Friday, January 31, 2014

Weekly Roundup

Here are a few stories from this week that deserve notice:

* Some children visiting with Pope Francis released peace doves. Then, as tens of thousands of people watched, the two doves were attacked by a black crow and a seagull. The moment seems like a sad metaphor for many peace efforts. Francis had just finished offering some remarks about Ukraine and his hope for peace. Hopefully that effort will find a better reception than the doves did.

* Controversy erupted after International Studies Association proposed a policy to ban scholars affiliated with their journals from blogging. I am not part of that Association, but as a professor who blogs I find the proposal bizzare, especially coming in 2014 after years of people learning the power and potential of blogs. Knowledge should not remain stuck in the "ivory tower," which is why I have encouraged other professors to blog as I lead workshops on public scholarship.

* Folk singer and activist Pete Seeger died this week. Seeger helped popularize Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land," including the song's more radical verses (the video below is Seeger and others performing it as a concert at the Lincoln Memorial before President Barack Obama's presidential inauguration in 2009). Some of his great songs include "Turn, turn, turn," and "Where have all the flowers gone" and "Waist deep in the big muddy." In addition to a great repertoire, he also demonstrated the power of music to help push social change. Music is not just for entertainment (although his song are enjoyable); music changes people.

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