Latest Links and Writer’s Block

Hello All. I’ve been taking a bit of a break from my own writing as of late, mainly just because I’ve come under a bit of a spell of writer’s block. I never much cared for that term, since I always felt there was no excuse for not putting in an effort and at least trying to put something down on paper. I always preferred to say that I just had some cold streaks in which I didn’t really produce anything of value. Lately I’ve been having one of those, but recovery looks to be on the horizon, so once again I’ll be back with new content soon. Until then, as usual, I leave you with some items from around the web that I’ve found interesting.

I really enjoyed this piece in the New Yorker by Ariel Levy on former Republican presidential candidate and current Fox host Mike Huckabee. Huckabee strikes me as a bit odd. It seems like he wants to attack the overly partisan and combative tone of politics by appearing more conciliatory than some of his GOP counterparts, but at the same time he appears to maintain a very strong sense of moral certainty, especially where issues of personal freedoms are concerned. In the end this amounts to a man who would like to conform American law or politics to his own rigid world view, but would like to be very nice about the process. Nonetheless, I’m not going to deny that this might be a winning combination come election time.

September is fast approaching and as my life as a grad student is set to begin nervousness has officially overtaken excitement on my emotional register. One of the reasons for this is likely the onslaught of anecdotes and articles that have been popping up about the difficulty of life as a grad student, quite possibly the lowest rung on the academic ladder. It’s not just the perpetual uphill climb of your academic life and the uncertainty that follows graduate school that are causing me nightmares as of late, but also the apparent mental and physical health effects of being a grad student. Caroline Roberts, one of the authors of the Post Academic Blog, has written this short and amusing piece about the immense stress and subsequent health effects that result. Luckily, the post offers some hope. Well worth checking out. I’ve previously written about my own grad school anxiety here.

A few items on the developing Wikileaks story, concerning the massive amounts of documents and information released concerning the war in Afghanistan. Though there is supposedly “nothing new” in these leaks according to most administration officials, Nick Davies and David Leigh have detailed in the Guardian what the leaks reveal about Afghanistan and what this ought to mean for the public perception of the war itself. ComputerWorld also examines the role that an organization like Wikileaks will possibly collaborate with media outlets in order to properly disseminate copious amounts of information to the public. That piece can be read here. The ComputerWorld piece is especially interesting, considering the implications that Wikileaks has to strengthen the role of whistleblowers by acting as a middle man between those whistleblowers and the press. Lastly, the always brilliant Jay Rosen details what it means for Wikileaks to exist as the first stateless news organization. Rosen also offers some commentary on the mainstream media’s treatment of the leaks.

Finally, this video is picking up some steam on YouTube. It certainly raises the interesting question of when loneliness stops being a burden and becomes the gift of solitude, and also when that gift cycles back to being a burden as I often find it does. Nonetheless, it’s a great video and I enjoy it in times like these. That’s about it for now. Hopefully, my writer’s block will be cured very soon and I will have something new on here.

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