Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Your "Public Intellectual" Project

So my last post has had me thinking about what kind of book I'd write if I were going to try to stake a claim as a "public intellectual" of the sort that Louis Menand is and his reviewers adore. A few possibilities:

  • Teeming: The Aesthetics and Ethics of the Arts of the Messy, Unruly, and Overabundant...This book would make a case for an aesthetic line that runs from Aristophanes through Salman Rushdie, Knight of the Burning Pestle through the films of Baz Luhrman, and from the art of Hieronymus Bosch to the joy of teaching. It would be a direct and pointed response to James Wood's wrongheaded but oft-cited essay, published in his most recent book as "Hysterical Realism" and indeed, his entire ouevre.
  • The Weight Room Mirror: What men are looking at in the gym...My most popular posts, likely because of the the phrase "naked men in locker rooms" are the series of posts that tried to look at my own weight loss and a gender studies approach to what I found in that process, both about my own body attitudes and the body attitudes I saw manifesting around me.
  • Token Male: Life among Feminists...I often joke about being the only straight (white) guy in the room at most of the conference panels I'm on...it's overstatement, to be sure, and frankly, the history of feminism doesn't need my memoir, although I do think a good book needs to be written on why men should be feminists--which is not the same as why feminism is good for men (although that could be a chapter).
So what would your "Public Intellectual" project be? What might you title it?

1 comment:

Earnest English said...

You are too cool. Just too cool!

-How the image of the organic food movement as elite and effete and for rich people obscures the very real health costs of eating toxic/chemical fertilizer and pesticide-laden food. (I'm so passionate about this one that I haven't been able to find a way to write this in a scholarly way.)

-How higher ed structures that most students don't know shape the experiences of students (or why R1s suck for undergrads).

-How the structure of secondary and higher ed works against the civic and liberal arts goals often presented as their purpose!

-How lame it is that despite the fact that universities house people of different scholarly specialties, disciplinarity and other structures contribute to universities often not really contributing to overall knowledge and being ivory towerish and useless to the community!