PICTURES of THINGS

Here are some things I saw

believermag:

"It’s the story you enter, not the character." 
An Interview with Aimee Bender About Her Syllabus 
This is part of a series of conversations with writers who teach, where we discuss how they develop an idea for a course, generate a syllabus, and conduct a class. Read the full syllabus here.
Aimee Bender is the author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Willful Creatures, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Her most recent short story collection, The Color Master, includes two retellings of fairy tales. Her work has been published in The Paris Review, Harper’s, and Granta, among other places. She teaches at the University of Southern California.
—Stephanie Palumbo
I. THE ECONOMY OF THE TALE
STEPHANIE PALUMBO: Tell me about the background of this class.
AIMEE BENDER: I’ve only taught this as an undergraduate class, and the people that have taken it are not necessarily English majors—they’re science, pre-med, communications. It’s changing now, but the general education program had a template of things you had to include in a class: a certain amount of writing, emphasis on critical thinking, and pages of reading per week. You got to take those factors and stir them in a pot and come up with an idea. I knew I would naturally lean toward doing something with fairy tales. They’re perfect little nuggets to talk about.
SP: So many books have been influenced by fairy tales. How did you narrow down the reading list?
AB: I split it into two halves. One part was direct influence: stories taken from a specific tale. So for “Snow White,” we’d first discuss the tale and all different kinds of Snow Whites from various countries, then look at a new telling, like Donald Barthelme’s Snow White, which is radically different but uses the story as a base. There aren’t an endless amount of these direct retellings. The other part, which is super flexible, is indirect influence. I switch those readings a lot more, because so many things can fit. For years, we read José Saramago’s Blindness, but a lot of the students would argue that they didn’t feel it had fairy tale elements, just certain craft similarities, like very little internal reflection and characters without names. What makes a fairy tale a fairy tale is pretty debatable.
SP: How would you define a fairy tale?
AB: There are various definitions, including a great one by Bruno Bettelheim. I think fairy tales are usually quite short, have archetypes, include very little internal experience of the characters, involve an element of magic, and often objects and animals participate in some way. Bettelheim says they have to have a happy ending to qualify as a viable fairy tale, but I don’t know if I agree with that, because Hans Christian Andersen writes beautiful fairy tales, and they’re extremely melancholy. 
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Love Aimee Bender, love the take on syllabus building.

believermag:

"It’s the story you enter, not the character."

An Interview with Aimee Bender About Her Syllabus 

This is part of a series of conversations with writers who teach, where we discuss how they develop an idea for a course, generate a syllabus, and conduct a class. Read the full syllabus here.

Aimee Bender is the author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, Willful Creatures, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Her most recent short story collection, The Color Master, includes two retellings of fairy tales. Her work has been published in The Paris Review, Harper’s, and Granta, among other places. She teaches at the University of Southern California.

—Stephanie Palumbo

I. THE ECONOMY OF THE TALE

STEPHANIE PALUMBO: Tell me about the background of this class.

AIMEE BENDER: I’ve only taught this as an undergraduate class, and the people that have taken it are not necessarily English majors—they’re science, pre-med, communications. It’s changing now, but the general education program had a template of things you had to include in a class: a certain amount of writing, emphasis on critical thinking, and pages of reading per week. You got to take those factors and stir them in a pot and come up with an idea. I knew I would naturally lean toward doing something with fairy tales. They’re perfect little nuggets to talk about.

SP: So many books have been influenced by fairy tales. How did you narrow down the reading list?

AB: I split it into two halves. One part was direct influence: stories taken from a specific tale. So for “Snow White,” we’d first discuss the tale and all different kinds of Snow Whites from various countries, then look at a new telling, like Donald Barthelme’s Snow White, which is radically different but uses the story as a base. There aren’t an endless amount of these direct retellings. The other part, which is super flexible, is indirect influence. I switch those readings a lot more, because so many things can fit. For years, we read José Saramago’s Blindness, but a lot of the students would argue that they didn’t feel it had fairy tale elements, just certain craft similarities, like very little internal reflection and characters without names. What makes a fairy tale a fairy tale is pretty debatable.

SP: How would you define a fairy tale?

AB: There are various definitions, including a great one by Bruno Bettelheim. I think fairy tales are usually quite short, have archetypes, include very little internal experience of the characters, involve an element of magic, and often objects and animals participate in some way. Bettelheim says they have to have a happy ending to qualify as a viable fairy tale, but I don’t know if I agree with that, because Hans Christian Andersen writes beautiful fairy tales, and they’re extremely melancholy. 

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Love Aimee Bender, love the take on syllabus building.

Very fine.

Very fine.

(Source: beckittns)

Also I took some deeply cheesy photos but I am not sorry.  Here, appreciate my flowers, silhouettes, and strangers doing mysterious things.

Oaxaca, MX

Pardon me there is a hole in your koi pond
Oaxaca, MX

Summer vacation

Oaxaca, MX

Look how high up
Monte Alban, MX
Locating the seismic alert loudspeakers in Oaxaca City proved to be a challenge. In Oaxaca de Juarez, MX

“The problems stem from how Congress drafted the Affordable Care Act, including the territories in some provisions but not others. New insurance regulations—like the requirement to sell to all shoppers, cover a larger suite of benefits, and limits on premiums—were included as amendments to the Public Health Service Act. American territories do fall under that law, and must comply with its requirements. The individual mandate and insurance subsides, however, are not amendments to the PHS Act. They’re just part of the new health care law, which defines states differently, as “each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.” As such, territories are also barred from using the federal health exchange but did have the opportunity to build their own marketplaces.”

The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future

tnelms:

Aaaaaand to bring things full circle, here’s this. If only it had something about the history of monetary theory …

jkottke:

From a pair of science historians, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, comes The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future, a book of science fiction about the consequences of climate change.

The year is 2393, and a senior scholar of the Second People’s Republic of China presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the children of the Enlightenment, the political and economic elites of the so-called advanced industrial societies, entered into a Penumbral period in the early decades of the twenty-first century, a time when sound science and rational discourse about global change were prohibited and clear warnings of climate catastrophe were ignored. What ensues when soaring temperatures, rising sea levels, drought, and mass migrations disrupt the global governmental and economic regimes? The Great Collapse of 2093.

Historian of science (geophysics!) Naomi Oreskes is kicking it with sf these days.

Where it all starts
Escandón, MX DF