Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Let's Rap With Cap": a little validation


It's been a harried month or so. For those keeping score:

    • this semester was my third year review (which I passed)
    • I served as a senator in a semester in which the Faculty Senate (thanks to the Bush Library controversy) held a record number of meetings
    • I was appointed the chair of our division's curriculum committee
    • I wrote and presented a paper at the 8th International Symposium on Online Journalism
    • while at that symposium, I finished writing and submitted two papers to this year's AEJMC conference
    • both of those papers were rejected by the respective (though not always respected) divisions
    • both of the Web sites I submitted for AEJMC judgment were hacked to pieces with little explanation for their erratic scores
    • I coded and posted the first version of the new Skillman Church of Christ Web site

And of course, all of this happened in the normal context of teaching classes, serving as the faculty adviser to the, teaching classes at church and the other half dozen committees to which I inexplicably have been appointed.

Out of all of that, the AEJMC rejections were the low point. The Entertainment Studies Interest Group has suddenly caught new life as entertainment studies are becoming a hot area of inquiry. So I've been working on research I had begun earlier looking at how Captain America reflects the changing definition of "American Patriotism" over his 65-year comic run.

And could this be a better time to be completing some of this work? I mean Cap was
assassinated earlier this year, making a splash in nearly every major medium.

Last year, I submitted a paper about how letter columns in the 1960s and 1970s show the shifting cultural definitions of patriotism in that era. ESIG rejected the paper with one stellar review and one awful review.

Well, that same work (with only minor revision) was selected by the Journal of Popular Culture for publication. I submitted it in late 2006 (after recovering from the paralyzing numbness that comes with AEJMC rejection letters), and after almost six months of silence, I received the official word on Monday.

So now I'm feeling validated. The work was good, it just didn't seem to fit ESIG's culture.

So how should I feel about ESIG's rejection of my "A Cap For All Generations" piece earlier this month? Problematic piece or just another round peg in a square hole? Time will tell.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

News Flash: Art does pay

We have some interesting and wonderful news to share.

This afternoon, Bethany and I attended the senior art show in the Pollock Gallery at SMU. Every year, the art division showcases the work of its outgoing seniors.

Bethany is not a senior (technically, she's classified as a junior). But she does have several friends among the graduating class, so we went to see their work and lend moral support.

During the show, the art faculty gathered everyone together and presented the awards to the seniors. Afterwards, they announced a special award presented by the Standard Club of Dallas, a local women's league. The award was intended to identify and recognize a promising junior student whose work makes her worthy of the annual "Award That Makes a Difference."

Bethany was this year's recipient. (And if you haven't seen her work, it's because I am woefully behind in building her Web site, hopefully coming in late May).

Needless to say, this is quite amazing for her. I tell her I think her art is powerful all the time, but having someone from the Dallas community (with help from the art division faculty) say so in front of her peers was a tremendous moment of affirmation for her.

And the $2,000 check was also nice. ;-)

I didn't get any good clear photos (the gallery was crowded), but I did get a few shots click them for larger versions).

Anyway, Bethany is floating this afternoon.

And that's good for her, and great for me. :-)

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