I realize that I have been quiet lately. I have just completed several weeks of intense writing, and one scholarly article on Native American economics and federal policy, one long magazine book review, and several sections of The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia later, I have met all due dates and put several pending projects to bed. Now in the near future my writing will focus on completing my novel manuscript and my The Trail of Tears and Indian Removal book.
Tonight I begin teaching my weekly "Native American Identity in the U.S. Context" summer course at Belmont University, though we will have a break next week in order for me to teach at The "Foundations of Liberty" Seminar at Princeton University for the Institute for Humane Studies. While I am gone, my email and 'Net access may be irregular, so if you don't hear from me, please know I will catch up when I am back home.
I will be returning to take part in Hypericon, which promises to be an excellent event. I hope to see some of you there!
And now, a few items to share:
1. Henry Jenkins, influential popular culture scholar and author of Textual Poachers, among other things, recently had some interesting comments regarding "Star Wars and the Fracas Over Fan Films." Shortly after this article appeared, TheForce.Net responded. Jenkins then answered here.
In particular, I would underscore this quote by Jenkins from his answer to TheForce.Net:
...I am not opposed to copyright altogether. I simply see the Constitutional provision on copyright as setting up a balance between protecting the rights of artists to protect what they create and the rights of the public to build upon culturally significant ideas. One side of that leads to copyright, the other to fair use. Like many legal authorities, I think that the relations between Copyright and Fair Use has become unbalanced over the 20th century and that studios often assert much broader rights to police the use of their materials than would be supported by the law.
(For more information on Jenkins's position on copyright issues, I would recommend his article "Digital Land Grab.")
2. Now moving to one of Jenkins's favorite topics, fan fiction, I have a quick but heartfelt suggestion: if you have any interest in Star Wars (or Harry Potter or Batman or Buffy, for that matter), go read the stories of randomalia here. Her work-in-progress "Apogee" series is remarkable, and every piece she has regarding Obi-Wan Kenobi is elegant, stark, and wrenchingly in character. I cannot recommend her work more highly.
3. I have already mentioned my interest in the TNT miniseries Into the West, which my class will analyze as it unfolds. Just a reminder: it begins this Friday and continues for six weeks.
4. I must give a quick shout-out to the opening season episode of The 4400 last Sunday, which not only had the great taste to guest star Jeffrey Combs and Summer Glau, but also managed to reference two separate H.P. Lovecraft works by name, At the Mountains of Madness and "The Shadow Out of Time." Word.
As a reward to you for reaching the end of this overlong post, I will end with a brilliant quote from my very favorite song of all. (Incidentally, I am very happy to hear that Robbie Robertson is involved with the music for Into the West)...
I am lost. Has anybody seen me? I am lost.
Nothing is forgotten,
Only left behind.
Wherever I am,
She leads me down,
No borders, No fences, No walls.
from "Unbound," Robbie Robertson