Tag Archives: Harlem Renaissance

Class connections…

Two things I’m really grateful for at the moment.

1 – That I chose to do my short paper/panel assignment on Ellen Douglas’ Can’t Quit You Baby, because of all the books we’ve read so far in Southern Lit, it’s my favorite. Each one we read I like better than the previous one, which either means that I like the newest books the best (which is not usually true), that I’m very fickle (which is true), or that I’m getting better acclimated to the class and materials each week (which is probably true to some extent). Anyway, Can’t Quit You Baby has an awesome intrusive narratorial voice which makes me happy. I hope I can work it into my paper somehow. Or maybe write my long paper on this novel, too, and incorporate it (I haven’t even thought about the long paper yet).

2 – That I had the Harlem Renaissance class last semester, because the article we have to read and respond to in the paper/panel discussion is about the relationship between the white employer and the black employee who are the main characters in the book, and whether Douglas is co-opting African-American culture in the form of the black woman order to “save” the white woman from her detached and superficial life. That idea came up a lot in the Harlem Renaissance class, especially relating to music and the ways that white music producers took over jazz and blues and smoothed them out to sell them to white audiences (often with white performers). I haven’t finished reading the article yet, but I already feel like I have a grounding in the point of view the author is coming from, which is encouraging.

I don’t know what I’m going to write yet, or what tack I want to take in the short paper, but at least I won’t be completely lost, like I would’ve been if I’d had to write about some of the earlier books.

I’m also grateful for having acquired the other two Rilo Kiley albums I was missing (three if you include their first self-produced EP), but I think I’ve already done a fine job convincing everyone that I’m obsessed with Rilo Kiley at the moment. I wonder if that will happen every time I got to a concert, or if as I get more used to going to concerts the desire to listen to the band 24/7 for the next several days will go away. Meanwhile, I did find out that Inara George, the singer in The Bird and the Bee, also has a solo album called Rise Up (actually recorded before the band was formed), and based on the 30-second previews at the Amazon.com store, it’s just as good as The Bird and the Bee’s stuff. I wish there were a wishlist for the Amazon.com MP3 store. This is a problem with iTunes as well…I mean, just because the music is digital and I could have it right now doesn’t mean I have the money right now, and I might like to have a list of MP3s to remember to buy in the future when I have money. Just a thought.

EDIT: Third thing I’m thankful for in relation to the paper–there’s a whole Ingmar Bergman connection I think I can make, which will be AWESOME, because nobody else will do that for sure. The main character actually goes to see Persona at one point, there are some similarities between the Persona characters and the Can’t Quit You Baby characters, and none of the critics so far have even mentioned it or tried to examine what a Bergman-Douglas connection might mean! Plus I may even be able to bring in the Spiritual trilogy and its spider-god. It would help if I knew what the spider-god meant, but maybe I can read up on Bergman some, too, which would be good for me anyway.

March 2007 Reading/Watching Recap

I’m getting further behind, aren’t I? *sigh* And wait until you see April’s recap, when I get that one written (hopefully I’ll be motivated to get it done during the break). After the jump, reactions to Joyeux Noel, Where the Truth Lies, The Lookout, All About My Mother, Langston Hughes’s autobiographies, Zora Neale Hurston’s first novel, The Eight by Katherine Neville, and more!

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January 2007 Reading/Watching Recap

This isn’t late at all, is it? Nope, not at all. Moving on now. Reactions to Rain Man, Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth, Curse of the Golden Flower, Possession: A Romance, The Emperor Jones and more after the jump. And the next time I need to procrastinate, maybe I can get February’s done. ;)

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Langston Hughes paper and various technological points

Well, I think my presentation of my Langston Hughes paper went pretty well yesterday, so I’m going to go ahead and post it. And also plug a new site that just opened from private beta, called Scribd. It’s basically a site for you to upload documents, and it displays them in Flashpaper, and allows downloads as .pdf, .doc, and even converts to .mp3. I’m not wholly convinced that this is a needed service, since documents are so easy to upload pretty much anywhere, but the conversion to different file types is nice (would work as an online .pdf converter, in fact, if you don’t have one), as is the Flashpaper display. I also like that you can embed documents in the Flashpaper player (because I’m a huge fan of embedding everything). Like this:

So it could be that this does fill a useful niche, though I doubt it will ever take off like YouTube or Odeo or Flickr. Right now the site’s servers are pretty slammed, though, because it’s getting press from TechCrunch and other Web2.0 trackers, so converting is really slow ATM. Anyway, it’s an interesting entry into the Web2.0 space, so I thought I’d mention it.

While I’m mentioning things to do with .pdfs, I need to return for a moment to my PDF Rant from a couple of weeks ago, because I actually found a .pdf reader that does what I need to do. I mentioned that Foxit Reader let me do some annotation, but I gave it short shrift. After poking around in the menus for a while, I found additional toolbars that let me add comments, arrows, even a “typewriter” tool that puts the comments directly on top of the .pdf. (The comment tool puts a marker box that you have to click to see the comment.) The highlighter tools still don’t work if the document is a scanned copy as opposed to OCRed text, but you can work around that by using drawing tools around the part you want to highlight. It’s still not IDEAL, but until people quit using DRM, it’s passable.

And while I’m mentioning things with websites, I must transfer my anger from .pdfs to Blogger. Not too much anger, because I don’t have to use it very often, since I gave up using it as my blogging platform a long time ago. But I would like just once, JUST ONCE, to be able to leave a comment on someone’s blogger blog without having to type in the verification code MULTIPLE TIMES. Note that I don’t have a problem with the verification code. It’s a very good idea to have it. But there’s some sort of bug or something in blogger, because every single time I leave a comment, I type in my comment, type in the verification code, hit “post comment” and it pops up with red text telling me to enter the verification code. I DID! And so I do it again. Sometimes it works this time, but often I have to do it AGAIN. Google, the last upgrade to blogger fixed a lot of things, and added a lot of helpful functionality. But the comments are still broken! (Also, I dislike the fact that posting comments opens a second window instead of just doing it all on the same page, but that’s an aesthetic choice, I guess.)