Life & Death in the Humanities*

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Romeo dies. Juliet dies. Hamlet dies. J. Alfred Prufrock dies. Gatsby dies. Emma Bovary dies. Enda Pointeller dies. Arthur Dimsdale dies. Okonkwo dies. Antigone dies. When we read books, especially classic literature, we encounter life and death. The characters in these books are deeply passionate about questions of love, justice, and honor. They grapple with how to live in a world that fails to realize these virtues. Frequently, literary characters find or choose death rather…

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Marketing Female Pop Musicians

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In her new book, Dr. Kristin Lieb examines the business decisions that shape the careers of female pop artists.  Her book, Gender, Branding and the Modern Music Industry (Routledge, 2013), explores this terrain and develops a lifecycle model for female pop musicians. This model describes how many female artists enter pop music as “good girls” only later to become “temptresses.” From there, the artists and their management teams will build their brand around any number of images from “divas” and “exotics”…

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Making Sense of the JCC Shooting in Kansas City & My “Experience” with Glenn Miller (Warning: Troubling Images)

I am still trying to make sense of the shooting at Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. When I lived in Lawrence, Kansas in the late 1990s, my wife and I went there frequently. I taught religious school there for a year and my wife practiced with an Israeli Dance Troupe. I know the place all too well. Unfortunately, I am also familiar with the suspect, Frazier Glenn Miller.  In late 2005 or early…

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Is Reading a “Solitary Vice”?

In The Solitary Vice: Against Reading, Mikita Brottman compares reading to masturbation. She warns that reading can disconnect the reader from the world if individual pleasure becomes the sole goal of reading. Brottman suggests that that reading, when approached correctly, ought to be viewed as a form of self-discovery.

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