Tag Archives: critical thinking

Remember Kids To Always Double Check Your Homework

The Global Austerity Movement: How Can You Tell If You Are Doing Critical Scholarship 5

Economic Counsellor Kenneth Rogoff

Economic Counsellor Kenneth Rogoff [proven wrong by a grad student!] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

&

English: carmen reinhart giving a speech in th...

English: carmen reinhart giving a speech in the university of maryland [also proven wrong by a grad student] (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A bit of an overlooked story by the mainstream media occurred last week. It has made a few headlines, but because of the impact of Carmen Reinhart’s and Kenneth Rogoff’s now debunked testimony on Capital Hill, it may not matter in the eyes of Austerity Hawks. Thomas Herndon, all but 28 years of age did his research and along with two other economists, found several errors in Reinhart’s and Rogoff’s work, a work that proves to be the lone backbone for the Congressman Paul Ryan budget plan. I am not in favor of Keynesian economics, but the drastic measures that Ryan wishes to take concerning Social Security and Medicare are alarming, especially since he has no plans to drastically reduce military spending or corporate welfare.

And I quote from the Ryan Plan “The Path To Prosperity”:

“According to the non-partisan CBO, the President’s budget would keep the debt climbing
as a share of the economy in the decade ahead, from nearly 70 percent this year to over 87 percent of the U.S. economy by 2021. University of Maryland economist Carmen Reinhart testified before the House Budget
Committee that 90 percent is often a trigger point for economic decline”

Having taken the time to read the paper “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic
Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff” by Herndon, Ash, and Pollin, I was reminded of my substitute teaching experience with younger children, and my extreme insistence on checking and re-checking their work. The Paper can be found in PDF form here: Working Paper Series. The disturbing thing about all of this is that Reinhart’s and Rogoff’s work was made to be authoritative, abstract ideology at the expense of the lives of the concrete realities of the poor. The media gave them all the press, and justification for Ryan’s ideas, proving that the media just isn’t progressive when it comes to economics:

From Herndon:

“The key fi ndings have also been widely cited in popular media. Reinhart’s and Rogoff ’s
website lists 76 high-pro file features, including
The Economist, Wall Street Journal New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Public Radio, and MSNBC, as well as many international publications and broadcasts”

The austerity movement is lead by voices who want to instill fear, to scare the public into scarcity. Tea Party politicians such as Ron Johnson aren’t likely to use Rogoff’s and Reinhart’s study as a way of “properly informing” citizens about the “crisis.” Now that we found out that austerity’s lone influential study is based off of pseudo-science, sorry, I meant glaring errors in a Microsoft Excel Document, critics of austerity can now start being braver and stepping up a more balanced approach to economic recovery without neglecting the marginalized, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

A bit of an overlooked story by the mainstream media occurred last week. It has made a few headlines, but because of the impact of Carmen Reinhart’s and Kenneth Rogoff’s now debunked testimony on Capital Hill, it may not matter in the eyes of Austerity Hawks. Thomas Herndon, all but 28 years of age did his research and along with two other economists, found several errors in Reinhart’s and Rogoff’s work, a work that proves to be the lone backbone for the Congressman Paul Ryan budget plan. I am not in favor of Keynesian economics, but the drastic measures that Ryan wishes to take concerning Social Security and Medicare are alarming, especially since he has no plans to drastically reduce military spending or corporate welfare.

And I quote from the Ryan Plan “The Path To Prosperity”:

“According to the non-partisan CBO, the President’s budget would keep the debt climbing
as a share of the economy in the decade ahead, from nearly 70 percent this year to over 87 percent of the U.S. economy by 2021. University of Maryland economist Carmen Reinhart testified before the House Budget
Committee that 90 percent is often a trigger point for economic decline”

Having taken the time to read the paper “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic
Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff” by Herndon, Ash, and Pollin, I was reminded of my substitute teaching experience with younger children, and my extreme insistence on checking and re-checking their work. The Paper can be found in PDF form here: Working Paper Series. The disturbing thing about all of this is that Reinhart’s and Rogoff’s work was made to be authoritative, abstract ideology at the expense of the lives of the concrete realities of the poor. The media gave them all the press, and justification for Ryan’s ideas, proving that the media just isn’t progressive when it comes to economics:

From Herndon:

“The key fi ndings have also been widely cited in popular media. Reinhart’s and Rogoff ’s
website lists 76 high-pro file features, including
The Economist, Wall Street Journal New York Times, Washington Post, Fox News, National Public Radio, and MSNBC, as well as many international publications and broadcasts”

The austerity movement is lead by voices who want to instill fear, to scare the public into scarcity. Tea Party politicians such as Ron Johnson aren’t likely to use Rogoff’s and Reinhart’s study as a way of “properly informing” citizens about the “crisis.” Now that we found out that austerity’s lone influential study is based off of pseudo-science, sorry, I meant glaring errors in a Microsoft Excel Document, critics of austerity can now start being braver and stepping up a more balanced approach to economic recovery without neglecting the marginalized, children, people with disabilities, and the elderly.

What I Think About Fandoms #BestFandom

The TMNT logo of the 1987 animated series.

The TMNT logo of the 1987 animated series. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does anyone remember their first, real fandom? Not just watch a few episodes as a kid and get their toys, I am talking about obsess over a tv show or comic book, for example, get their toys, talk about them night and day. Can’t even do your homework in 3rd grade until you watch the show. Well, my first real fandom was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As someone commented on Twitter, eight years old is the perfect age to become a fanboy, and I believe that I was 7 going on 8 when I fell in love with talking animals, epic battle s(wait, talking animals, epic battles, they’re in the Bible too, right?….). But really, I was obsessed with TMNT. Everytime I went to the arcade or roller skating rink? Had to play TMNT video games. When the TMNT movie came out? We went to see it as a family. And when I didn’t get to see TMNT 2 the first week it was out in theaters? I was very sad.

And tonight, I found myself once more enjoying TMNT, albeit it is the excellent 2012 reboot which I love. There are many sides to fandom. There is the fandom side, the ones who love to love a program or musician, and then there’s the anti-fandom, those who love to hate a tv show or band because of different tastes, or for the sake of being against something that’s popular. Anti-fandoms develop in response and and in dialogue with fandoms. A person expresses her/his displeasure with a particular item in pop culture. Fans respond with a defense. I think fandoms are for the most part, a good thing, because fandoms form communities that are outside our regular social circles and immediate families. I think there are 2 dangers in fandoms, however. The first is the fanatically obsession with a show, to the point of death threats, like to Laurie Holden of TWD. Taking the show/band too seriously should be advised against. Everyone likes a good story, a good adventure, but let’s not go overboard with this, okay?

I think the other danger that’s overlooked in fandom is being uncritical. I was listening to a podcast, and someone brought up their favorite movie writer/producer, but said they were afraid to say anything negative or critical about this culture creator. I am sure there are several examples, but the best way to keep the 1st danger above mentioned (obsession to the point of threatening others’ lives) is to be aware of the criticisms surrounding your favorite musicians and television programs. Just because someone is critical of your favorite thing does not mean that they hate it. I think that critical fandom is a fourth way, of thinking outside the box, appreciating pop culture without falling into idolatry.

But I am warning you, if you say anything bad about BBC’s Merlin, I swear by my pretty little bonnet, I will end you!

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Publishing News: A Forthcoming Essay on Fairytales, Religion, Race, and Politics

Brer Rabbit from London Charivari

Brer Rabbit from London Charivari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few months ago in April, TheoFantastique had a call for papers, for Fairytale Collection, asking for a new critical engagement with fairy tales and how they have become popular in fairytales.

“Due to the popularity and familiarity of the tales, not only the layman, but also people inside many academic fields, who are concerned with such works, will find this book more than interesting. Given that this book will consist of a collection of handpicked essays concerning various aspects of these diverse adaptations of the literary fairy tales, an assortment of readers should find this book and its topic of great interest.

While our interests are broad and inclusive, we are particularly interested in papers that discuss fairy tales in contemporary popular culture (TV shows, movies, graphic novels, advertising, toys, video games, popular literature, etc), revisions and adaptations of fairy tales, and pedagogical uses of and approaches to fairy tales. Still, we are interested in as wide an array of papers as possible, so please do not hesitate to send a submission on any fairy tale related subject may it be on cultural significance, on gender, aspects of masculinity and femininity, theory, etc.”

Today, I am happy to announce that I received word that my controversial proposal was accepted to be added to the collection. It was well worth the time and effort. The title of my article forthcoming: “The Soul Of Black Folktales: Race, Class, Ethics, and Humanism in NBC’s GRIMM and Brer Rabbit

My proposal is really too long and complex for a blog post, but I will sum it up with my thesis here:

“I believe that this return of European fairytales to prominence in U.S. American culture is worthy of a critical investigation as it pertains to race, ethnicity, and class difference. In particular, I will examine ideas of European particularity and identity as well as class struggle in NBC’s GRIMM. First, I intend to observe the reception history of the folktales recorded by the Brothers Grimm in their 19th German context and what the implications are for European national identities. By way of comparison, I will also examine Joel Chandler Harris’ dissemination of the folktales passed on by enslaved Africans located in the Antebellum South, and what that meant for black racial identity formation. In both instances, Brer Rabbit and the Brothers Grimm’s stories as folk tales function as secular pedagogical tools aimed at teaching adults and children what it means to be a member of their given culture. I argue that NBC’s GRIMM serves as a hybrid text, as both an other-worldly supernatural (in the tradition of old European fairytales) horror show as well as a this-worldly folktale that addresses contemporary political issues, such as economic inequality and histories of racism, (much like the tales of Brer Rabbit).”

I believe that this article is important for a couple of reasons. First, there has yet to be a comparative study of the politics behind black folktales and European fairytales, and why this is important for the reception of these stories. Secondly, I think it is a good opportunity to have a dialogue with Black humanist and atheist traditions, and their views of black folktales as religious works. Are the politics and histories of black bodies ignored in our readings of Brer Rabbit? What kind of moral agency does Brer Rabbit possess that could be useful for today, and does anti-racist horror tv show like GRIMM have a shared trickster ethic with black folktales?

These are the things I am interested in, and I will keep you all updated!

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