s judges.
I did get the final say in the final paragraph (above) of the National Journal article that came out today. No, I can’t read it either because it’s behind a subscribers only restriction. But Sarah did send me a copy. No, I can’t reproduce the whole article here, but hey I gave you the last paragraph.
We’ve gotten a lot of folks signed up on the wiki for the Triangle Bloggers Conference. Many more than we had planned for originally. We’ve already secured a bigger room — now a small auditorium for the conference. If you have topics you want covered or a followup lunch group topic (like a Birds of a Feather session). Go to the conference wiki.
Triangle Bloggers Conference
Saturday, February 12
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
NEW LOCATION: Murphey Hall 116
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
One interesting thing to me is that only one film really looked to the future. That is the future effects of the current laws or to an imagined future. That film was from Poland! (actually a cartoon) “Music for our Grandchildren”
More often film-makers looked back either in humor as in “Stealing Home” or as documentarians speaking about the extreme difficulty of practicing their craft. “Powerful Pictures” and “Army One by One” Then they were speaking only of the current state of the law and how it has an impact on them as individuals.
This tells me that the story of the documentarians is real and immediate. We’ve been digitizing a lot of folkloric documentaries for our Folkstreams.net project and had to wonder if such films made in the 60s and 70s could be made again in the current legal climate. The answer as “Powerful Pictures” and “Army One by One” tell us is not without great difficulty if at all. Will all documentarians have to become lawyers?
One other perhaps obvious note. All the winners were in black and white. But these days with digital editing and cameras it’s just as cheap to do color as to do black and white. I am still wondering what that means, but I suspect that it has to do with feeling the past is more compelling, more authentic and perhaps more free (to use images from at any rate). It could also mean an unhealthy avoidance of the future.
Taking the day off for MLK Day celebrations, Sally was one of the folks asked to speak this morning at the pre-march rally at 9:30. It was cold, after a week over over 70 degree weather. Freezing in fact. But the spirits were high and the speeches were full of fire. Although my toes were pretty cold (note to self: wear weather appropriate shoes next year), I was mostly warm. Children hid out in the Post Office lobby til they were needed or needed to march.
The growing crowd then marched to the Baptist Church almost in Carrboro where several hours of singing and speaking awaited them.
Tucker and I had other appointments and so took a warm up cup of coffee with Carrboro Alderman Mark Chilton and AudioActivism’s Brian Russell at the new 3 Cups. Mark reminded me of John Ehle‘s book, The Free Men, (Harper & Row, 1965) about the local Civil Rights struggle and the people involved. Then we speed walked back to our car.
The march went within sight of the soon-to-be Martin Luther King Blvd. Sally worked hard on that project and has written a lotabout iton her blog and on her site.
[more after a break -- poor UNC just defeated by Wake Forest]
The shared problem and shared project of this area is the problem of facing up to our shared histories. “Mountains” uses the tales of a single man and his struggles to bring light on the history and consequences of our relationship with our sister revolutionary democracy Haiti. Though Haiti can be avoided by exoticising it, by saying it’s over there across the water. Farmer would not allow that. His own book, Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, is strong and clear analysis of interactions of health, human rights and geopolitics. A discussion of “Mountains” can not avoid grappling with the questions that Framer makes it the business of his life to constantly reencounter. He wants us to know that mysterious Haiti is not a mystery but a part of our own doing across history.
Tyson’s book addresses many of the same questions as does Kidder’s book on Farmer. His book however is close to home. In fact not far from Chapel Hill. Not in the far distant past, but in the recent past. In 1970. Tyson tells the story of a murder that is not a mystery. As in Farmer, the “mystery” is our history and our collective doing and our decision to ignore and disown our deeds.
The men are founders of Americans for Legal Reform, a group of outspoken advocates who use confrontational tactics to push for greater access to courts for the public and to monitor how well courts serve the public. One tactic is driving a truck around the Huntington area emblazoned with the slogan “Stop The Lawyer Disease.”