Friday, September 30, 2011


I've officially made some money on my book. The amount so far: $66.50.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Queer theory

I received a call for papers from IASPM (that's the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, for those who might not know) today, and I found the write-up quite interesting. It deals with queer theory, and I think that it is one of the most misunderstood areas of theoretical inquiry around (especially in my immediate scholarly circles). So here is the write up:
Queer theory is likely one of the most well-known and controversial recent schools of thought, and its impact has been felt in the academic world and beyond. It appeared in the early 1990s in the United States, as a direct offshoot of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) collectives, the work of Foucault (in particular, his History of Sexuality and ideas such as “biopolitics”), and Derrida’s deconstructionism. This school of thought, while in no way a homogenous trend, is characterized by the questioning of the notion of gender and the idea that sexual identity and behaviour would be genetically determined. In this context, queer theory formulates the hypothesis that sexuality is actually a social construction. This presumes that sexuality is not biologically stamped on human nature, but rather takes on ever-changing social forms, wherein a given individual can live out one or many sexual identities. This hypothesis leads us to call into question social classifications from the fields of traditional psychology, philosophy, anthropology, and sociology, which tend to look at one measure at a time for classifying individuals (class, gender, etc.).

Musicology has also fallen under the influence of queer theory, what with the research groups, books, articles, and dissertations that address previously unexplored or even taboo issues, such as the construction of sexual identity through or in music. From a methodological perspective, this school of thought has been part of the recent theoretical renewal at an international level, wherein “traditional” methods of musical analysis and historical musicology are used in concert with historical, sociological, literary, aesthetic, anthropological, and socio-geographical techniques. This allows the researcher to apprehend the construction process of the musical “object” and its social dimension in all its complexity.
If interested, you can find the original call for papers here.

By the way, I do this in my work, I think.

Friday, September 16, 2011


This has been quite a week, especially in terms of my health.

I'm not dying or anything, but I have a terrible cold. I really don't care for it. And it isn't gone yet. (And it hasn't stopped me from writing in sentence fragments.)

In any case, I will begin to blog again presently. After all, there is really no excuse (except for the house being for sale, and coming home late, and having a daughter that continues to not want to sleep, plus all of the work for school, and the committee work, and the new program, and the fact that I have a cold).

Of course, I'm drunk with power, so I won't punish myself for not posting a blog post for the last 3 days; as professors throughout generations have exclaimed, "I've already taken the exam!" Even so, I will continue posting starting now (I've got the weekend to recover, after all). The Feist ideas are still germinating, and I'm beginning to think about the Gaga material I need to put together in earnest. Here's a hint on that latter material:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
You might think you know my answer re: Gaga, but you might be wrong. Or you might be right. Or whatever. I had better move on before my sentence fragments return.

Monday, September 12, 2011


And I don't mean that in the "cool" way either. I've got a terrible cold, and I don't care for it one bit.

I've decided to begin writing about Feist's new single and her status as Canada's "darling," and the celebrant of the CBC's 75th anniversary. There should be some interesting relationships there, I think. I'm also going to start the presentation on Gaga for the end of the month at Aqua Books in Winnipeg. It'll be a busy few weeks. Did I mention that I'm developing my paper from the U of W McLuhan conference into an essay for a book? Add that to the list as well.

And a new Stonehill album is coming out next week. I'm glad for that. But for now, I must sleep. I feel so terribly sick tonight.

Friday, September 09, 2011

New Feist

I was listening to CBC Radio 2 today (it is something that I have done in the past, but I have made a more consistent effort to do so the last few days) and they were promoting a concert to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the CBC. For those of you who might not know, CBC is Canada's public broadcaster; in other words, Canadians pay taxes, and some of that tax money goes to the broadcaster. It is supposed to be a kind of public service, both in terms of education and entertainment, but also in terms of culture. The CBC is like Canada's cultural watchdog, from the terrible influence of our American neighbours.

As a prize for this contest, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the CBC, the broadcaster is hosting a concert at their own Glenn Gould Theatre in Toronto (my wife and I saw Douglas Coupland speak there once - it is quite the space). The featured artist at the concert is none other than Canadian songstress Leslie Feist. At the concert, she will be "debuting" her new album, Metals. Now, without reading too much into this (although I suppose I'm paid to do this kind of thing), Feist (remember: Canadian songstress) is being associated with: 1) our public broadcaster; and 2) Canada itself. Not only is Feist being associated with the CBC, but with 75 years of the CBC. Thus, Feist not only connotes Canada here, but a kind of nostalgic notion of Canada.

I'll post more on Feist in the days to come.

By the way, some might credit the CBC with Feist's stardom. In fact, it was Apple that made Feist famous.

Also, for my sister-in-law, you can find the post about Buffy here.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Not the most exciting event

I've asked my students to write about a local, national or international event of the day in their blogs. Many have chosen instead to write about their lives on any particular day. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is interesting. On the one hand, I'm happy to read about the kinds of things that my students struggle with or enjoy; on the other, I don't want the daily writing assignment to be simply a place for students to write "sweet nothings" on the (web)page.

In any case, here's a bit of my life today. I've got this silly HP printer that I got with a purchase of my iMac; it was basically free with a rebate, so it seemed a good purchase. It had been sitting in my small office at home for quite a while and I thought that I would take it to school to use as a printer in my office there. Instead of transferring files from my MacBook to the institutional computer, I would simply print out a copy on the HP printer. Well, you would think it would be so easy. Instead, it has not been so easy.

It seems that I can't download the drivers for this particular printer from Apple (I never thought I would type such words - "drivers" and "Apple" in the same sentence). As an Apple shareholder (2 shares), I blame HP for this. Now, dear reader, not all hope is lost. I will try again with my MacBook and see if I can get the thing to work (it seems to work fine with the iMac, so there is hope, I think).


I'm toying with posting some writing that explores more interesting moments in popular music--hooks that make us listen and bring us pleasure (Roland Barthes, my favourite theorist, writes about cruising a text and finding those things that hook, and ultimately repeat, sites in which we experience pleasure). We'll see if I do that. You can see some of this kind of thing if you search my blog for an entry on Dylan and Tara's song on Buffy. I suspect that you could also read my book on the subject. Did I mention that already?

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I've asked my students to do this, soooooo...

I haven't posted since May (my ever-so-wonderful post waxing eloquently about U2 and notions of time and Christian redemption). Since I have asked my students in "Writing for the Media" to post every day (except weekends and holidays), I thought I would take on the challenge as well.

This is not the first time I've assigned this; the last time worked wonders for some and some, not so much. In any case, I will be interested to see what people write about. For now, I will convey some of the thoughts after my first double block of teaching. It was a bit short - I suspect that my students didn't mind. Often, with all of the introductory things and changes that accompany the first week of University, a shorter class might seem a pleasant chance to catch one's breath. I trust my students used the early dismissal as a chance to set up their blogs and, perhaps, take a breath.

We talked about Steve Jobs at (and away from) Apple, the transition from analog to digital television signals (over the air) and what Michael Geist calls UBB: Usage Based Billing. More on that here. For those who might not know, Dr. Geist is a law professor at the University of Ottawa. He's Canada's version of Lawrence Lessig, a powerhouse when it comes to copyright law and internet/intellectual property discussions. For any interested in Communications & Media issues in Canada, he is a good one to follow.

Above is 257 words, in case anyone is counting. That is all. I will make all attempts to post tomorrow with insight, wit and intelligence.