GET /freshly-pressed/

List Freshly Pressed Posts

Resource URL

Type URL and Format
GET https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/

Query Parameters

Parameter Type Description
http_envelope (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Some environments (like in-browser Javascript or Flash) block or divert responses with a non-200 HTTP status code. Setting this parameter will force the HTTP status code to always be 200. The JSON response is wrapped in an "envelope" containing the "real" HTTP status code and headers.
pretty (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Output pretty JSON
meta (string) Optional. Loads data from the endpoints found in the 'meta' part of the response. Comma separated list. Example: meta=site,likes
fields (string) Optional. Returns specified fields only. Comma separated list. Example: fields=ID,title
callback (string) An optional JSONP callback function.
number (int) The number of posts to return. Default: 10. Limit: 40. Default: 10.
after (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or after the specified datetime.
before (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or before the specified datetime.
content_width (int) When in context=display, images/embeds in post content will be set to the desired maximum width. Default: 480.
thumb_width (int) Desired width of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 252.
thumb_height (int) Desired height of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 160.

Response Parameters

Parameter Type Description
ID (int) The post ID.
site_ID (int) The site ID.
author (object) The author of the post.
date (iso 8601 datetime) The post's creation time.
modified (iso 8601 datetime) The post's most recent update time.
title (html) context dependent.
URL (url) The full permalink URL to the post.
short_URL (url) The wp.me short URL.
content (html) context dependent.
excerpt (html) context dependent.
slug (string) The name (slug) for the post, used in URLs.
guid (string) The GUID for the post.
status (string)
publish:
The post is published.
draft:
The post is saved as a draft.
pending:
The post is pending editorial approval.
future:
The post is scheduled for future publishing.
trash:
The post is in the trash.
auto-draft:
The post is a placeholder for a new post.
sticky (bool) Is the post sticky?
password (string) The plaintext password protecting the post, or, more likely, the empty string if the post is not password protected.
parent (object|false) A reference to the post's parent, if it has one.
type (string) The post's post_type. Post types besides post, page and revision need to be whitelisted using the rest_api_allowed_post_types filter.
comments_open (bool) Is the post open for comments?
pings_open (bool) Is the post open for pingbacks, trackbacks?
likes_enabled (bool) Is the post open to likes?
sharing_enabled (bool) Should sharing buttons show on this post?
gplusauthorship_enabled (bool) Should a Google+ account be associated with this post?
comment_count (int) The number of comments for this post.
like_count (int) The number of likes for this post.
i_like (bool) Does the current user like this post?
is_reblogged (bool) Did the current user reblog this post?
is_following (bool) Is the current user following this blog?
global_ID (string) A unique WordPress.com-wide representation of a post.
featured_image (url) The URL to the featured image for this post if it has one.
post_thumbnail (object) The attachment object for the featured image if it has one.
format (string)
standard:
Standard
aside:
Aside
chat:
Chat
gallery:
Gallery
link:
Link
image:
Image
quote:
Quote
status:
Status
video:
Video
audio:
Audio
geo (object|false)
publicize_URLs (array) Array of Twitter and Facebook URLs published by this post.
tags (object) Hash of tags (keyed by tag name) applied to the post.
categories (object) Hash of categories (keyed by category name) applied to the post.
attachments (object) Hash of post attachments (keyed by attachment ID).
metadata (array) Array of post metadata keys and values. All unprotected meta keys are available by default for read requests. Both unprotected and protected meta keys are available for authenticated requests with access. Protected meta keys can be made available with the rest_api_allowed_public_metadata filter.
meta (object) API result meta data
date_range (object) date range covered by current results.
number (int) The number of posts brought back by current query.
posts (array) An array of post objects, with added Freshly Pressed info, in the editorial property for each post.

Example

cURL

curl 'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1'

PHP

<?php

$options  = array (
  'http' => 
  array (
    'ignore_errors' => true,
  ),
);

$context  = stream_context_create( $options );
$response = file_get_contents(
  'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1',
  false,
  $context
);
$response = json_decode( $response );

?>

Response Body

{
    "date_range": {
        "newest": "2014-09-22T20:02:02+00:00",
        "oldest": "2014-09-17T20:02:02+00:00"
    },
    "number": 10,
    "posts": [
        {
            "ID": 4001,
            "site_ID": 23485561,
            "author": {
                "ID": 23685480,
                "login": "edrevets",
                "email": false,
                "name": "edrevets",
                "nice_name": "edrevets",
                "URL": "http:\/\/edrevets.wordpress.com",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/0.gravatar.com\/avatar\/9759d1ea082fcbaae8cc9b4a3fb8eb36?s=96&d=identicon&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/edrevets",
                "site_ID": 23485561
            },
            "date": "2014-09-03T23:32:28-07:00",
            "modified": "2014-09-03T23:32:28-07:00",
            "title": "Square Plates Are an Abomination on the Face of a Dying Earth",
            "URL": "http:\/\/snottingblack.com\/2014\/09\/03\/square-plates-are-an-abomination-on-the-face-of-a-dying-earth\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p1AxFn-12x",
            "content": "<p><a href=\"https:\/\/edrevets.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/image1.jpg\"><img class=\"alignleft size-medium wp-image-4004\" src=\"https:\/\/edrevets.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/image1.jpg?w=300&#038;h=224\" alt=\"image\" width=\"300\" height=\"224\" \/><\/a>A crises faces this generation. It is the crisis of the square plate, the better-than-you-evenly-sided monstrosity, the good-luck-getting-the-sauce slap in the face which is plaguing our restaurants, our cities, and our dogs.<\/p>\n<p>I am not a foodie. I am not a restauranteur nor a critic nor a connoisseur of anything, not even church bathrooms or peanut butter. I do not claim to possess special knowledge, powers, or high fives and I do not boast exceptional height or good looks.<\/p>\n<p>But I hope you will hear me for my cause, for I am a human. I am a person with almost disposable income, and I believe that I possess the right &#8211; nay &#8211; I demand the right to eat out of dishes that do not make me feel like a robot or a farm animal. I demand the right to eat out of proper dishes, not some trumped up piece of garbage, some toilet shard that is barely passing for a plate in what is barely passing for a place of hospitality.<\/p>\n<p>This is the struggle of our times. At the very height of human civilization, how is it possible that some have fallen so very low and are wallowing in the dregs of second-rate design, inhaling the exhaust of fads farting their way through existence. It is, to put it bluntly, ugly. It is ugly. Not only is it ugly in form, it is ugly in function, a true Jezebel of the dinner table, an embarrassment in porcelain&#8217;s clothing, an emperor wearing no clothes and caught trying to attend a Zumba class.<\/p>\n<p>It&#8217;s hard to know what is most terrible about this shameful spit of anti-design malfeasance. Is it how terribly clunky it is, its nightmarish IKEA edges, or its unforgivable flatness and lack of inspiration disguised as modernity? Is it the way it makes you want to smash it on the ground before it sucks any more life out of the world or causes yet another person to question their hopes and dreams? Is it the way that it is somehow smug, like someone who is technically nice but still makes you want to strangle them? \u00a0Is it the violence it inspires in everyone who sees it?<\/p>\n<p>Only God in God&#8217;s infinite wisdom can fathom and place a name on the depth of this plate&#8217;s crime against all that is good and holy, for it is an abomination on the face of a dying earth.<\/p>\n<p>I do not know the future and can merely put one step in front of another and take one breath at a time. But I hope and I pray for a day when all humanity will rejoice and join together in song as we dance and dance and dance, trampling the very last square-edged faux-modern plate into dust which will then blow away harmlessly into the boiling seas.<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>A crises faces this generation. It is the crisis of the square plate, the better-than-you-evenly-sided monstrosity, the good-luck-getting-the-sauce slap in the face which is plaguing our restaurants, our cities, and our dogs. I am not a foodie. I am not a restauranteur nor a critic nor a connoisseur of anything, not even church bathrooms or [&hellip;]<\/p>\n",
            "slug": "square-plates-are-an-abomination-on-the-face-of-a-dying-earth",
            "guid": "http:\/\/snottingblack.com\/?p=4001",
            "status": "publish",
            "sticky": false,
            "password": "",
            "parent": false,
            "type": "post",
            "comments_open": true,
            "pings_open": true,
            "likes_enabled": true,
            "sharing_enabled": true,
            "gplusauthorship_enabled": false,
            "comment_count": 8,
            "like_count": 81,
            "i_like": 0,
            "is_reblogged": 0,
            "is_following": 0,
            "global_ID": "f736a367aada94618c3f0ca1ef1b44f2",
            "featured_image": "",
            "post_thumbnail": null,
            "format": "standard",
            "geo": false,
            "publicize_URLs": [

            ],
            "tags": {
                "design": {
                    "ID": 148,
                    "name": "design",
                    "slug": "design",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 3,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:design",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:design\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "dining": {
                    "ID": 5956,
                    "name": "dining",
                    "slug": "dining",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 1,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:dining",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:dining\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "food": {
                    "ID": 586,
                    "name": "food",
                    "slug": "food",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 70,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:food",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:food\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "rants": {
                    "ID": 47,
                    "name": "rants",
                    "slug": "rants",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 3,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:rants",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:rants\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "restaurants": {
                    "ID": 1662,
                    "name": "restaurants",
                    "slug": "restaurants",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 2,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:restaurants",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:restaurants\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "san francisco": {
                    "ID": 1093,
                    "name": "san francisco",
                    "slug": "san-francisco",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 56,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:san-francisco",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/tags\/slug:san-francisco\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561"
                        }
                    }
                }
            },
            "categories": {
                "Food": {
                    "ID": 1871527,
                    "name": "Food",
                    "slug": "food-2",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 29,
                    "parent": 0,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/categories\/slug:food-2",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/categories\/slug:food-2\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561"
                        }
                    }
                }
            },
            "attachments": {
                "4004": {
                    "ID": 4004,
                    "URL": "https:\/\/edrevets.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/image1.jpg",
                    "guid": "http:\/\/edrevets.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/image1.jpg",
                    "mime_type": "image\/jpeg",
                    "width": 2592,
                    "height": 1936
                }
            },
            "metadata": [
                {
                    "id": "10661",
                    "key": "_wpas_done_2591225",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "10655",
                    "key": "_wpas_done_813888",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "10663",
                    "key": "_wpas_done_813889",
                    "value": "1"
                },
                {
                    "id": "10659",
                    "key": "_wpas_done_813890",
                    "value": "1"
                }
            ],
            "meta": {
                "links": {
                    "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/posts\/4001",
                    "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/posts\/4001\/help",
                    "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561",
                    "replies": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/posts\/4001\/replies\/",
                    "likes": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/23485561\/posts\/4001\/likes\/"
                }
            },
            "featured_media": {

            },
            "pseudo_ID": "f736a367aada94618c3f0ca1ef1b44f2",
            "is_external": false,
            "site_name": "Snotting black",
            "site_URL": "http:\/\/edrevets.wordpress.com",
            "site_is_private": false,
            "editorial": {
                "blog_id": "23485561",
                "post_id": "4001",
                "image": "https:\/\/s1.wp.com\/imgpress?crop=0px%2C0px%2C252px%2C160px&url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.wp.com%2Fimgpress%3Fw%3D252%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fedrevets.files.wordpress.com%252F2014%252F09%252Fimage1.jpg&unsharpmask=80,0.5,3",
                "custom_headline": "",
                "custom_blog_title": "",
                "displayed_on": "2014-09-22T20:02:02+00:00",
                "picked_on": "1970-01-01T00:33:34+00:00",
                "highlight_topic": "design",
                "highlight_topic_title": "",
                "screen_offset": "-18",
                "blog_name": "Snotting black",
                "site_id": "1"
            }
        },
        {
            "ID": 2459,
            "site_ID": 48251154,
            "author": {
                "ID": 47107696,
                "login": "muzandmuz",
                "email": false,
                "name": "Andy",
                "nice_name": "muzandmuz",
                "URL": "http:\/\/cityjackdaw.wordpress.com",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/2.gravatar.com\/avatar\/80bf7b05c92411308af422959577fd4f?s=96&d=identicon&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/muzandmuz",
                "site_ID": 48251154
            },
            "date": "2014-09-04T11:05:25+01:00",
            "modified": "2014-09-12T22:58:11+01:00",
            "title": "If Walls Could Talk, Concrete Confess",
            "URL": "http:\/\/cityjackdaw.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/04\/if-walls-could-talk-concrete-confess\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p3gskq-DF",
            "content": "<p>If walls could talk.<\/p>\n<p>If concrete could confess.<\/p>\n<p>If soul could seep through cement.<\/p>\n<p>If only one of those monochrome apparitions could reach out and take me by the hand, leading me into a world of smoke and ale and revelation.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/cityjackdaw.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/08\/image42.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-large wp-image-2461\" src=\"https:\/\/cityjackdaw.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/08\/image42.jpg?w=480&#038;h=306\" alt=\"image\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>The woman stood by the door on the right of the picture is my great grandmother. The two little girls are my grandfather&#8217;s older sisters. The guy on the far left, in the bowler hat, is my great grandfather. The other two younger men could be family, I don&#8217;t know. Will probably never know. Posing with a football and a trophy of an unknown triumph, they remain silent, anonymous ghosts. Enigmas of imagination.<\/p>\n<p>The building itself, its very brick and mortar, contains more than can be revealed in a two dimensional image. It contains that which is valued in meaning.<\/p>\n<p>Ancestors of mine dwelt in that place between 1901 and 1939. A descendent of theirs also ran the pub for a short period in the 1950&#8217;s. What emotions those rooms must have absorbed. Laughter and tears resonating in time. My great, great grandmother died in there, as did her son in law, my great grandfather.<\/p>\n<p>Behind those upstairs windows, in one of those unseen rooms, my grandfather was born. At the other end of life&#8217;s spectrum, two of his siblings died in there.<\/p>\n<p>Happy times, sad times. The building stands in the photograph as a mausoleum of memory.<\/p>\n<p>I would love to be able to go into that pub today, buy a drink and take a seat in the corner. Shift my sight and listen to echoes. Watch the ghost of an old man skip through those doors as a little boy. Perhaps whistling the tune of a song that one day, many years in the future, he would sing to another little boy.<\/p>\n<p>Hand me downs of blood and mannerism and story.<\/p>\n<p>Alas the pub no longer stands-it fell victim to the slum clearances that transformed whole neighbourhoods and scattered communities. I&#8217;ve been to the site where it originally stood. Ironically there was another pub there, empty and boarded up. Perhaps its own ghosts were walled up inside, caught in the shadows. Memories in a new mausoleum, waiting for people of their line to come searching and shift their sight.<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>If walls could talk. If concrete could confess. If soul could seep through cement. If only one of those monochrome apparitions could reach out and take me by the hand, leading me into a world of smoke and ale and revelation. The woman stood by the door on the right of the picture is my [&hellip;]<\/p>\n",
            "slug": "if-walls-could-talk-concrete-confess",
            "guid": "http:\/\/cityjackdaw.wordpress.com\/?p=2459",
            "status": "publish",
            "sticky": false,
            "password": "",
            "parent": false,
            "type": "post",
            "comments_open": true,
            "pings_open": true,
            "likes_enabled": true,
            "sharing_enabled": true,
            "gplusauthorship_enabled": false,
            "comment_count": 26,
            "like_count": 100,
            "i_like": 0,
            "is_reblogged": 0,
            "is_following": 0,
            "global_ID": "0b0908fdcf6a5f99ebb02c84be27647a",
            "featured_image": "",
            "post_thumbnail": null,
            "format": "standard",
            "geo": false,
            "publicize_URLs": [

            ],
            "tags": {
                "Ancestors": {
                    "ID": 62260,
                    "name": "Ancestors",
                    "slug": "ancestors",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 2,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:ancestors",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:ancestors\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "Black and White": {
                    "ID": 28222,
                    "name": "Black and White",
                    "slug": "black-and-white",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 2,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:black-and-white",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:black-and-white\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "Collyhurst": {
                    "ID": 25326657,
                    "name": "Collyhurst",
                    "slug": "collyhurst",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 6,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:collyhurst",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:collyhurst\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "Creative": {
                    "ID": 6263,
                    "name": "Creative",
                    "slug": "creative",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 23,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:creative",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:creative\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "Descendents": {
                    "ID": 904094,
                    "name": "Descendents",
                    "slug": "descendents",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 1,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:descendents",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:descendents\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "England": {
                    "ID": 1311,
                    "name": "England",
                    "slug": "england",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 31,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:england",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:england\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154"
                        }
                    }
                },
                "Genealogy": {
                    "ID": 3685,
                    "name": "Genealogy",
                    "slug": "genealogy",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 14,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:genealogy",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154\/tags\/slug:genealogy\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/48251154"
                        }
                    }
                },
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            "content": "<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><em><a href=\"https:\/\/venturingeast.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/img_64671.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-134\" src=\"https:\/\/venturingeast.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/img_64671.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"IMG_6467\"   \/><\/a><\/em><\/p>\n<hr \/>\n<p><em>Dear Coffee,<\/em><\/p>\n<p>Make yourself comfortable at the dining room table. Take a seat. Don&#8217;t worry, you&#8217;re not in trouble, so relax your steaming breath. I have so much to tell you.<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;ve heard that your conception was a mistake. I hope you do not view yourself in a bitter light because of this revelation. Indeed, when Kaldi munched one of your berries, he was happier for it, and so eventually were his cohorts\u00a0upon discovering that their\u00a0concentration\u00a0during prayer was heightened and elongated. Nowadays, you fuel the midnight study frenzies of university students, the button-mashing gamers in their rounds of Mario Kart, and the kids who just want to watch the sky from sunset to sunrise.<\/p>\n<p>I remember a time in which you had a little fight within my pituitary gland. I think those herbs at the hormonal construction grounds were jealous, and opted to whisper scathing secrets about you instead of offering a welcome handshake and &#8220;hello.&#8221; I don&#8217;t know how much provocation you offered, or who started the fight, but the days of your scuffles are done. I no longer fear a fluttering heart, or thoughts mashing into one another like atoms in a supercollider, threatening to rip and burst. I admit, a few unkind thoughts about you surfaced, but rest assured, do not steam in anger and hurt. I hold no grudge.<\/p>\n<p>If anyone should apologize about anything here, it&#8217;s me. I&#8217;m sorry, at first, for dousing your perfume with my own brew of creams and syrups. I tainted you, changed your color, buried your natural beauty beneath a prim and proper mask. I&#8217;ve learned from my errors now &#8211; those days have been usurped, in favor of only mild alteration. A sprinkle of sugar, a splash of cream. I hope you breathe a little better now, and aren&#8217;t coughing up sugar in your sleep. You look much prettier with minimal cosmetics.<\/p>\n<p>It is September, and I will tell you all stitches in the holes of our relationship are mended. This morning I enjoyed you in pumpkin form to celebrate autumn&#8217;s (relatively nonexistent) arrival. I have a shrine in the kitchen devoted to you. It is metal and twirls like a dancer, each lid visible and proudly displaying your every\u00a0variety: Pike&#8217;s Place, coconut, and even your cool\u00a0alter-ego, Iced. Your brother Espresso, of whom you think so highly, sits next to you, too. I do hope the pair of you get along &#8211; for I know he is stronger, but you have age and wisdom that he does not entirely possess.\u00a0Never feel like competitors. You are both lovely just the way you are.<\/p>\n<p>It hurts you, I bet, to hear all of the conflicting rumors on the news about the health implications linked to you, and that some think of you as less than lovely. Hypertension. Meddling in the affairs of fickle hormones (I apologize for bringing up a sore subject). But these are the same health professionals\u00a0who eat McDonalds&#8217; and Lean Cuisine frozen dishes on their breaks. The same ones who sleep three hours per day. The\u00a0<em>same ones<\/em> who gulp four or five cups of you or Espresso in their shifts. I smell hypocrisy, a pungent scent more odorous than aged Espresso.<\/p>\n<p>So, Coffee, I must end our conversation with a thank you. Thank you for listening and for your daily motivation. You understand the grouchy mornings, and take them with no complaint. You take nothing, but give. You always smell fresh. Humans could learn a lesson or two from you.<\/p>\n<p>With love,<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"https:\/\/venturingeast.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/sig.jpg\"><img class=\"alignleft wp-image-130 size-thumbnail\" src=\"https:\/\/venturingeast.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/sig.jpg?w=150&#038;h=51\" alt=\"sig\" width=\"150\" height=\"51\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<hr \/>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n",
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            "content": "<p style=\"text-align:center;\"><a href=\"https:\/\/annejosephson.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/young-gymnast-pre-meet.jpg\"><img class=\"alignnone size-medium wp-image-831\" src=\"https:\/\/annejosephson.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/young-gymnast-pre-meet.jpg?w=300&#038;h=198\" alt=\"young gymnast pre meet\" width=\"300\" height=\"198\" \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>In honor of the 2014-2015 competitive meet season beginning, twenty thoughts that go through your head before a gymnastics meet from the perspectives of a parent, a gymnast, a coach, a judge and a meet director:\u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Parent\u2026<\/p>\n<ol>\n<li>Are we late? My daughter will kill me if we are.<\/li>\n<li>Coffee? Please let there be coffee\u2026<\/li>\n<li>Where are my friends?<\/li>\n<li>Where is Missy\u2019s mom\u2026I don\u2019t know how to do her hair?<\/li>\n<li>I hope she doesn\u2019t want to go to lunch after this.<\/li>\n<li>I wonder if she remembered her grips?<\/li>\n<li>Oh that judge has such pretty red hair\u2026<\/li>\n<li>I hope she went pee.<\/li>\n<li>How is it that all the front row seats are taken?<\/li>\n<li>I hope I packed enough snacks for her.<\/li>\n<li>My god, I\u2019ve been on movie sets with less camera equipment than that dad has on him.<\/li>\n<li>I don\u2019t even like hot dogs, yet strangely I am craving one.<\/li>\n<li>Did I transfer the wash to the dryer?<\/li>\n<li>Oh god, that gym is here that always wins everything\u2026<\/li>\n<li>At least they put the beams where the parents can see!<\/li>\n<li>Why do judges wear blue?<\/li>\n<li>Surely I deserve a donut for getting up at the crack of dawn to drive 2 hours to a gym in the middle of nowhere.<\/li>\n<li>$24 admission, $3 for score sheet, $18 concessions, $52 for new leo\u2026and I\u2019ll be working overtime next week.<\/li>\n<li>Did she pack her good luck bear?<\/li>\n<li>I hope she remembers her routine.\u00a0<\/li>\n<\/ol>\n<p>Gymnast\u2026\u00a0<\/p>\n<ol>\n<li>Are we late? My coach will kill me if we are.<\/li>\n<li>I hope my number has a 4 in it\u2014that\u2019s my lucky number.<\/li>\n<li>Where is my team?<\/li>\n<li>I need Missy\u2019s mom to do my hair!<\/li>\n<li>I wonder if we can go to lunch after this?<\/li>\n<li>I hope I remembered my grips.<\/li>\n<li>Ugh, I hate the red headed judge. Why is she always at my meet? And on beam?<\/li>\n<li>I should have gone pee.<\/li>\n<li>Please don\u2019t let my parents sit in the front row.<\/li>\n<li>Why do my parents pack me so much food? Does she think the meet is a 3 day event? Ohh, gummy worms!<\/li>\n<li>The National Anthem makes me feel nervous. I wonder if that will be true forever?<\/li>\n<li>I hope they have good equipment.<\/li>\n<li>Did I do my math homework?<\/li>\n<li>Oh no, Perfect Gym is here. Well, guess I won\u2019t be placing.<\/li>\n<li>Why do they put the beams right in front of the parents?<\/li>\n<li>Why do judges wear blue?<\/li>\n<li>Wonder what the goodie bag is?<\/li>\n<li>I cannot wait to pick out a new leo!<\/li>\n<li>Thank goodness! My good luck teddy bear.<\/li>\n<li>I hope I remember my routine.<\/li>\n<\/ol>\n<p>Coach\u2026\u00a0<\/p>\n<ol>\n<li>Am I late? The parents will kill me if I am.<\/li>\n<li>Coffee? Please let there be coffee\u2026<\/li>\n<li>Where are my gymnasts?<\/li>\n<li>Thank god for Missy\u2019s mom or their hair would be a mess.<\/li>\n<li>Will I have a chance to talk to parents, eat lunch and use the bathroom in the 5 minutes between sessions?<\/li>\n<li>I wonder if they remembered their grips?<\/li>\n<li>Seriously? The red headed judge again?<\/li>\n<li>I bet the girls didn\u2019t go pee.<\/li>\n<li>Please don\u2019t let my parents sit in the front row.<\/li>\n<li>Do the parents even read the team handbook rule about no candy in the snack bags?<\/li>\n<li>Please let the ipod work\u2026<\/li>\n<li>Seriously? Am I the only one who adjusts the bars?\u00a0\u00a0 A little help please.<\/li>\n<li>Did I ask my roommate to feed the dog?<\/li>\n<li>Great\u2026Mike\u2019s super homeschooled future Olympians are in our session\u2026<\/li>\n<li>Why do they put the beams right in front of the parents?<\/li>\n<li>Why do judges wear blue?<\/li>\n<li>Anyone know what the Seahawks score is?<\/li>\n<li>52 bucks for a leo? Maybe I should reconsider my career choice\u2026<\/li>\n<li>Why must they all bring so many teddy bears?<\/li>\n<li>I hope they remember their routines.<\/li>\n<\/ol>\n<p>Judge\u2026<\/p>\n<ol>\n<li>Am I\u00a0late? The meet director\u00a0will kill me if I am.<\/li>\n<li>Coffee? Please let there be coffee\u2026<\/li>\n<li>Where are my friends? \u00a0Please let me judge with a friend&#8230;<\/li>\n<li>Look how darling these girls&#8217; hair-dos are!<\/li>\n<li>I hope\u00a0we don&#8217;t have Subway for lunch.<\/li>\n<li>Why do level 3s wear grips?<\/li>\n<li>I really need to get my hair color retouched.<\/li>\n<li>I hope\u00a0there&#8217;s time to pee between sessions.<\/li>\n<li>Wow the front row is close to the floor.<\/li>\n<li>Oh good, peanut M and Ms on the table!\u00a0<\/li>\n<li>Wow, I still feel nervous when I hear the National Anthem.<\/li>\n<li>Who eats hot dogs at 8am?<\/li>\n<li>Did I transfer the wash to the dryer?<\/li>\n<li>Oh\u00a0Mike&#8217;s kids are here; they always look so good.<\/li>\n<li>Seriously? \u00a0The beams are practically in the audience. \u00a0The dad with all the camera equipment can probably see my notebook.<\/li>\n<li>Why do we have to\u00a0wear blue?<\/li>\n<li>Surely I deserve a donut for getting up at the crack of dawn to drive 2 hours to a gym in the middle of nowhere.<\/li>\n<li>$24 a session times three sessions\u2026and I\u2019ll still be working overtime next week.<\/li>\n<li>Look how cute all of these kids&#8217; bears are.<\/li>\n<li>I hope she remembers her routine.\u00a0<\/li>\n<\/ol>\n<p>Meet director\u2026\u00a0<\/p>\n<ol>\n<li>Are we running late? Everyone\u00a0will kill me if we are.<\/li>\n<li>Coffee? Please let there be coffee\u2026<\/li>\n<li>Where are the\u00a0gymnasts for this session?<\/li>\n<li>We should remember to sell hair glitter\u00a0next meet. \u00a0I have never seen so much hair glitter\u00a0.<\/li>\n<li>Will I have a chance to talk to upload the data to MSO,\u00a0eat lunch and use the bathroom in the 5 minutes between sessions?<\/li>\n<li>We should also sell grips. \u00a0Why do so many of them forget their grips?<\/li>\n<li>Thank goodness the booster club remembered the peanut M and Ms for diva judge. \u00a0<\/li>\n<li>Please don&#8217;t let the toilet over flow.<\/li>\n<li>Please don\u2019t let parents reserve the entire front row.<\/li>\n<li>What part only water on the floor can coaches not understand?<\/li>\n<li>Please let the ipod work\u2026and the scoring system&#8230;oh god, the scoring system.<\/li>\n<li>Seriously?\u00a0Can someone help him adjust the bars&#8230;we are going to run behind schedule!\u00a0<\/li>\n<li>Are we on schedule?<\/li>\n<li>How many scratches?<\/li>\n<li>Why do parents want to sit so close to the beams?<\/li>\n<li>Why do judges wear blue?<\/li>\n<li>Does anyone know how many kids are left in this rotation?<\/li>\n<li>52 bucks for a leo? Maybe\u00a0my kid can go to college after all&#8230;<\/li>\n<li>We should also sell teddy bears.<\/li>\n<li>I hope they remember their routines.<\/li>\n<\/ol>\n<p>Good luck to all of the gymnasts, parents, coaches, judges and meet directors for a safe and successful season filled with lots of coffee, trouble free iPod connections, good viewing, awesome goody bags and timely meets.<\/p>\n<p>And I hope they remember their routines.<\/p>\n<p>\u00a0<\/p>\n",
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            "title": "a letter to mitchell browne, &#8216;why should artists at work fund idlers at art?&#8217;",
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            "content": "<p><em>I&#8217;m so happy to bring you this letter. One of my favourite artistic collaborators,\u00a0Dave Lamb, has written this beautiful, eloquent, generous and immensely clever response to Mitchell Browne&#8217;s Syndey Morning Herald article <a href=\"http:\/\/m.smh.com.au\/comment\/why-should-artists-at-work-fund-idlers-at-art-20140829-109k5a.html?login_token=btiNKQpzexW6Im2MBois2Bs2LJ7WetTafpDX0QS3MPBxQzHMj5vwqdSev5KIEwow1Dz7H-GJVO5UwV8AY7CLyw198968&amp;member_token=rHOlsJODgxh9IlRWUCMGLq55ciE1tpU4foiaTUSsILCIdU8SzlueheMVSCQQFNsmzExZ_hdI7pRhhHnFnVDYkQ198968&amp;expiry=1417139340\">&#8216;WHY SHOULD ARTISTS AT WORK FUND\u00a0IDLERS AT ART?&#8217;<\/a>\u00a0Enjoy and, if you happen to know Mitchell, please pass this on. Dave wants to hang out.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p>\u00a0<\/p>\n<p>Hi Mitchell<\/p>\n<p>My name is Dave, and I\u2019m an artist. We\u2019ve never met, although you assume an awful lot about my lifestyle.<\/p>\n<p>Last week I read your opinion piece on the Sydney Morning Herald website, along with the comments it generated. I must admit, I originally felt a lot of the ire that was expressed there, but I realise it\u2019s not fair or productive to respond with scorn or sarcasm \u2013 that would only serve to distance our positions further, and one of the chief goals of the arts is, in my opinion, to bring different perspectives of life closer together in an attempt to create mutual understanding.<\/p>\n<p>I respond in that spirit, not to criticise or correct you but hopefully to further our understanding of each other. Most importantly, I don\u2019t want you to feel that all I\u2019m saying is \u201cyou don\u2019t understand art\u201d &#8211; that would be unfair, narrow-minded and probably quite offensive to you. My hope is that this response reaches you and that you read with an open mind, and possibly come to a different understanding of the potential and importance of the arts to our society.<\/p>\n<p>Your central point \u2013 that $200 million funding for the Australia Council is in effect a robbery of hard-working taxpayers to fund the laziness of artists \u2013 seems to me to have 3 elements: firstly, that tax revenue would be better used if spent directly by the taxpayer; secondly, that artists take advantage of funding to be lazy and self indulgent; and finally, that funding the arts in general is a waste \u2013 that the people paying the taxes should be able to choose to pay or not, in whatever amount and for whatever work they deem worthwhile.<\/p>\n<p>I agree that all government expenditure warrants scrutiny, and I understand that it\u2019s easiest to complain about funding for the things that you don\u2019t believe benefit you \u2013 I personally don\u2019t believe that as much funding should go to the defence force, or to religious counselling in schools, or diesel fuel subsidies for mining corporations, but there are cases to be made for the programs and business models that receive that funding.<\/p>\n<p>If we were able to choose where our tax revenue went, the very real possibility is that some things that were crucial to our society (roads and public transport, or maybe health and education, or perhaps defence) would receive far less funding than they need, because people don\u2019t use them every day, or don\u2019t recognise the flow-on benefits that such funded services provide. We live in a pluralistic society, which generally means that we accept the unique perspective and needs of every person that lives within our borders. Pluralism is about more than just race or religion or creed, it\u2019s an understanding that even though I don\u2019t particularly like or value the things that some other people do, our society and government operates to give as many people as possible the freedom and ability to live in the way they choose.<\/p>\n<p>For some people, that includes the arts.<\/p>\n<p><div id=\"attachment_1456\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption alignnone\"><a href=\"https:\/\/schoolforbirds.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/polyglot-theatre.jpg\"><img class=\"wp-image-1456 size-large\" src=\"https:\/\/schoolforbirds.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/polyglot-theatre.jpg?w=480&#038;h=319\" alt=\"polyglot theatre\"   \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">SOUND OF DRAWING, Polyglot Theatre, 2014, Sarah Walker<\/p><\/div>\n<p>The purpose of government funding for the arts isn\u2019t solely to pay an individual artist. Funding is often used to subsidise ticket prices for national arts events \u2013 exhibitions, festivals and companies \u2013 ensuring that access to art forms across a wide range of disciplines isn\u2019t restricted just to those who can afford it. It means that participation in art, creatively or receptively, is possible for people from all backgrounds and sectors in our community, and sends a message that we encourage representations of lives other than our own \u2013 Pluralism. The existence of government funding for the arts is a statement that art is important to the development of a society beyond its current understanding of itself.<\/p>\n<p>The $200 million funding is distributed to both individual artists and companies across myriad art forms for several purposes. In some cases, the funding is used to develop and present a piece or series of works in an artists\u2019 discipline, in others it is used to fund further training in a particular field or form. In all cases, the recipient must have proved both a level of skill and capability in their practice that shows they are pursuing this art form as a career, as well as a plan detailing how they will use the funds to contribute something to the society that has paid for it.<\/p>\n<p>Funding isn\u2019t just handed out to whoever is standing in line with an idea \u2013 grants are given to artists who have already invested their own time and money in educating themselves and expanding both the skills of their craft and their knowledge of arts history and practice to understand where they fit and what they can contribute. For many artists, years have been spent working several different part-time jobs so that they can afford weekly classes and workshops. Crucially, the time spent on these unpaid creative endeavours is not the same as engaging in a hobby or playing for enjoyment. For a career artist, it is work.<\/p>\n<p>The impression of the artist being idle is an old one, and if any artistic career looks easy than it\u2019s a testament to the skill of the artist. The audience should only see the finished result. They shouldn\u2019t see the pain, the uncertainty, the regret, the self-loathing, the incessant questioning and reassessment and screaming silently \u201cWhat the hell am I doing this for?\u201d<\/p>\n<p>As an actor, particularly while performing in schools as an aid to English education (yes, that gets funded too, but out of the education budget rather than the Australia Council) one of the most common questions I am asked is \u201cHow do you remember all those lines?\u201d The answer, invariably, is \u201cHard Work\u201d, but the audience isn\u2019t there for the hours of rehearsal and forgetting and paraphrasing, they only see the lines being remembered. Hopefully.<\/p>\n<p>Often, we will pay for the hard work ourselves, either because we want to showcase our talents or because we believe so strongly in the work that we want to give it to an audience. But some works require financial backing beyond the capacity of a part-time cafe job. That\u2019s where funding comes in.<\/p>\n<p><div id=\"attachment_1457\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption alignnone\"><a href=\"https:\/\/schoolforbirds.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/chunkymoves.jpg\"><img class=\"size-large wp-image-1457\" src=\"https:\/\/schoolforbirds.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/chunkymoves.jpg?w=480&#038;h=319\" alt=\"Rehearsal photography, COMPLEXITY OF BELONGING, Chunky Move, MTC, Melbourne Festival and Falk Richter, 2014, Sarah Walker\"   \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Rehearsal photography, COMPLEXITY OF BELONGING, Chunky Move, MTC, Melbourne Festival and Falk Richter, 2014, Sarah Walker<\/p><\/div>\n<p>The potential end result of funding individual arts projects is that individuals and companies receive both awareness among the audience and income from the presentation of the work, both of which afford them the opportunity to create more and different work supported by their own financial resources and a connected audience base that has the potential to grow by the expansion of access and awareness.<\/p>\n<p>The intent, just as in any other instance of government funding, is that from an initial investment a company is able to grow to the point of self-sufficiency, generating employment for more artists, which in turn generates future tax revenue for the government that exceeds the initial investment \u2013 tax revenue on both the income from and audience and the wages paid to artists. The investment is intended to ultimately create ongoing return.<\/p>\n<p>Funding for individual artists serves a similar purpose. The artist receives the grant to assist them in activities to further their skills and develop new networks. Think of it in the same way as a commonwealth supported trade apprenticeship \u2013 by providing support for an artist to undertake classes, workshops, creative development or exploration of form, the funding assists the artist in developing skills and networks that further their career prospects and employment potential, leading to more work that converts back into tax revenue for the government.<\/p>\n<p>And now, some perspective on that $200 Million you\u2019re worried about Mitchell. It equates to less than $9 for each Australian citizen. Of course, not all Australians pay taxes. Statistics from the 2009-10 financial year indicated that 55% of adult Australians paid tax \u2013 that\u2019s around 7.15 million people. So the $200 million in funding for the arts is around $28 for each taxpayer.<\/p>\n<p>For some people that\u2019s still a lot of money, and I understand that it might seem like there\u2019s no return for them, so what does their $28 get them? Reporting from the last 6 years shows funding being distributed to professional theatre companies around Australia, which subsidises ticket prices for the audience; to art galleries to facilitate free entry; to tours of performances and festivals to regional Australia, ensuring arts access is not restricted to major urban areas. It has facilitated new work from musicians \u2013 both classical and contemporary; from writers \u2013 both literature and performance; from actors, dancers, visual artists, jewellers, sculptors, circuses and more. All of this work was available to Australian audiences in return for that $28 of their tax revenue. And if they chose to engage, they would walk away with so much more.<\/p>\n<p>Quantifying the effect the arts has on society is always a difficult prospect. Statistically, in a study performed by the Australia Council in 2010, 53% of Australians engage in the arts as an audience, and a further 40% also actively participate in creating art. That\u2019s around 9.2 Million artists engaging in theatre, music, literature, visual art, dance, craft and more and 12 Million receiving that art.<\/p>\n<p>In financial terms, ABS data from 2009-10 shows that the cultural and creative sectors provided a Gross Value Add of $86 Billion to the Australian economy, outstripping the contribution of both retail and education, and more than doubling the contribution of Agriculture, Forestry and Mining at $29 Billion. As a point of comparison, the mining industry alone received $492 Million in government subsidies in 2012-13, along with generous tax concessions.<\/p>\n<p>But art is intended for more than financial gain \u2013 Phil Scott wrote (also in response to your piece, Mitchell) that \u201cArt sees society through an individual and questioning perspective\u201d. He echoes the opinion of Shakespeare, who thought the purpose of theatre \u201cboth at the first and now, was and is, to hold as \u2018twere a mirror up to nature.\u201d I agree with them both, but frame it a little differently.<\/p>\n<p>I think the power of great art is not that it tells us who we are, but that it allows us to recognise elements of ourselves \u2013 emotional states, or behaviours, or hopes and dreams and fears \u2013 in other people. If we are told that we are a certain thing, either good or bad, we can listen and agree (or not), but remain largely unaffected. But in seeing elements of ourselves within a fiction or a representation \u2013 either on stage, or within a piece of music, or in the form of a sculpture or twist of a brushstroke \u2013 we have a very real chance of understanding that aspect of ourselves by recognising it and describing it in our own terms.<\/p>\n<p>This is, I believe, a far more powerful and instructive form of self-reflection \u2013 nobody has told you \u201cYou are this thing\u201d, you haven\u2019t needed to be defensive or react to them to protect your idea of yourself, but you\u2019ve come to understand something about yourself by observing. And once we acknowledge that we can understand more about ourselves, we acknowledge that we have the ability to change if we choose. And once we acknowledge we have that choice, then we become very aware of the effects of the choices we make. And then we can extend our understanding towards others, observing their choices and the effects they have. And, potentially, we find it easier to accept things in others we have previously just reacted to.<\/p>\n<p><div id=\"attachment_1458\" style=\"width: 490px\" class=\"wp-caption alignnone\"><a href=\"https:\/\/schoolforbirds.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/paperorchestra.jpg\"><img class=\"size-large wp-image-1458\" src=\"https:\/\/schoolforbirds.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/paperorchestra.jpg?w=480&#038;h=318\" alt=\"The writer, Dave Lamb, in a promotional image for Pop Up Playground and the MSO's PAPER ORCHESTRA, Sarah Walker\"   \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">The writer, Dave Lamb, in a promotional image for Pop Up Playground and the MSO&#8217;s PAPER ORCHESTRA, Sarah Walker<\/p><\/div>\n<p>Do you see what I\u2019m trying to say, Mitchell? Art gives us the opportunity to observe and understand both ourselves and others without threat or fear. Good art tells us something we didn\u2019t already know, and great art helps us understand the things we already did. It shows us who we are, asks us if we accept ourselves in that way, and gives us the power to change if we choose. The very best art will tell us not just who we are, but who everyone is, and will allow us to accept and understand not just what makes us different but what makes us unalterably the same.<\/p>\n<p>I hope you choose to engage with the art available to you as a result of government funding Mitchell. I hope you take a chance with your spare time and surprise yourself. If you\u2019re ever in Melbourne and looking to fill an evening, I\u2019d love to take you to a show that was funded by an Arts Council Grant and sit and talk about it afterwards. If you\u2019re here during the Fringe or International Arts Festivals, I can make a week\u2019s worth of recommendations \u2013 I\u2019ll even pay for the tickets, it\u2019s the least I can do.<\/p>\n<p>Art offers us opinions and perspectives other than our own. Art offers us choices. But the first choice has to be ours. I hope you make that choice Mitchell, I hope you discover the other worlds that are there for you, and I hope it inspires you and your talented tradie mates to share your stories with the rest of us \u2013 I bet you could teach us a thing or two, and I hope I get to learn them.<\/p>\n<p>Yours faithfully and artistically,<\/p>\n<p>Dave Lamb<\/p>\n<p><em>Dave is a Melbourne-based actor who is currently appearing in\u00a0<\/em>The City They Burned.\u00a0<em>He tweets at @davenlamb and, if you want to see him doing something utterly ridiculous&#8230; <a href=\"https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=UbOSTM3IozY\">He calls this evidence that you shouldn&#8217;t take him too seriously.\u00a0<\/a>My deepest thanks to Dave for this wonderful letter.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p><em>More of Sarah Walker&#8217;s amazing photography can be found<a href=\"http:\/\/www.sarahwalkerphotos.com\"> here<\/a>.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p>\u00a0<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>I&#8217;m so happy to bring you this letter. One of my favourite artistic collaborators,\u00a0Dave Lamb, has written this beautiful, eloquent, generous and immensely clever response to Mitchell Browne&#8217;s Syndey Morning Herald article &#8216;WHY SHOULD ARTISTS AT WORK FUND\u00a0IDLERS AT ART?&#8217;\u00a0Enjoy and, if you happen to know Mitchell, please pass this on. Dave wants to hang [&hellip;]<\/p>\n",
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            "title": "Goodbye to the Loch Ness Monster?: on British\/Scottish &#8216;unity&#8217; campaigns and a potential Very Near Abroad Indeed",
            "URL": "http:\/\/bakercatherine.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/14\/goodbye-to-the-loch-ness-monster-on-britishscottish-unity-campaigns-and-a-potential-very-near-abroad-indeed\/",
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            "content": "<p>I haven&#8217;t had much to say about the Scottish independence referendum. I&#8217;ve never lived or worked in Scotland, and my family background has no relevant connections either, so whether a Yes or No outcome would be best for Scotland isn&#8217;t a debate I have much to contribute to.<\/p>\n<p>(I&#8217;m also conscious that the problem of Too Many People From The Rest Of The UK Deciding What They Think Is Best For Scotland is one reason the idea of an independence referendum ever got this far, whatever happens on Thursday the 18th.)<\/p>\n<p>I have occasionally commented on aspects of the run-up to the referendum which have resonance for political culture in England, where I do live (I grew up in London, and lived in the South-East until I moved to East Yorkshire in 2012) &#8211; such as the astonishing proportion of the electorate (97%) who have <a href=\"http:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/uk-news\/2014\/sep\/11\/referendum-registered-voters-scotland-four-million-97-per-cent\">registered to vote<\/a> on Thursday, and the anticipated turnout figures that would be much higher than any recent UK general elections. The rest of the UK needs these levels of political participation too, and whatever happens in the referendum, we need to keep asking what will help achieve it.<\/p>\n<p>Then there&#8217;s the mess of Westminster&#8217;s contributions to the No campaign, which I feel more comfortable expressing disappointment with &#8211; can they <em>really<\/em> have planned to <a href=\"http:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/politics\/2014\/sep\/10\/scottish-independence-referendum-cameron-miliband-clegg\">remind Scottish voters with a week to go<\/a> that you hardly ever see the Prime Minister in Scotland most of the time, and certainly not in any structured way? And is the continued Conservative brinkmanship about British membership of the EU\u00a0<em>really<\/em> the most effective way of persuading voters that No is a\u00a0 less risky choice than Yes?<\/p>\n<p>Something seems to have shifted in English discourse about the referendum since last weekend, when YouGov published <a href=\"http:\/\/uk.reuters.com\/article\/2014\/09\/07\/uk-scotland-independence-poll-idUKKBN0H10OT20140907\">the first opinion poll<\/a> to give the Yes vote a majority. There are good reasons to be cautious about the conclusions of any one poll (see <a href=\"http:\/\/blog.whatscotlandthinks.org\/2014\/09\/icm-put-yes-ahead-perhaps\/\">John Curtice&#8217;s daily analyses<\/a> of the various polls&#8217; methods and results, and Patrick McGhee&#8217;s comments on <a href=\"http:\/\/vcuel.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/13\/go-not-to-the-elves-for-counsel-for-they-will-say-both-no-and-yes\/\">making sense of the Don&#8217;t Knows<\/a>), but in terms of general trends, the strong No lead of a year or more ago has now shifted to a much closer and uncertain outcome, which will need to be carefully managed whatever the result.<\/p>\n<p><strong>Let&#8217;s Stay Together?<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>The Yes-majority poll of a week ago does seem to have made the idea that Scotland might become a separate state from the rest of the UK something much more thinkable in England than it has been before. Part of this, of course, will be to do with agenda-setting in the media &#8211; television news in particular needs to keep finding new angles on continuing stories &#8211; but the practical implications of an independent Scotland for the rest of the UK have shifted from joke to conversation topic over the course of the referendum campaign.<\/p>\n<p>(Though if the idea of an independent Scotland was practically unimaginable in England before, what does that say about the extent to which political discourse in England has appreciated Scottish claims to be a <em>national<\/em> community?)<\/p>\n<p>A few days ago, the historians Dan Snow and Tom Holland <a href=\"http:\/\/blogs.spectator.co.uk\/coffeehouse\/2014\/09\/uk-unity-rally-announced-trafalgar-square-6pm-on-monday\/\">called a &#8216;unity rally&#8217;<\/a> to &#8216;give a voice to everyone who doesn&#8217;t have a vote in the referendum to break up Britain&#8217;. The rally, under the slogan <a href=\"https:\/\/www.letsstaytogether.org.uk\/\">Let&#8217;s Stay Together<\/a>, will be held in Trafalgar Square on Monday; a similar unity rally in Montr\u00e9al is often credited with having defeated Quebecois nationalists&#8217; independence campaign in 1995. (It may, of course, have helped that the 1995 rally was <em>in<\/em> Quebec.)<\/p>\n<p>The voice of this section of the No campaign seems to be quirkily nostalgic (the <em>Spectator<\/em> journalist Fraser Nelson, inviting readers to the rally, wrote &#8216;I\u2019m thinking of inviting some subscribers around for a cup of tea in our garden at 4.30pm and we can walk over later&#8217;), much like many items in the <a href=\"http:\/\/www.theguardian.com\/politics\/2014\/sep\/13\/jenny-colgan-no-scotland-fewer-walls-barriers\">list of elements of British culture<\/a> that the novelist Jenny Colgan gave in today&#8217;s <em>Observer<\/em> that she would be sad to lose if Scotland separated from the UK:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>It&#8217;s my birthright of James Bond. Fish and Chips. Tutti Frutti. <em>Private Eye<\/em>. Tizer. The Pet Shop Boys. Spit the dog. The Office. The Ladybird <em>Cinderella<\/em>. Philip Larkin. Flower of Scotland. Windrush. Christopher Hitchens. The Traverse. The Radio 1 roadshow. Mary Poppins. The Tempest. Narnia.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>Colgan (who describes her identity as Scottish, British and European) is arguing that the No campaign has failed to communicate with voters on an emotional level &#8211; or at least, that the only emotion it <em>has<\/em> evoked among its arguments about economic detail has been fear. (Tom Holland broadly agreed, <a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/holland_tom\/status\/511074532061609984\">tweeting on Sunday<\/a>: &#8216;I like being in the same country as @jennycolgan<b><\/b>, Glasgow &amp; the Loch Ness Monster, &amp; I really, REALLY don&#8217;t want it to change #Indyref<b><\/b>&#8216;)<\/p>\n<p>Colgan argues that instead, the Better Together campaign should have been playing on the same emotions that Danny Boyle appealed to in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>When Tim Berners-Lee tweeted, during the Olympics ceremony: &#8220;this is for everyone&#8221; did he not mean us all? From craggy glens to rocky Cornish coves; from tumbling Yorkshire stonewalls to green and boundless Welsh fields, to the Kent hops; from the vast flat plains of netherlandish Norfolk to the grey formal stones of the New Town; echoing through the silent shipyards of those great brothers-in-arms: Glasgow, Liverpool, Belfast?<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>To me, this reads as a strikingly parochial reinterpretation of the Berners-Lee segment of the opening ceremony &#8211; I interpreted Berners-Lee&#8217;s &#8216;everyone&#8217; as global, in line with the director Danny Boyle&#8217;s idea for the ceremony to dramatise the message that Britain<span class=\"a\"> &#8216;can be an in<span class=\"l6\">spiring beacon for people everywhere&#8217;. (The beacon narrative has its own limitations, as I&#8217;ve discussed in an article about London 2012 <a href=\"https:\/\/www.academia.edu\/6839567\/Beyond_the_island_story_The_opening_ceremony_of_the_London_2012_Olympic_Games_as_public_history\">here.<\/a>)<\/span><\/span><\/p>\n<p>But the level of intellectual and creative thought that Boyle and his team put into representing the nation at the opening ceremony probably made it inevitable that its symbolic resources would be reused in post-2012 political contention in Britain, even in ways that start putting the components to different purposes &#8211; and in a sense, the longer-term &#8216;meanings&#8217; of the ceremony only emerge through processes like these.<\/p>\n<p>However, offering nostalgia as the reason to keep the United Kingdom together silences much about the British national and imperial past &#8211; certainly in Fraser Nelson&#8217;s argument last week that the unity rally and its supporters &#8216;need to tell a different story: about an alliance of countries which, acting as the United Kingdom, has been the greatest force for good that the world has ever known&#8217;. A campaign based on this sentiment can hardly give a voice to those for whom the past it evokes has been a source of oppression rather than pleasure.<\/p>\n<p><strong>&#8216;Ex-home&#8217;?<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>Although I don&#8217;t find Nelson&#8217;s narrative or even Colgan&#8217;s the most accurate account of how Britain got to be the way it is, I still think something can be gained from thinking about an underlying anxiety they both express: what would happen to day-to-day British culture, to which people from Scotland and representations of Scotland have contributed, if Scotland became an independent state?<\/p>\n<p>Experiences from other cases of secession and fragmentation suggest that social and cultural ties are surprisingly resilient to political break-up. Even with Yugoslavia, a country that was violently destroyed two decades ago, enough cultural contacts and economic relationships have been re-established that one can talk about <a href=\"http:\/\/www.lse.ac.uk\/europeaninstitute\/research\/lsee\/pdfs\/publications\/yugosphere.pdf\">what Tim Judah called a &#8216;Yugosphere&#8217;<\/a>, which thrives without any demand for <em>political<\/em> reintegration. Importantly, this has happened despite intensive efforts by the Slovenian and Croatian states to separate their national cultures from Yugoslavia as far as possible during and after their wars of independence &#8211; perhaps a demonstration of the limits of state power over popular culture and everyday life.<\/p>\n<p>The Slovenian sociologist Mitja Velikonja has <a href=\"http:\/\/www.ifimes.org\/en\/7850-balkan-culture-in-slovenia-after-1991\">adopted the phrase &#8216;ex-home&#8217;<\/a> from the shelves of Slovenian record stores to describe the relationship between Slovenian culture and ex-Yugoslav culture in general after independence:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>In Slovenian music shops, the items (CDs, MCs) are classified not only according to music genres (pop-rock, ethno, jazz, classic music etc.) but also according to the provenance of the music. So, there is Slovenian, &#8216;domestic&#8217; music (in Slovenian language doma\u010da), then &#8216;foreign&#8217; (tuja) music (predominantly of course from the Anglo-Saxon world); but there is also a curious third category, which is neither &#8216;ours&#8217; neither &#8216;theirs&#8217;, but between the two: in a paradoxical sense both &#8216;ours&#8217; and &#8216;theirs&#8217;.<\/p>\n<p>It is classified as &#8216;ex-home&#8217; music (biv\u0161a doma\u010da) and it comprises music from the other former-Yugoslav republics. In other words, Croatian, Serbian, Bosniak, Macedonian, and Montenegrin music until and after 1991 still has some kind of special and ambiguous status in our music shops. I think that this tiny and somehow marginal example \u2013 not an isolated one\u00a0\u2013 is symptomatic and reveals a very specific attitude of the Slovenes toward the cultural production of the nations with which Slovenes lived for decades in a common state. This cohabitation left not only traces but also stroke roots in Slovenian cultural preferences and also in every-day life in a very specific way.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>&#8216;Ex-home&#8217; means more than just &#8216;not being home any more'; with the Slovenian (and ex-Serbo-Croatian) connotations of the word &#8216;domestic&#8217;, it implies &#8216;used to be more &#8220;home&#8221; than it is, but still not &#8220;foreign&#8221;&#8216;.<\/p>\n<p>Something like that third space &#8211; the Very Near Abroad Indeed &#8211; would very likely open up if Scotland separated from the UK politically. Indeed, the post-Scottish-independence &#8216;Britannosphere&#8217; would probably be larger than the &#8216;Yugosphere'; the trajectory of Scottish independence from Westminster would have been much more peaceful than Slovenia&#8217;s independence from Belgrade (<a href=\"http:\/\/seanhanley.org.uk\/british-politics\/is-scotlands-future-from-central-europes-past\/\">Czechoslovakia makes a better comparison than Yugoslavia here<\/a>), and many more inhabitants of Scotland share their first language with the state they would have left behind. (An ambiguous &#8216;UK &amp; Ireland&#8217; category already exists as something of a precedent &#8211; as if, &#8216;yes, it&#8217;s a different country, but <em>less foreign than those other ones<\/em> somehow, and let&#8217;s just not talk about the <em>history<\/em> of independence, shall we&#8230;&#8217;)<\/p>\n<p>Where political separation has the most impact on culture is in the domain of funding and other forms of involvement by the state: in television, for instance, the rest-of-UK BBC would likely deal with questions about its remit that would trouble the commercial broadcasters less. (And we do know that the Scottish independence White Paper <a href=\"http:\/\/www.independent.co.uk\/arts-entertainment\/music\/news\/scottish-independence-alex-salmond-to-fasttrack-scotland-eurovision-entry-if-yes-wins-9724350.html\">envisages<\/a> a Scottish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest &#8211; after which <a href=\"http:\/\/bakercatherine.wordpress.com\/2012\/05\/22\/eurovision-why-bloc-voting-doesnt-exist-and-why-we-think-they-do-it\/\">I hope we&#8217;d hear a lot less of the argument that neighbourly voting is &#8216;political&#8217; when Balkan countries do it<\/a>&#8230;) In this sense, the cultural implications of a Scottish Yes would be less uncertain than the financial and citizenship-related matters that would depend on post-independence decisions by the governments of Scotland, Westminster and the EU.<\/p>\n<p>But even the framework of the &#8216;ex-domestic&#8217; or the Very Near Abroad Indeed is only talking about two layers of identity, each linked with a nation and an (existing or hypothetical) sovereign state: Britishness on the one hand, Scottishness on the other. I&#8217;m not certain that Scottish independence would mean Britishness suddenly having to exclude Scottishness from itself whereas it had used to be included; but thinking about the impact of Scottish independence on identities in the rest of the UK shouldn&#8217;t be reduced to the level of <em>national<\/em> identities in any case.<\/p>\n<p><strong>Inhabiting the borderlands<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>It seems to have taken a Scottish independence referendum to put a UK-wide spotlight on regional identities in the Scottish\/English Borders. The Cumbrian MP and former diplomat Rory Stewart has tried to attach the Borders&#8217; fluid history to the No campaign; <a href=\"http:\/\/www.rorystewart.co.uk\/middleland-lost-realm-beauty-art-blood\/\">his new book<\/a> <em>The Marches<\/em>, which I haven&#8217;t yet read, will argue both that the Borders form a culturally distinct &#8216;Middleland&#8217; in the British Isles and that the Anglo-Scottish border was a &#8216;colonial&#8217; imposition under the rule of the Roman authorities who built Hadrian&#8217;s Wall.<\/p>\n<p>Stewart is also a co-organiser of the Hands Across The Border campaign, which initially planned a <a href=\"http:\/\/www.rorystewart.co.uk\/chain-light-unite-britain\/\">torchlit human chain<\/a> across the UK to demonstrate the rest of the country&#8217;s &#8216;emotional links and solidarity&#8217; with Scotland (<a href=\"http:\/\/www.rorystewart.co.uk\/hands-across-border-changing\/\">for logistical reasons<\/a> this changed to building a stone cairn in the border town of Gretna; it was unveiled this weekend, though <a href=\"http:\/\/handsacrosstheborder.co.uk\/aerial-shot\/\">this aerial shot<\/a> might have been better composed if they&#8217;d filled out the &#8216;N&#8217; of &#8216;No&#8217;&#8230;).<\/p>\n<p>The Borders are a region where trying to determine whether people or pasts are English &#8216;or&#8217; Scottish doesn&#8217;t make sense, as the art historian Ysanne Holt remarks <a href=\"http:\/\/www.timeshighereducation.co.uk\/features\/culture\/north-of-one-south-of-the-other\/2015487.fullarticle\">in her commentary<\/a> on recent art installations in Gretna and Berwick-upon-Tweed:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>\u00a0We all recognise that communication networks forge cultural affiliations for groups and individuals who are not neatly defined by geographical boundaries. In my own growing up, some of this was achieved by the Border Television franchise that stretched across most of Cumbria, the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway to the Isle of Man, reporting nightly on news and local affairs. All this helped to shape or reinforce a genuinely cross-border community, to the extent that many in Cumbria would claim closer affinity with their Scottish neighbours than with their English ones to the east. The question of felt identities in relation to place, borders and boundaries, real or imagined, permeable or enforced, has a very particular resonance here. [...]<\/p>\n<p>[T]o think positively about the future for this region requires what has been termed a \u201cplace-based co-operation\u201d, not competition or contested spaces. We need to adopt new ways of inhabiting the \u201cborderlands\u201d and perhaps of practising \u201cborderliness\u201d.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>Thinking in terms of locally grounded &#8216;place-based co-operation&#8217; might also be productive outside the Border region. The latest phase of referendum-talk in England has also raised the question of whether the north, or indeed Yorkshire, would benefit from devolution; a previous attempt, John Prescott&#8217;s proposal for a North East Assembly, <a href=\"http:\/\/news.bbc.co.uk\/1\/hi\/uk_politics\/3984387.stm\">collapsed in 2004<\/a> after voters in the region rejected it by four to one, and planned assemblies for the North-West and Yorkshire\/Humber were never put to a vote. Would greater political and economic localism have more appeal today?<\/p>\n<p>As a solution for English regions, the logic of devolution would need to be based on recognising distinctive social and economic features of a region rather than basing administrative boundaries on territorial claims that relate to a particular nation of people &#8211; leading to the unanswerable counter-factual question of whether politics in a federated United Kingdom might have meant things not even getting as far as a Scottish referendum on independence in 2014, or whether creating state structures in regions with potential claims to national self-determination would simply in the long run have accelerated separatism.<\/p>\n<p>The result of Thursday&#8217;s referendum is probably too close to call, and not something I have a political say about in any case. If the rest of the UK <em>does<\/em> have to come to terms with a Very Near Abroad Indeed, <a href=\"https:\/\/storify.com\/4NationsHistory\/twitterstorians-on-indyref-and-fournations-approa\">historians as well as other cultural producers<\/a> will find themselves adapting the categories they use for making sense of political and social life in the Isles; but there should be scope for doing so regardless of the result.<\/p>\n",
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            "title": "Where are all the women? What my bookshelf says about the continuing effects of patriarchy",
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            "content": "<p><img class=\"alignnone size-large wp-image-10172\" src=\"https:\/\/benirwin.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/books.jpg?w=480&#038;h=360\" alt=\"books\"   \/><\/p>\n<p>The other day, I did one of those \u201c10 books that stayed with me\u201d status updates on Facebook. It\u2019s a thing that\u2019s been going around for a while now. (After more than 130,000 such lists were tallied, <em>Harry Potter <\/em>came out on top, <a href=\"https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/notes\/facebook-data-science\/books-that-have-stayed-with-us\/10152511240328859\">in case you were wondering<\/a>.)<\/p>\n<p>For <a href=\"https:\/\/www.facebook.com\/benjaminirwin\/posts\/10203527374238956\">my list<\/a>, I chose to highlight 10 books that had a lasting theological impact. Later that day, one of my friends gently pointed out what, in hindsight, seems like a glaring omission:<\/p>\n<p>There were no women on my list.<\/p>\n<p>I have to be honest. I was a little embarrassed when I realized this. And alarmed. What bothered me even more than the fact that there were no women was the fact that <em>I hadn\u2019t even noticed <\/em>my failure to include any.<\/p>\n<p>I\u2019m committed to gender equality. I\u2019ve written about <a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2012\/02\/09\/farewell-complementarianism-1\/\">my theological journey from complementarianism to egalitarianism<\/a>, and how it\u2019s impacted my marriage on a practical level. I\u2019ve shared how we\u2019re trying to raise our daughter without all the baggage of patriarchy\u2014writing about it <a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2012\/06\/05\/letter-to-my-daughter-mutuality2012\/\">here<\/a>, <a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2013\/08\/08\/giving-my-daughter-away\/\">here<\/a>, <a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2013\/11\/12\/when-my-daughter-starts-dating\/\">here<\/a>, and <a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2014\/07\/22\/feminism-patriarchy-tv-shows\/\">here<\/a>, for example.<\/p>\n<p><strong>But a <em>theoretical<\/em> commitment to something can blind you to the ways in which your <em>behavior<\/em> is still shaped by its antithesis.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>I can pen a rebuttal to <a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2013\/12\/03\/20-things-the-poor-do-every-day\/\">Dave Ramsey\u2019s caricature<\/a> of the poor, for example. Yet I haven\u2019t always honored my responsibility to be openhanded toward those in need.<\/p>\n<p>I can write passionately about <a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2014\/08\/21\/white-people-talk-about-ferguson-michael-brown\/\">racial reconciliation in Ferguson<\/a>. But I am not unscathed by\u00a0generations of prejudice.<\/p>\n<p>I can flaunt my egalitarian credentials <a href=\"http:\/\/www.christian.co.uk\/opinions\/is-leadership-male-p11019\">on the interwebs<\/a>\u2014without even realizing how bad I\u2019ve been at listening to the voices of women.<\/p>\n<p><strong>A theoretical opposition to patriarchy doesn\u2019t necessarily mean I\u2019ve stopped perpetuating it.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">\u2014\/\/\u2014<\/p>\n<p>After reading my friend\u2019s comment on Facebook, I scanned my collection of theology books. Then I started counting.<\/p>\n<p>Only one was written by a woman.<\/p>\n<p>Hoping for a better result, I expanded my search to include popular religious titles as well as academic ones. True, I\u2019ve got books by Sarah Cunningham (<em><a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/gp\/product\/031026958X\/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=031026958X&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=benirw06-20&amp;linkId=XOVVGRV2ECS3TQHL\">Dear Church<\/a><\/em>) and Carolyn Custis James (<em><a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/gp\/product\/0310330858\/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0310330858&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=benirw06-20&amp;linkId=UDK7JD4ZS6UJMCAW\">The Gospel of Ruth<\/a><\/em>) on my shelf\u2014and books by Rachel Held Evans (<em><a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/gp\/product\/1595553673\/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1595553673&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=benirw06-20&amp;linkId=BPUBFQ5WFOKWTTQO\">A Year of Biblical Womanhood<\/a><\/em>) and Sarah Bessey (<em><a href=\"http:\/\/www.amazon.com\/gp\/product\/1476717257\/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1476717257&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=benirw06-20&amp;linkId=KHQQDYRUMP6EEQ3F\">Jesus Feminist<\/a><\/em>) on my Kindle. Rachel and Sarah in particular have shaped my thinking in meaningful and profound ways.<\/p>\n<p>But the balance was still overwhelmingly tilted in one direction:\u00a089% of the religious books on my shelf (or phone) were written by men.<\/p>\n<p>Now, there are likely a number of reasons for the imbalance. My friend who first pointed it out suggested it had something to do with the church background I grew up in. True enough. When I decided to go to seminary, I was encouraged to avoid\u00a0schools that accepted women into ordination-track degree programs\u2014the assumption being that this\u00a0was an indicator\u00a0of &#8220;dangerous&#8221; liberal tendencies. But I have long since shifted\u00a0my horizons.<\/p>\n<p>Some of it surely has to do with this unsettling stat: only <a href=\"http:\/\/www.nsf.gov\/statistics\/sed\/2012\/pdf\/tab16.pdf\">a quarter of all PhDs in theology<\/a> go to women (HT <a href=\"http:\/\/experimentaltheology.blogspot.com\/2012\/12\/phds-by-academic-discipline.html\">Richard Beck<\/a>, <a href=\"http:\/\/kieranhealy.org\/blog\/archives\/2011\/02\/04\/gender-divides-in-philosophy-and-other-disciplines\/\">Kieran Healy<\/a>). Which means at least 75% of those who are in a position to write academic theological books are male. I find it hard to believe this is because women just aren\u2019t into theology, when there is a\u00a0far more likely explanation: women have been told in various ways\u2014some implicit, some more direct\u2014that theology is a man\u2019s pursuit.<\/p>\n<p>Even in churches that\u00a0are committed to\u00a0gender equality, the vast majority of lay and ordained leaders are male\u2014including <a href=\"https:\/\/www.cpg.org\/linkservid\/DC3EE5A8-F95C-2278-107475F87BFDB2AA\/showMeta\/0\/?label=State%20of%20the%20Clergy%202012\">two thirds of\u00a0the\u00a0employed priests in my own denomination<\/a>. All of which\u00a0is why, while\u00a0<a href=\"http:\/\/www.elizabethesther.com\/2013\/03\/guest-post-by-stephanie-drury-covert-misogyny-in-progressive-churches.html\">writing for\u00a0Elizabeth Esther&#8217;s blog<\/a> last year, Stephanie Drury concluded:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>Straight [white] men in Christian culture simply don\u2019t\u2026 examine the ways in which they are sexist, and this is the most difficult factor in the move towards wholeness.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>Besides,\u00a0none of this changes the fact that the ratio of women to men on my bookshelf is <em>worse <\/em>than the ratio at academic institutions. I have no excuse.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"http:\/\/maggidawn.blogspot.com\/2014\/02\/there-are-no-women-on-my-theology.html\">As Maggi Dawn<\/a>, a professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, writes:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>There are so many women with interesting things to say, some writing about feminism but many more simply writing about areas of theology that used to be thought of as a male preserve\u2014or, the earlier you go, writing theology against the culture that denied them access to what was assumed to be a male preserve.<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>She even <a href=\"http:\/\/maggidawn.blogspot.com\/2014\/02\/there-are-no-women-on-my-theology.html\">came up with a reading list<\/a>\u2014without having to put too much thought into it\u2014of female voices in theology. Voices that many of us just aren\u2019t listening to.<\/p>\n<p>This has to change. My bookshelf has to change.<\/p>\n<p>Over the coming weeks and months, I\u2019m going to be working from Maggi Dawn\u2019s list to expand my horizons. Reading books by female theologians will not automatically make me a better specimen of gender equality. But it might help me to listen better to female voices. And doing so\u00a0will enrich my theological perspective.<\/p>\n<p><em>Maggi Dawn&#8217;s list of female theological voices can be found <a href=\"http:\/\/maggidawn.blogspot.com\/2014\/02\/there-are-no-women-on-my-theology.html\">here<\/a> (HT <a href=\"http:\/\/reveverett.com\">Laura Everett<\/a>). What books or authors would you add to the list?<\/em><\/p>\n<h4><strong>UPDATE <\/strong><strong>\u00a0<\/strong><br \/>\nI received dozens of suggestions in response to this post, which I&#8217;ve compiled here, along with a list of the next 10 books I&#8217;m going to read:<\/p>\n<p><strong><a href=\"http:\/\/benirwin.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/18\/my-new-reading-list\/\">MY NEW READING LIST<\/a><\/strong><\/h4>\n",
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            "title": "I appreciate my students&#8217; contributions from their laptops",
            "URL": "http:\/\/stevebuttry.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/10\/i-appreciate-my-students-contributions-from-their-laptops\/",
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            "content": "<div id=\"attachment_14066\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption alignright\"><a href=\"https:\/\/stevebuttry.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/laptop.jpg\"><img class=\"size-medium wp-image-14066\" src=\"https:\/\/stevebuttry.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/09\/laptop.jpg?w=300&#038;h=271\" alt=\"My distracting laptop\" width=\"300\" height=\"271\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">My distracting laptop<\/p><\/div>\n<p><strong>I&#8217;ve updated this post after discussing the issue with my class.\u00a0<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>I can think of no journalism professors I admire more than <a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/cshirky\">Clay Shirky<\/a> and <a title=\"Jay Rosen\" href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/jayrosen_nyu\">Jay Rosen<\/a>. But I (so far) disagree with them on the subject of whether to allow students to use laptops and mobile devices during class.<\/p>\n<p>Clay has explained in a blog post why he <a title=\"Why I just asked my students to put their laptops away\" href=\"https:\/\/medium.com\/@cshirky\/why-i-just-asked-my-students-to-put-their-laptops-away-7f5f7c50f368\">bans computers from his classroom<\/a>.\u00a0Jay chimed in his agreement:<\/p>\n<blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" lang=\"en\"><p>Why I Just Asked My Students To Put Their Laptops Away <a href=\"https:\/\/t.co\/WG3EOCaGW8\">https:\/\/t.co\/WG3EOCaGW8<\/a> by <a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/cshirky\">@cshirky<\/a>. I&#8217;ve come to the same place.<\/p>\n<p>\u2014 Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) <a href=\"https:\/\/twitter.com\/jayrosen_nyu\/status\/509715502944768001\">September 10, 2014<\/a><\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>They both have notably more classroom experience than I do, and they might be right. I encourage you to read Clay&#8217;s full explanation and won&#8217;t try to summarize it here, but he cites research about how multitasking can interfere with learning.<\/p>\n<p>My limited experience is different. I was very glad yesterday that a student had her laptop and multitasked in class.<\/p>\n<p>In my <a title=\"Introduction to Mass Media syllabus\" href=\"http:\/\/manshipmassmedia.wordpress.com\/2014\/08\/26\/introduction-to-mass-media-honors-syllabus\/\">syllabus<\/a>, I tell students that they are welcome to use their laptops (or other devices) to take notes, look up links relating to\u00a0class discussion or even to livetweet our discussions. However, I said, if I see them using Facebook or otherwise giving in to the distractions the device can present, I will ask them to shut their devices. But let&#8217;s be honest: I&#8217;m in front of the classroom and not very likely to play laptop cop often. I presume some of them are communicating with friends, etc. during class.<\/p>\n<p>But yesterday, when I had cause during a class discussion to mention the famous <a title=\"Vulture stalking a child\" href=\"http:\/\/iconicphotos.wordpress.com\/2009\/08\/12\/vulture-stalking-a-child\/\">Kevin Carter photo of a vulture stalking a child dying<del> during the Ethiopian famine<\/del><\/a>, a student found the photo in seconds so I could hold up her laptop and show the class. I hadn&#8217;t planned to mention the photo, or I might have had it ready to project on the classroom screen. I momentarily thought about finding it and showing it, but I had not even signed in on\u00a0the classroom computer (I&#8217;ll probably do that before class now, even if I don&#8217;t have something planned to show) and didn&#8217;t want to delay the discussion while I signed on, waited for the projector to warm up and searched for the photo. But when I thought of the photo spontaneously as an example to make in a discussion we were having, showing the photo would have really helped make my point. The photo was shot in 1993, probably before most of my students were born. Many may never have seen it. And I was able to show it in class because a student took a few seconds to multitask on her laptop. I appreciated not just the example, but that she used her laptop to become\u00a0<em>more\u00a0<\/em>engaged in the class.<\/p>\n<p>In another case, a student mentioned a video in class that related to another discussion. She emailed the video link to me during class (would she have remembered after class if I didn&#8217;t let her have her laptop open? I doubt it), and I <a title=\"Video on racist typecasting ...\" href=\"http:\/\/manshipmassmedia.wordpress.com\/2014\/08\/29\/video-on-racist-typecasting-in-hollywood\/\">posted it on the class blog<\/a>.<\/p>\n<p>In addition, I take better notes on a laptop than writing in a notebook, and I have decades&#8217; experience taking notes on paper. I think and hope my students, who have spent much of their lives using electronic keyboards, will take better notes with their laptops than with pen and paper.<\/p>\n<p>I value\u00a0Clay&#8217;s and Jay&#8217;s experience and I&#8217;m sure that my students with their laptops open are facing other distractions and some are no doubt multitasking and missing some of what I say. But I regard it as my job to get and hold their attention. And I remember the distractions I could find simply by daydreaming when professors failed to hold my attention in pre-laptop days.<\/p>\n<p>To a certain extent, I feel that adult students need to take responsibility for their own education. If they bring distractions into the classroom, then they are responsible for the damage from those distractions to the education they (and their parents) are paying for. And I welcome the better note-taking and the contributions from students who can find helpful material on their devices.<\/p>\n<p>I especially respect Clay&#8217;s point about secondary distractions &#8212; students who are trying to pay attention being distracted by the material on the screens of their neighbors. I&#8217;m going to discuss this matter with my students tomorrow and I&#8217;ll let them vote on it (using their devices).<\/p>\n<p>But, unless they embrace\u00a0a laptop ban, students in my classes can use their laptops, tablets or cellphones and manage the distractions they bring. At least until I get as much experience and wisdom as Clay and Jay.<\/p>\n<p><strong>Update:\u00a0<\/strong>My students were unanimous in wanting laptops. I invited anyone who&#8217;s bothered by distractions to text or email me and no one did. I remember two examples, including the one about the starvation photo, when students contributed to the class from relevant information they found on their laptops. I asked how many used their laptops either to pull up a link I was showing or to look for related information that they hadn&#8217;t shared with the class but had helped their understanding of the topics being discussed. Most hands in the classroom went up. One contrasted it with a class where she can&#8217;t use her laptop. She finds that handwriting is a distraction from what the professor is saying. She can&#8217;t keep up as well and she misses some things. I value what Clay and Jay (and others in comments here and on Facebook) have said. But for the Introduction to Mass Media course I&#8217;m teaching and for my teaching style and my students&#8217; preferences, I think it&#8217;s best to allow use of laptops and other devices. Will let you know if I change my mind.<\/p>\n<p><strong>Update:\u00a0<\/strong>Thanks to Steve Smith for sharing in the comments below a link to some <a href=\"http:\/\/www.vox.com\/2014\/6\/4\/5776804\/note-taking-by-hand-versus-laptop?utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=facebook&amp;utm_name=share-button&amp;utm_campaign=vox&amp;utm_content=article-share-bottom\">research showing that students retain information better if they take notes in handwriting rather than on a laptop<\/a>. I remain skeptical. I see some indication of bias both in the paraphrased explanations from the scholars and in the summary of the research by the Vox reporter. And I&#8217;m deeply skeptical of research that &#8220;proves&#8221; the researchers&#8217; preconceived notions. The study, by controlling for the distractions of the Internet, also eliminated the opportunity of deeper engagement through relevant use of the Internet. For instance, the student who found the starvation photo probably has more retention of yesterday&#8217;s discussion than either students taking notes on laptops or taking notes by hand. But I will share this study with the students tomorrow and discuss these issues with them.<\/p>\n<p><strong>One more update:\u00a0<\/strong>In my initial post, relying on my memory, I said the starvation photo was from Ethiopia. It was from Southern Sudan.<\/p>\n",
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