Trend: America Is Losing Its Liberal Arts Colleges

“The 212 liberal arts colleges that Breneman identified in 1990 have now decreased to 137. Many former liberal arts colleges are evolving, consciously or unconsciously, into more academically complex institutions offering numerous vocational as well as arts and science majors. In the process, they may have lost the focused mission and carefully integrated academic program that for generations made small liberal arts colleges a model of quality undergraduate education.”

Musician Makes Video Complaining About United Airlines; Becomes A YouTube Hit

“Dave Carroll’s video for the song ‘United Breaks Guitars’ was posted on site earlier this week and has received more than 600,000 hits by Thursday evening. … The song recounts Carroll’s yearlong struggle to get compensation for what he calls ‘a vicious act of malice’ at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago last year.”

When High Romanticism Met The Spirit Of Scientific Inquiry

From Richard Holmes’s The Age of Wonder: “Romanticism as a cultural force is generally regarded as intensely hostile to science, its ideal of subjectivity eternally opposed to that of scientific objectivity. But I do not believe this was always the case, or that the terms are so mutually exclusive. The notion of wonder seems to be something that once united them, and can still do so. In effect there is Romantic science in the same sense there is Romantic poetry, and often for the same enduring reasons.”

Brüno Is Bad For The Gays

David Rakoff: “Baron Cohen’s Brüno is a gay minstrel, in the most literal sense of the word. Just as the characters of the burnt-cork vaudevillians had, bound up ineluctably with their dark complexions, traits like being shiftless, lazy, and ‘a-feared of spooks’ as their eyes bugged out in Neanderthal, superstitious terror, Brüno’s homosexuality comes bundled up with a lot of unattractive software.”

Actually, Brüno Is Not At All Bad For Gays

Dennis Lim: “Lost amid the dutiful hand-wringing about the movie’s capacity to offend is the rather remarkable fact that it takes on, with unprecedented purpose and directness, some of the most vexing and enduring bugbears surrounding on-screen homosexuality. Herewith, a few old themes and taboos that Brüno has its way with and that, if we’re lucky, will never be the same again.”

Kerfuffle In Edinburgh Over Handel Oratorio Deemed Anti-Scottish

“A piece of music celebrating the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden should not have been chosen to open the Edinburgh International Festival, a prominent Scottish philanthropist has told The Scotsman. Sir Tom Farmer said Festival regulars were ‘quite disturbed’ by the choice of Handel’s Judas Maccabeus and that the oratorio should not have been included in the programme.”

Carol Ann Duffy Funds Poetry Prize With Laureate Stipend

“[T]he prize, known as the Ted Hughes award for new work in poetry, will be awarded annually throughout Duffy’s 10-year term as laureate. … The prize, worth £5,000, will go to a UK poet working in any form – including poetry collections for adults and children, individual poems, radio poems, translations and verse dramas – who has made the ‘most exciting contribution’ to poetry that year.”