Debuting a New Feature: The “3-for-3”

One of the things I’ve been wanting to do for some time with this space is to (finally!) use these Internets the way they’re meant to be used — i.e., to inundate friends, family members, and perfect strangers with links to things I find interesting in the hopes that everyone will be amazed at my shrewd sense of awesome and want to be my friend.

(OK, so maybe that isn’t exactly how the Internet works, but it sure seems that way sometimes.)

The “3-for-3,” then, will be a thrice-weekly feature where I pass along links to three articles, essays, poems, stories, etc. that I think might be worth five minutes of your time. The plan is to post these every SUN — WED — FRI, but that might have to change as the demands of teaching/dissertating ebb and flow throughout the year. And at least at the outset, the chances are pretty good that these links will reflect my own interests in poetry, rhetoric, education, baseball, and pop culture; where this heads after that is anyone’s best guess.

Click through or not, read or not, pay attention or not — it’s entirely up to you. This, in a way, is my own little street corner where I hand out flyers to anyone walking by:

[NOTE: Mitch’s language is NSFW, but only if you watch past the first 30 seconds or so of the segment I have cued up.]

Comments, responses, and questions are (as always) appreciated, so let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see me include in future 3-for-3 installments.

Without further ado, here’s the initial three-pack for Sunday, August 18:

1. mo’ laptops, mo’ problems

Stumbled upon this article on Twitter  — all apologies to whoever posted it first, but I don’t recall exactly where the “retweet train” began — and was delighted to see that Canadian research now supports my own anecdotal observation of a direct link between laptop use in the classroom and decreased academic performance. Even more interesting: students not using computers who were sitting near their laptop-obsessed peers struggled just as much as those logging copious screen time. Hoping to make time for a discussion of this research during the first week of the fall semester, because I’m genuinely curious how students feel about the benefits and drawbacks of laptops in the classroom.

2. natasha trethewey pulls back the curtain

My teaching peers often ask how I use/discuss poetry with undergraduates, and one of the things I’ve had a lot of success with is “demystifying the poetic” by drawing explicit parallels between the writing processes of famous poets (like, say, poet laureate Natasha Trethewey) and the writing processes that students themselves use on a daily basis. This article from the Atlantic is a year old, but the insight Trethewey provides into her own craft is just fantastic, and the images of her drafts-in-progress are fascinating to look at/discuss with students. We’ll be reading this in my “Intro to Lit” course this fall, but I’d love to use it in the composition classroom as well.

3. defining “postmodernism,” urban dictionary-style

Whatever its faults might be, the URBAN DICTIONARY website rarely disappoints — and the twelve entries listed for “postmodernism” are no exception. These definitions, each of which appears to have been written by an incredibly frustrated student in your garden-variety “Intro to Lit Theory” course, somehow manage to be funny, insightful, and offensive all at the same time. My hands-down favorite, however, is definition #5:

A term that you keep on hearing about in college and have to look up on Wikipedia. Basically says “f— it” to the search for any intellectual conclusions.

Rage on, Wikipedia Warriors. Rage on.

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