Entries from September 2008 ↓

What’s it all about,, Oprah?

OK, let me get this out of the way first: i’ve never watched Oprah on TV. i bought O magazine earlier this month, lured by something on time management, but i haven’t had time to open it. And i haven’t read Janice Peck’s book on Oprah, tho it is in my recently purchased pile!

Janice talked about The Age of Oprah: Cultural Icon for the Neoliberal Era and the research behind it today at the CU School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Yes, it’s all about that cultural icon, spiritual guru and media mogul. But really, just like everything else this political season, it’s actually all about the economics.

Oprah appeals to her massive demographic – middle and lower-class women, mostly white – by trying to convince them they can make everything alright if they just try harder, work harder and think more positively. Pay no attention to the billionaire in the cushy seat next to you. Don’t ask why she pays the same amount of Social Security and Medicare each year and the same income tax rate as someone making just a couple hundred thou. She’s made it, so can you. Perhaps.

By appealing to the desire for “wish fulfillment,” as Janice says, Oprah avoids addressing the really difficult economic questions. Like, why does it take volunteers to get a playground and computers for a school in a poor neighborhood, when theoretically we have a public education system? Why do we have to have a reality TV show to organize efforts to get health care for a family with a seriously ill child when health care should be considered a basic societal need, not just something for the wealthy?

And why is socialism all OK if it’s for Wall Street and not Main Street? Tho frankly, $700B isn’t necessarily socialism. (And where did they get that number?) It’s just a bailout. Or totally bailing on the 80 percent of Amercians who own 9 percent of the wealth.

But maybe what i, as a woman, should be asking is, “What would Oprah do?”

Ralphie runs!


Telephone vid from West Virginia game…

Technology: Good or bad?

Or, depending which section of the New York Times you’re reading, both!

In Sunday’s biz section, there’s this essay about how technology “frees our minds.” OK, so for some it frees our minds to continue surfing the Web and checking our facebook pages (really, i should spend more time knitting and weaving). Still, i’m inclined to agree with this viewpoint. From a journalist’s standpoint, we can gather tons more detailed information than we could in the past, search for sources we might not have found in the past and double-check information we get from sources with the click of a mouse. Of course, the convenience of the Web also allows some journos to chain themselves to a desk all day, instead of leaving the office to find out what’s really going on. Debate among yourselves!

There’s a different viewpoint on technology in education in the Sunday magazine. In this piece, the writer argues that college profs use technology such as clickers and allow kids to bring laptops to class to be considered “cool” to their students. As someone who uses clickers in a large lecture, i’d dispute the “coolness” of them. i suspect many students aren’t all that excited about spending the money for them and trying to remember to bring them to class every day. But from my perspective, it allows me to interact with students, ask questions, some potentially sensitive, without singling out students who might have unpopular or unique views. It’s a way to take a break from me talking and allow them to discuss the subject among themselves, then return to examining an issue as a group.

As for the laptops, well, if i had to read my handwriting weeks later, it’d be darned near impossible. Kids grow up writing on computers these days. And for those worried about them surfing instead of paying attention, see the first article above. Sometimes, students actual surf on the subject and mention something they’ve found online.

So for me, technology=good!!

Here’s what i’m talkin’ about!

Every time i watch the X-Games, with special focus on those cool motocross tricks, i wonder: Where are the chicks in this sport?

Not to say i would have done that when i was that age – tho i did buy a motorcycle, a Suzuki 550, when i was 21, i’m not that big a daredevil.

But i’m giving it up today for Ashley Fiolek, featured in today’s New York Times sports section. You go, girl!!

My milieu

My buddy M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News took this photo of me the other day (in sepia tone, no less!) and it’s one of the few pics of myself that i actually like. It accurately portrays my slovenliness, but somehow the sepia makes it seem, um, maybe more acceptable???

a good sports day!

Cubs win in extra innungs, Buffs beat No. 21 West Virginia in OT. Whoohoo! (And if you're one of mystudents out there the 8 a.m. recitation is still on. Sorry!

Gonna have to face it, i’m addicted to news….

i’ve recovered somewhat since the DNC and RNC, when i was constantly checking twitter feeds and local news, as well as reading three dead tree editions daily and listening to Potus ’08 on XM Satellite Radio every time i was in the car. And on my computer in the office. At some point, i decided i needed to focus on college football and my NFL fantasy league.

Still, it’s hard to get away from the political realities of the day. Last week, my neighbor got worked up and decided to organize a protest at Sarah Palin’s Golden appearance. They’re starting a movement, with a blog, letter writing and more appearances planned.

Meanwhile, i’m still checking the twitters, the news sites, the blogs and the blogs and the blogs. i do plan to take tomorrow night off to get back to college football (where ESPN apparently has 110 people here for the game!)….

BTW, speaking of ESPN, did i mention my girlfriend Paula’s pieces on sports figures donating to political campaigns…. Guess it is all the news all the time….