Thoroughly Thursday - the "Finals Week" Edition
Welcome back to Thoroughly Thursday, the Finals Week Edition. As nearly everyone knows, we are in an unprecedented time of educational opportunities. Never has it been easier to learn how to knit, get an MBA, officiate a wedding, or become a famous movie director, and nearly all of it from the comfort of your computer screen or smartphone. A couple of months ago, I invested in a marketing course that would help me combine my video production skills with digital campaign management.
As you probably know, the difficulty with the many, many different learning options for those of us taking self-directed courses, is that beyond the initial excitement of a new subject on Lynda.com or Udemy, momentum is hard to capture. So, to get myself to finish my marketing course I've put myself in a self-imposed Finals Week. It's been coffee for breakfast (sorry, kids) and smoothies for dinner. Also, when this is over, if anyone wants to meet up at the Quad to drink a case of Leinenkugel beer and play hacky sack, let me know.
What I'm Reading (Article) - We All Know the Illuminati Controls Everything
I came across a great article by U.S. Naval War College professor Tom Nichols titled "How America Lost Faith in Expertise." The American people have nearly always lionized the tough, do-it-yourself frontiersman, and for generations, a conscientious person could be both a generalist and a contributing member of society. However, the growing complexity of nearly everything in our lives means we are subject to global economic cycles, laws, societal expectations, and algorithms that we can barely understand, which has shifted more and more control to a select group of experts in different fields, most importantly within our government. As the historian Richard Hofstadter said, "Once the intellectual was gently ridiculed because he was not needed; now he is fiercely resented because he is needed too much." Two of the most common responses to this situation is to abdicate responsibility entirely or to reject expert advice as elitist in favor of rumors, conspiracy theories, and sensationalism. The real answer, Nichols writes, is that citizens must accept the necessity of experts, but use critical thinking in how best to apply their advice. You can read the full article here.
What I'm Listening to - So, It's Not Just the Single Ladies
I've been going through a bit of a reintroduction to Beyoncé lately. Though I've always enjoyed her music, I'm thinking I never appreciated how talented she is as a singer and performer. This last week I delved into both her excellent album Lemonade and the recently released recording HOMECOMING: THE LIVE ALBUM from her headlining performance at 2018 Coachella (also a documentary on Netflix). All Hail Queen Bey!
What I'm Watching - Don't Let the Devil Tune Your Guitar
In the late 1920s, the son of a sharecropper decided to become a bluesman in the Mississippi Delta. For years, he was an okay harmonica-player, but then after disappearing for a year, showed up one night in a juke joint and astounded the crowd with his guitar-playing skills. A story circulated that he sold his soul to be the world's best blues guitarist. This week I watched an excellent documentary on the legendary Robert Johnson called Devil at the Crossroads. The doc traces his upbringing, his tragically short life, his lasting impact on blues, jazz and rock and roll, and being the founding member of the 27 Club.
All the best, and remember, tomorrow is Friday. :)
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P.P.S. Peter Gabriel’s “Book of Love” - a love song for grown-ups.
P.P.P.S. I'm always on the lookout for new items to write about. If you notice something that you think would be worth sharing, send it my way.