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We do not owe Woody Allen the presumption of innocence

Attention conservation notice: We owe both Mr. Allen and Ms. Farrow quite a bit, but none of it involves protecting him the way we are legally obligated to protect the rights of the accused in courts.

The interwebs predictably went into a long discussion over Dylan Farrow’s allegation that Woody Allen molested her, right after he obtained a lifetime achievement award from the Golden Globes. One feminist writer had the nerve-the nerve!–to point out that by staunchly arguing that we should “presume innocence” we, by default, presume Dylan Farrow is lying.

This has inspired lots of shouty ethics posts about what we “owe” Mr. Allen, how ‘we don’t know’ what happened, how women can and do lie about abuse claims, and how sinister psychologists and ex-wives plant memories and yada yada yada freakin’ yada. Yeah, women lie sometimes. Know what? Men do, too. False memories? Sure! I can barely remember what I did yesterday. Sometimes there are even truth-y looking statistics about how often women are lying liar liarpants. But, alas, those don’t help us here now, unless you like to indulge in ecological fallacy.

We have courts for precisely this reason. Because people lie. Because we can’t know about whether an individual actually did something just because other individuals in the group he or she belongs to do that thing sometimes. Courts. They are nifty.

1. Mr. Allen got to post his own (incoherent) rebuttal in the New York Freaking Times. I’d say the power differential between him and Ms. Farrow is well-proved by now, and I’d also say that we’ve heard puh-lenty of his side of the story. One member of this dance is the darling of the movie-going world, the other is merely a fame-adjacent adopted daughter who has inconvenienced us by reminding us of her childhood victimization when we’d rather she shut up so we can enjoy his funny movies with beautiful people and beautiful settings guilt-free.

I know which one I’d rather be.

2. We are not in a criminal court. Did I mention that? I repeat: we are not in a criminal court. We can blather on about the “presumption of innocence” all we want to here, but all we will do is repeat oodles of (extremely good) legal theory that really is not relevant here since we are not in a court. Mr. Allen is not on trial, nor is he likely going to be on trial. No government has taken any action against Mr. Allen as a result of these claims.

He still has his rights to due process (to the extent that the post-911 federal government has left any of us those). He is walking around. In fact, the only thing that appears to have happened is that her allegations rained on his Golden Globe parade, an honor he didn’t even care enough about to show up and pick up his own statue. When I am encumbered on a jury or sworn in as a judge, then I shall owe Mr. Allen what the law requires, and what my duty in those roles requires. Until then, I don’t owe it to him to suspend my personal judgment of his conduct as a member of the society I live in.

If he’s sad he’s not in a court, he can try to sue Farrow (again) for the allegations and probably lose (again). He hasn’t done that because he’s such a swell guy and he loves her so much, according to his NYT piece. Or because he’s tired of paying for Farrow’s legal fees and his very smart lawyers are telling him to just let it ride and go out and make another movie, which is my guess.

And yes, his reputation is at stake, but you know what: Ms. Farrow’s reputation is at stake here as well. We can’t separate these reputations into distinct little boxes now. Yes, it is a terrible thing to have one’s reputation sullied, particularly unjustly. Innuendo is awful. But both accuser and accused have reputations at stake, and innuendo affects both. Yes, he has a wife, children, and friends who will suffer seeing him called a child molester. Still, the Farrow family also has endured quite a bit of name-calling directed at them, as well, and none of it pleasant or easy for young people involved. I’m sure Dylan Farrow could have lived the rest of her life without being a called a deluded liar.

Because we are not in a court with clearly assigned roles, Mr. Allen is owed what is owed via the general social contract. Given that I haven’t picked up my gun to go vigilante on him, nor organized a mob to string him up, I think I’ve done my duty by Mr. Allen and no, I do not presume him innocent. I’ve read a lot of the material. Heck, I watched the credit roll on What’s Up Tiger Lily 35 years ago or so and concluded: ew. But with all the various and sundry evidence out there, I’ve concluded, in my personal opinion, the guy is a skeev at best. Does that make him a child molester? I really don’t know what happened with Dylan Farrow, but I don’t have to. I’m not obligated to base my assessments on criminal legal standards of proof.

Why not?

3. Neither Mr. Allen nor Ms. Farrow are members of any community I belong to, or my family. If they were, I would have obligations to BOTH him AND her that differ from those of a juror or court officer where the presumption of innocence is clearly owed due to our laws, imperfect as they are. However, he’s an artist and a media persona to the vast majority of people weighing in here….and so? Fellow human traveler he may be, and he may also be a celebrity, but we don’t know him, and he doesn’t know us. He is still simply a fellow American who gets lots of press time but whose rights, as far as I can see, have not been violated by either Ms. Farrow or any government acting under my authority. It’s a shame the press is on his fanny, but he wasn’t objecting to that when it got people to buy tickets to his movies. Double-edged sword, fame.

The only real question in front of us as his audience, which is what we are, is whether the allegations will prompt us to avoid his movies, since he and I are not invited to same cocktail parties, and I’m pretty sure he’s not feeling bad he’s not been invited to my place or that if I see him in the grocery store, I shan’t speak to him. He’s made a great deal of money off his art, and he’s been free to make that art during the 10 years since the original allegations, and he continues to be free to make art that his fans will undoubted keep buying as they did even after he took off with another teenaged daughter of Mia Farrow’s, which is where I personally drew the line despite being shouted at by various Team Allen partisans. Legal-yep. Yucky? More than a little. I’m pretty sure that my desire never to give him another penny of my money will not result in his needing food stamps* even if my personal assessment turns out to have been unjust.

4. Mia Farrow bashing, OMG. Yeah, yeah, I know, we’re all supposed to believe that Farrow has coached and duped Dylan into doing this because she is burning–BURNING–with jealousy and rage because she no longer enjoys the big manly love of Woody Allen. Because it’s so much easier to believe in a bitter old harpy still using her innocent daughter as a pawn during an acrimonious separation that happened a decade ago than to think that a dude might have groped and frightened a little girl who has grown up into a young woman who wants to speak out about it.

Mia Farrow is this young woman’s mother. She’s supporting her daughter as that daughter steps into a shitstorm, no matter how it turns out. Is that really that difficult to understand? Unlike the “she’s using Dylan to get at her ex” narrative, my explanation doesn’t make the dude the most important person in the story, but…a mother supporting a daughter during a difficult time strikes me as pretty easy to believe. Actually much easier to believe than the idea that Ma Farrow still gives a rip about exacting revenge on Allen anymore.

We don’t owe Mr. Allen anything that we don’t also owe either mother or daughter Farrow. Mr. Allen has been tremendously privileged throughout the entire process, and that is unlikely to change even if those nasty feminists get their way and get us to stop pretending that there is a neutral point of view here that requires we extend him grace until something is “proven” to criminal court standards. There isn’t a neutral point of view. Real life requires we deal with the messy interconnections among people, not artificial construct of the legally constructed world of a courtroom. In this context, presuming Mr. Allen innocent sides with the person who, by far, has the most power in the conflict, one who is facing no consequence except that others think poorly of him.

So what do we do? We change the focus. We focus on what we owe Ms. Farrow. I know, I know, once again, focusing on a woman instead of a man–it’s horrible, but just listen. We owe it to her to listen. We owe it to her not to shout over the top of her or call her names. We owe it to her–at least–to step back and think about Allen and what he may have done. We don’t owe it to her to presume him guilty. But we do owe it to her to take her experiences, perceptions, and feelings seriously. He has plenty of opportunity to go forward from here and show that if he ever was that guy, he’s not that guy now and we don’t need to worry about him hurting young women. That should be the discourse–not how we should protect him from having to deal with reputational loss.

* Which is good because apparently we’ve decided that poor children are better off without food, a much bigger problem than whether Mr. Allen is going to end his career on a high note.

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Gabriel Rossman explains how to review an academic journal article

….and not be a jerk about it, making the manuscript worse. Go read it.

So many times, reviewers make papers worse. Yep. I know we’re all supposed to walk around and talk about how peer review improves the process, but I have had that happen only once or twice, and it wasn’t the time that one of my reviewers broke anonymity and discussed the process in a high profile piece in an APA platform. I understand why reviewers, like this guy, like to take credit for the contribution. Reviewing is a lot of work, but honestly, the paper did not really improve much: by “improvement” he meant (a) “after round after round of reviews, the paper focussed on an issue I wanted it to instead of what the author wanted to discuss” and (b) “I forced the author to use the method I wanted.” As it is (a) was fine–I published the other material elsewhere, but (b) sucked because I had to torture the data to use his method, and the results are much harder to interpret than if we’d just stuck with a simpler method that accomplished everything it needed to. Why run a multi-level regression to establish correlation? Gaaaah.

I gave in. Why? I needed a paper in JAPA, and it was clear that the reviewers–all of whom were obvious even before the one broke his anonymity—-were in love with their own ideas, had a stranglehold on the paper, and I was doing a hostage negotiation, not a revision.

I’m excited to see how creating a dialogue around a manuscript might work. In a discussion-based format, I probably would have had another methodologist back me up to be able to say to this reviewer: “Hey, she’s right, she’s not doing a causal analysis, she’s just looking for a correlation.” (It was an exposure study; I don’t have to prove what’s causing the exposure, only that there ARE differing levels of exposure.)

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Copenhagen Zoo, Edutainment, and Public Ethics

Attention conservation notice: I’m not going to make an animal rights argument; instead, I’ll give you a public interest argument. I’m sad they killed the giraffe, for a bunch of reasons, but I am mostly sad at our inability to come together about important global environmental problems in a meaningful way.

The Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark recently killed Marius, a baby giraffe, this week, despite widespread outcry, and then butchered it in public and fed it to the zoo’s lions.

As one can imagine, there is quite a bit of public commentary. This piece from PolicyMic gives a good overview of the scientific rationale for killing the giraffe. The online support for the killing draws on various logics:

1) We kill animals for food all the time; lions eat meat, humans eat meat, why do we care about this particular giraffe? Those lions are getting fed pigs and other animals slaughtered for their benefit, why is this different?

Pigs aren’t an endangered species. Giraffes are.

2. But lions eat baby giraffes in the wild. This is natural.

Yes, they do, but in the wild, people with bolt guns don’t kill a giraffe, butcher it front of an audience, and hand feed it to lions in another enclosure. Human fingerprints are all over this practice. It’s perfectly legitimate to question the human agents at work well as the priorities reflected in the choices they made.

If you are, in fact, interested in the natural relations between giraffes and lions, you should probably focus on habitat preservation rather than zoos.

3. It’s important to show kids where meat comes from.

Denmark has farms. It also has abattoirs. The world is not so full of giraffes. You do the math. If you really want kids to know where meat comes from, show them. It isn’t done humanely or in a sanitary way, like Marius’ death, unfortunately. That’s reality. This is a staged event that has little to do with human food systems except that Marius was made of flesh and flesh is meat. You could do the same with a specimen of a non-endangered species.

4) This is a scientific problem, and we shouldn’t be guided by emotions. (The quote from the zoo’s scientific director in the PolicyMic piece basically claims this.

Oh, how very 1940s and 1950s of you.

Ok, that was snarky, and I know that plenty of people walk around thinking that scientific questions are not moral questions, but those people are what I like to refer to as “completely wrong.” They remind me of libertarians and communitarians who think that “society” and “self” come in distinct little packages like your dried noodles and flavor pack in a Ramen. Precious few questions undertaken in science–I can’t actually think of any–get to divorce themselves from the ethical and moral context of the world they exist in.

In this case, Marius was deemed to be genetically less important than other giraffes who might have his place. I have no doubt that genetics is hard science. Adjudicating what is “important”, however, and our role in determining what is genetically important? Those are social and moral questions within the community of geneticists and subject to scrutiny among the whole of humanity, which has a stake in the survival of an endangered species. It’s not an easy answer either way; if Marius was not particularly important and preserving him at the cost of letting a more important specimen die is just as much of a choice as the choice they took in killing him. But let’s not pretend that the latter has no subjective value judgments embedded in it, either.

If there is one thing we have proven with science, it’s that we don’t escape ourselves with it. It can expand us, enlighten us, and better us, but at the end, it is always a part of, not above or outside, the society in which it is practiced.

Moreover, this was a cost-benefit decision, not a hard science question, and so blowing smoke up people’s fannies about “hard science and emotion” is not going to fool anybody. If somebody had come up with an $800 million donation to save Marius, it’s more than a little likely that he would be galumphing his young adulthood merrily away in a new enclosure at the zoo. Please stop treating us like we’re stupid just because we are not geneticists. We can understand what tradeoffs are.

So Copenhagen Zoo sold plenty of tickets for zoo-goers to come ogle at little Marius when he was tinier and cuter. Now that he’s not as little and cute, and his maintenance is going to cost real money, and he is going to take up real estate, the spreadsheet says it’s time for him to go. That’s what controlled this decision. Not the sort of hard science that makes objects fall when you drop them. You can still argue that killing Marius was the right thing to do, given resources, but pretending it’s not a money-value discussion is disingenuous. This is a judgment about value. Period. Be prepared to detail it.

Why? Because cost-benefit analyses are most insightful when they ARE debated, contested, and detailed, in depth, in dialogue with people who have an interest at stake in the decision.

And that’s the part that really rubs me the wrong way. I am an animal lover, and my default is to let things live whenever we can, but even I can understand why there is a question here.

The Copenhagen Zoo’s public stance, however, has very much been “This is our giraffe and our decision.” Instead of opening up a dialogue about *exactly* the issues raised in the PolicyMic piece, the Zoo marched forward on its own schedule. There was, after all, some bloodsport/educational butchering meant to happen as a big event, and we wouldn’t want the spectators disappointed. There is a great deal that is unseemly about the butchering as zoo showmanship even as they call it educational. Did nobody watch Blackfish? But that strikes me as rather small onions compared to the apparent assumption that members of the world community have *no business* telling zoo managers about the value they place on Marius. You do not get to hold a special status as a custodian of globally relevant genetic material and animal life in the name of the global public and then turn around and tell the global public to piss off when it has feelings about the values in play.

Given more time, another arrangement might have been made for Marius–or more people might have been brought around to the scientific director’s thinking. But the zoo wasn’t having any of it; throughout, it was THEIR giraffe, THEIR decision, THEIR “educational” event that they prioritized. Some of the backlash has reflected quite a bit of Danish nationalism in play, like how dare those American and British ninnies judge us? I’m pretty sure that international visitors and donors contribute substantially to this zoo, as do international foundations and governmental coalitions. Yep, the zoo did what they have the legal power to do. But whether it is right is still another question. (Ask Socrates the next time you run into him.)

My guess: the scientists involved are convinced that giraffes are going to be extinct in the wild sooner rather than later, and their one hope is that zoos will be able to preserve enough genetic diversity in captivity to retain the species. Given that Marius and his kind are doomed and we already have his DNA on tap, we might as well as kill him, cut him up for edutainment, and get as much play of out of it as possible and hope that we get another, nonrelated giraffe to bring more genetic diversity to our conservation efforts.

That discussion strikes me as way, way too important to keep on the down low while you slaughter a baby giraffe and whine that the world is judging you. Yeah, the world may be in an uproar, but engaging with that uproar–instead of pushing ahead on something that was a nonemergency–is the duty of both public institutions and scientists that would hold they have a special role to play in conservation. They have may started this discussion with killing Marius, but I doubt it. It looks far more like that specimens of endangered species are disposable in the zoo business. Well then.

Here’s some Dr. Benton Quest because the whole damn thing makes me sad:

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#ReadUrbanandPlanningWomen2014 entry #1: Ana-Christina Ramon and Mignon Moore

Black Los Angeles is a terrific book edited by UCLA’s Darnell Hunt and Ana-Christina Ramon. The entire edited volume is worth reading, but there are two selections I want to focus on. The first:

Hunt, D. and A-C Ramon: “Killing “Killer King”: The Los Angeles Times and a “Troubled” Hospital in the ‘Hood”


Moore, M. “Black and Gay in LA: The Relationships Black Lesbians and Gay Men Have to Their Racial and Religious Communities.”

I’m starting off with some urban sociology because I needed to re-read the “Killer King” piece for a media effects paper I’ve been writing.

Hunt and RamÓn (2010) describe how the Los Angeles Times succeeded in drawing on the stereotypes of pathology surrounding south central Los Angeles and its black and Latino residents to run one sensationalistic story after another condemning King Hospital as poorly managed, corrupt, and itself pathological. The result was the decision to close down one of the few accessible critical care facilities in that part of the region in 2007, leaving local residents much farther from emergency and critical care services than when King operated. After a long political battle, Los Angeles County plans to reopen King, but not until 2015 at the earliest. What effects media has on policy can go any number of ways. Narratives of decay and decline might, on the one hand, increase public awareness of the need to invest. But, as the authors of this piece argue, the narratives of hopelessness about south central and its residents (poverty, crime, ill-health, education, etc) and the narrative of the hopelessly mismanaged King Hospital combined to create a political consensus among voters and elites that reform and reinvestment were hopeless as well.

Moore’s entry provides insights into the ways in which LGBT men and women navigate their different socio-spatial networks in Los Angeles, sorting through the need to code switch both vis-a-vis white culture and religious beliefs about homosexuals within their home communities. Being black and gay in LA is not easy, particularly if one is from the region. The places that have developed as gay and lesbian enclaves—places intended to be safe for LGBT relationships–allow men and women of color from outside the region to move into those enclaves with less stigma or outing than for those who grew up in LA where those neighborhoods are known, and often reviled, within their local communities. These complex relationships get played out against the geography of Los Angeles which distances the two sources of community from each other.

Go out and read some urban and planning women!

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Jane Jacobs and self-loathing planners

I was just re-reading part of Death and Life again last night, and the following imaginary conversation occurred in my head.

Jane Jacobs: Great cities happen because people and activities come together and urban magic happens. Planning is bad for cities, and planners are deluded.

Planners: Jane Jacobs is our new intellectual god.

The end.

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I am grateful for warmth and California but

I am scared, actively, of the polar vortex and what it could do to the people living in it.

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#ReadUrbanAndPlanningWomen 2014, riffing on #ReadWomen2014

I’m not sure who came up with it, but #ReadWomen2014 is the idea that readers in 2014 should consciously dedicate some of their time to reading the ideas put down by women. Woo! As I note, you are not educated until you get off your fanny and start to see the world from perspectives other than your own.

So I’ve decided to decided to spend a goodly portion of this year reading and rereading the works that have come to us from female planning scholars. I’m going to try to get as many of women of color as I can, but both planning and urban studies scholars and the media that covers them don’t support and promote the work of women or people of color the way we should.

(If you are a white male urban scholar, your every dribble will be celebrated with glitter and star shine, particularly if you have restated something that a black or female scholar wrote 15 years ago and that everybody ignored, because, well.) (Did I say that out loud? I wouldn’t want anybody to second-guess how they got where they are, except I am mean and its payback for the several hundred of times I have been told that I “only won X” or “got X” “because I am a woman.”) Enjoy!!

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Do What You Love in work and Utopianism in planning

Miya Tokumitsu has an essay up over at Slate, which seems to have been adapted from Jacobin, about how people need to shut it about “Doing what you love” because that devalues the real nature of very difficult, largely manual, labor. My students have been discussing this idea on Fboo, and rightly noting that this author has hit upon a very important point about the connection between affluence, choice, and privilege in occupations. I dissented on a couple points.

First of all, it is undoubtedly true that do what you love is facile advice, particularly if you don’t think for yourself, and thinking for yourself is undervalued. My problem is a supposition that the writer makes, which I do not think is at all true, that the DWYL advice somehow translates to devaluing “real work.” I am very nervous about the idea that something as fluffy as DWYL devalues work that was paid scarcely minimum wage, or unpaid entirely when we are taking about caregiving work, long before Steve Jobs said ANYTHING about doing what you love. That is, please learn to recognize the difference between a cause and a symptom: the poor treatment of laborers, particularly in low status professions, happened long, long before we had creative class hipster types chatting on about fulfilling work and the people who hate them because they annoy.

Moreover, I think I have a unique perspective on the value of the “DWYL” advice because I was raised in an environment where people *never* said that. I wasn’t raised to enjoy work. I was raised to shut up and obey authority. I was raised to expect work to be a miserable grind. You weren’t supposed to be happy at work. You worked long, miserable hours only to have to come home to say to your kids “No, you can’t have that because we can’t afford that” and watch as teachers and other kids treat your kid like crap because you’ve outfitted them in mismatched stained clothing from Goodwill. This was the life my mother told me to expect for myself. The big, shining dream she had? I could maybe go to college and at best be an elementary school teacher. That was it. That was her entire dream for my life; it was the shiniest shiney thing she could imagine. So what if I hated kids and was terribly unsocial and could barely speak? I would have to deal with that misery because being a low-paid elementary school teacher was the most lavish life she could envision. Because those folks had health care and could buy their kids new shoes when they needed them. While town kids (like my cousins) had after school activities, poor farm kids like me were doing shitty, often soul-destroying work some of us hated (and some of us loved) on farms that were going bankrupt slowly in the 1980s.

Now, there is a great deal right with being an elementary school teacher if it is, like it is for my friend Jeff, what you want to do. It is not what I was born to do. I hated elementary school children even when I, myself, was in elementary school. My inside died every single time my mother prattled on about how awesome it would be to be a teacher. My family *deplored and attacked* any and all dreams I had that weren’t elementary school teaching. I wanted to be a writer. OMG. It was my mother’s mission in life to attack that dream. Shame on me for wanting to write. Being a writer meant I would expect her to pay my way my entire life, sit around like a lazy worthless slob, and that was not going to happen, nosireebob. “Writing is a lazy man’s profession” my mother would say, shooting me daggers. And I learned. I learned never to mention that dream around them.

Because you can not kill desire, I achieved that dream anyway, in a manner that allowed me to both pay my own rent and that allowed me to read and write for a living and NOT spend my time wiping noses and asses in an elementary school. I made my life slipping between and among the constraints that my beginning in life set up for me (ok, probably not going to rule a country, though I think I’d be good at that and I’d probably enjoy it; also nix on the NBA star/ballerina dream). But there were other things I did love and could find a way to pay my rent. I would have been a marvelous classicist, but the job market there was scary, and so I picked something else that also allowed me to optimize on my strengths and what was out there in the world as a feasible option the things allow me to do the things I love to do (write, read. Talk about things I’m writing and reading. etc).

By not accepting what was “realistic” for me, I exceeded my predicted lifetime income, not just by a little. A lot. And I love going to work. Yes, there are richer people than me monetarily, but I do not want what I haven’t got.

You will find, I think, that there is, indeed, a great deal of honor among people who do jobs that they hate, but they often do those jobs they hate because of love. They do them to survive and to try to give their kids or their siblings or a chance at something better. That’s still doing what you love; it’s just not related to the job. It’s service and sacrifice for what you love. Encouraging people to find what they love hardly devalues the honor and sacrifice of people who do work they don’t love for people they do love.

And there are also people who love to work with their hands and come home every day smelling like sweat and manure and who enjoy what they do, too.

I am not satisfied the idea that *only* creative types or Steve Jobs types or privileged people can have a worthy vocation. Figuring out what matters to you–what you love, iow, strikes me as the most important thing anybody of any socio-economic class can do over the course of the life they are dealt. Perhaps the nature of the work matters to you less than the people you work with; perhaps context matters more than the job. Perhaps the fact you can work from 6 until 3 so that you can be there when your kids are out of school defines what what you love. Doing what you love falls under all those choices, and I do not think that class privilege robs you of any and all of those choices. Lack of privilege may constrain those choices by a lot more than you want them constrained, but it shouldn’t rob you from thinking about what would make you happier.

Just like utopian plans are often silly and unworkable, they can sometimes help to shine the light on the things that we really want. I refuse to problematize desire even though desires are not uniformly realized.

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Beer with the scribes

The New Republic has a piece up about a recent discovery about the origins of the ark myth in Genesis. There is some irritating opining going on, but the story about the relationship between an Assyrinologist and the long-ago writers of the cuneiform tablets in his care is so delightful I had to share:

Finkel has handled so many of these tablets that he’s learned to recognize individual scribes:
Finkel has been doing this for so long, and “met” so many of the same scribes over and over again, that he gets a sense of them as people. The Babylonian schools were filled with the same mix of troublemakers, bored kids and swots as modern ones, he says, which you can tell from the recovered tablets from children learning to read and write. And when you read a really learned, intelligent, experienced scribe, “you can really see a brain there, a brain that’s clever and can see meaning. They were very sharp.”

I ask him if he has any favourites, if any of the writers become almost friends. “You get cleverness and intellect, but what you don’t get, usually, is personal stuff,” he says. “You don’t get private writing, you don’t get spontaneous love poetry. So one is filled with admiration for these minds, and sometimes you wish you could bloody well talk to this guy so he could explain what he means, but not a feeling that you’d like to go for a pint with him or something.”

Occasionally, though, he finds that a scribe has missed a line in a long, copied document, and they’ve tried to squeeze it in in the margin, with an asterisk to mark the spot: “The device is familiar, that’s like us. And it’s that sense of the guy going ‘oh s—’ – that’s the moment you think you might like to buy this guy a pint and calm him down.”

Go read the whole thing.

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The Oatmeal gives better advice to PhD students than I do

Ok, so The Oatmeal is brilliant, and quite a bit about what you need to know about being a scholar is very similar to everything he says about being a creative in general:

a) Word to the part about open access internet journals and respectability

b) Word, particularly, about learning to manage when and how you get comments on your ideas.

Go read it, and stay out of the tornado.

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