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Specialization

I am due to head off to Duke University to give a couple of talks (my usual intellectual schizophrenia, one presentation on U.S. Native American policy and one on pop culture and the politics of cultural pessimism). But before I leave, a quote for the day:

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
- Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
primsong
Feb. 3rd, 2005 10:21 pm (UTC)
Excellent quote - though a little intimidating to those of us who haven't gotten to a few of those listed yet. :-) Have a great lecture-time!
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:15 am (UTC)
Thanks for your good wishes - I appreciate it. I know what you mean about the quote being intimidating -- I think Heinlein was setting the bar a bit high, myself! ;) But I like the thought. Hope you have a great weekend!
onegoat
Feb. 3rd, 2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
LOL! Brilliant quote. Yup, I'm sure I could pitch manure ;-)
I am in awe of you, dearest! Those topics are miles apart and sound challenging -what do you mean by 'the politics of cultural pessimism', may I ask? Our fear of death and the unknown? Elaborate Medici-type tombs and the like? Or am I way off track? :)
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:27 am (UTC)
LOL! Yes, pitching manure sounds more easily accomplished than some of those other tasks. Your kind words are most appreciated, by the way. :) I don't mean anything quite so sophisticated by "the politics of cultural pessimism"; basically, I look at the Right and the Left (unsatisfactory terms, I realize), and at cultural critics/naysayers from both sides who claim -- in very different ways, based on very different assumptions -- that popular culture or "low culture" today is proof that the World is Coming to an End. I then challenge the assumptions behind such critiques, and suggest that diversity, audience participation, and constant innovation in popular culture and art prove the naysayers wrong and represent a much freer and more exciting marketplace of ideas than historical "high culture." The talk is a bit like my "Harry Potter does not represent the dumbing-down of all humanity" argument writ large, though I pull on some Austrian economists, literary critics, and media studies scholars to help make my case. :)
fungus_files
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:36 am (UTC)
pls excuse fannish squee . . . *squee!*

could I possibly get a copy of your cultural pessimism talk? sounds fab and I'd love to read it. and pass it around and pimp it on your behalf. academic pimpage - it's so important. ;)
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:49 am (UTC)
Oh, wow! :) Thanks so much for being interested! I pretty much talk from a two-page outline, so if I can get it into something a little more fleshed out so it's not in truncated Amy!speak, I would love to get your thoughts on it. Basically, I pull some from Henry Jenkins's more recent work, and some from Tyler Cowen, and a little from old Friedrich Hayek to form the theoretical basis for my argument, and then I fill it in with examples from some of the pop culture things I know (fan fiction as the antithesis of the programmed, unquestioning passive audience model, Firefly and Farscape fans making real things happen for their series, the rise of Urban Native American music, etc. - whatever's happening now). I can be much more specific on my bibliography as well as my points. I'll work on that! Thanks again for the squee!
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 02:14 am (UTC)
And thanks for the pimpage, as well. Pimpage is good. :):):)
onegoat
Feb. 4th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC)
Me too! Me too! Would you post it here maybe?
It's a fascinating subject.Is technology 'lowering' society by it's convenience and capabilities, or is this Information Age as important as the Renaissance, and will it be considered important in the future? In another thousand years (presuming we last that long and technology hasn't caused the END of the world LOL) will the cultural achievements of society be overshadowed by the history of technological advances?
Sorry, I'm rambling, but I'd really like to hear your arguement :)
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 7th, 2005 06:21 pm (UTC)
Hey, thanks! I am thrilled that you're interested. I'll see if I can work up a more detailed outline/explanation and post it to LJ very soon. Thanks again!
fungus_files
Feb. 3rd, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC)
LOL. I'm an insect. I'm an insect.

Fantastic quote, as usual.

Hope all goes swimmingly with the lectures and I think the intellectual schizo is wonderful. There should be more of it!
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
Thank you! I appreciate your encouragement and support. I'm a fellow insect, by the way, no doubt at all. Did I see you're taking another plunge into the fanfic world? I can't wait to read more when I return. Enjoy the slippery slope - so glad you joined us! :)
faramirgirl
Feb. 3rd, 2005 11:58 pm (UTC)
Hello
Sounds very interesting. In many of my classes we have talked about schizophrenia. Nice quote.
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:15 am (UTC)
Re: Hello
Thanks so much! :)
gondoriangirl
Feb. 4th, 2005 12:21 am (UTC)
Duke huh? Wow! Have a great trip!
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:30 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! My Belmont students have made me good and sick, so I hope I won't go and infect an entire other campus. Thank God for antibiotics! :) Your wishes are most appreciated.
estellye
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
When, where, how, and can I go? Are the lectures open? Is this all happening today and I missed it? How long will you be in my area? These are the questions I ponder!
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:35 am (UTC)
Hi there! I'll be coming in Friday and leaving Saturday - not much time this time, I'm afraid, though I do look forward to it. All of the details are being handled by the Institute for Humane Studies, which is co-sponsoring the event. I believe it is free to all members of the Duke community, but it requires registration of some kind (so the organizers know numbers for food and such). The details are available here at the IHS site. Hopefully next time I will stay a bit longer, as the area is so beautiful! I would love to see you one of these visits if it is convenient for your schedule.
sneezythesquid
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:49 am (UTC)
Well darn
I'm not terribly far from Duke, I'm in Greensboro. Too bad it's such a short visit, lunch woulda been cool. And yes, it's very pretty here in NC. I've lived other places, and keep comming back. It's no Shire, but it will do. ;)

The talk topics also sound fun, and I wish I could make it for them. Darn short notice! :)

As for the quote, I can do enough of them decently enough, fake my way through others, and no inrest in the remaining ones (no hog killing for me, thanks, too gross). So I feel pretty un-specialized.
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:51 am (UTC)
Re: Well darn
I seem to be making it to Duke more often than I used to. Let's see if next time we can get together! That would be fun. Thanks so much for the idea. Oh, and I'm with you on the hog-killing thing! :)
estellye
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:56 am (UTC)
Thanks for the information, EH! I would enjoy seeing you as well, on one of your visits.
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 02:00 am (UTC)
Let's do that, then! I seem to be getting over there more often these days. It would be so much fun to meet. :) I'll let you know when I may be over there again. Thanks!
sailingwest
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:33 am (UTC)
I love that quote,it makes me feel so much better about being one of those jack(jill) of many trades,but true master of none.lol.
Have a blast doing the lecture! Your so diversified!
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:40 am (UTC)
I love that quote,it makes me feel so much better about being one of those jack(jill) of many trades,but true master of none.lol.

I know exactly what you mean! This way I can think "I'm not all over the place. I'm just a three-dimensional human being!" Of course, I can't actually do all the things he lists. I think he's making a pretty tall order!

Thanks for the good wishes. I'm excited, but I've also been missing some really fun smial activities and such, so I look forward to settling down my schedule and spending time with friends! I hope the Rankni/Bass idea comes to fruition, because I've had "The Greatest Adventure is What Lies Ahead" stuck in my mind for days now! :)
sailingwest
Feb. 4th, 2005 01:52 am (UTC)
I hope it comes to fruition as well,I know most people find those movies cheesey but as Kimbra said,its also warm childhood memories and some very funny songs that get stuck in your head forever.Plus,they are better enjoyed among friends,esp Tolkien Friends.:-)
I do hope your shedule settles,it feels like an age since I've seen you.

Ummmm,and there are somethings on the list I just wouldn't do.I would never slaughter a piggie,maybe rescue him,name him and end up with a new pet to walk in the park.But I have shoveled more manure in my life,than I even want to think about.It is,however excellent exercise.;-)
thrihyrne
Feb. 4th, 2005 05:47 pm (UTC)
Wow. I guess I'm an insect. :(

But, on the plus side, I can:
knit a sweater, write a story, sing an aria, delegate responsibility, wipe away tears, cut down a branch, grill a sandwich, draw water from a well, and dance an Irish jig.

Hope your conference goes well- what's the beginning date for your HP class?
eldritchhobbit
Feb. 6th, 2005 08:24 pm (UTC)
Hey there! :) Thanks for the good wishes - I was really happy with how the talks went. The Duke folks are a class act. As for your list, that's a pretty nifty set of accomplishments! :) The class begins on March 16. And, to answer your email question, I recommend you add your listing to The Directorium. I think it is a Very Good Thing for Fandom! :)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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