Packaging terror

Last night I was watching the news before going to bed, and I saw an excerpt of a new ISIS propaganda video that apparently has several versions produced in different languages, including English. There was a section of the video that flashed through the last three or four American presidents, calling them awful names, then landed on a graphic that featured the letters "LGBT" and the word "sodomites" with a voiceover saying something about America being a land of sodomites. In the moment I dismissed it as gibberish, but the images and language kept coming back to me as I tried to fall asleep.

Artists I admire: Harley Erdman

When I was a graduate student at UMASS-Amherst, I had a dramaturgy professor named Harley Erdman. He had arrived at UMASS the year before I started, so he was also relatively new to the department when I started in September 1995.

Harley became an important part of my graduate school experience, and I'm happy to say that he continues to be an artistic and academic mentor for me.

Tips of ice bergs

I'm expected to navigate a ship (the classroom environment, what I'm teaching, every member of the group's sensitivities) through a room full of ice bergs, and I can only see what's above the surface with no idea what's below. It's sometimes very difficult to ascertain students' personal sensitivities, backgrounds, and needs if I don't somehow create a space where students feel comfortable speaking to me about those elements of their personal experiences. I don't know what's below the surface, and I can't know unless students feel comfortable sharing.