memoir

John Oliver on the NCAA

by Phillip Witteveen March 25, 2015

In its most recent episode, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver did some muckraking on the controversies of “amateur” student-athletics; as one of his rapid-fire segments, Oliver reported: “Fun fact: The very first executive director of the NCAA stated that he ‘crafted’ the term ‘student-athlete’ in the 1950s, explicitly to avoid worker’s comp for injured athletes. And 60 years later, that term is still working.” That “very first executive director” was Walter Byers, during whose long tenure (’51 – ’87), the NCAA became a multi-million dollar commercial enterprise (with, for example, 68.2 million on the table for televising the NCAA’s ’88 basketball season). In this way, Byers has had a far-reaching influence in […]

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Philip Levine, 1928-2015

by Phillip Witteveen February 20, 2015

Philip Levine passed away over the weekend, on Saturday the 14th. His poetry was recognized with two National Book Awards, a Pulitzer, and with an appointment as a U.S. poet laureate. Levine was one of the first (and most prominent) poets to really put his hometown, Detroit, into verse. He found a plainspoken language to mourn with, to give pause, to join rafters in his native mise en scène—a language to tell stories of people just getting off the graveyard shift. He started writing poetry when he was only thirteen. In Levine’s work, there was always a way of recognizing aspects of the everyday as poetry; in […]

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Remembering Tobin Siebers

by Carolyn Darr February 5, 2015

Renowned scholar and disability studies theorist Tobin Siebers passed away January 29 in Ann Arbor. His long and distinguished publishing record included the field-defining books Disability Theory (2008) and Disability Aesthetics (2010), six other monographs, four edited collections, and a memoir, Among Men. MLive reports that Siebers, Professor of English and Art and Design at the University of Michigan, will be honored at a memorial service on February 6 at 2 p.m. in the ballroom of the Michigan League.  

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Tzachi Zamir on His Philosophy of Acting

by Phillip Witteveen February 4, 2015

Tzachi Zamir is a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. After a Ph.D. of pondering the nature of things, his accidental experiences with amateur acting led him to ponder the nature of performance. Zamir is the author of the first systematic philosophy of theater, Acts. This is not the first time he has tackled less-traditional philosophy, actually, having written about subjects from Shakespeare to vegetarianism to animal rights. Nowadays, though, in the interstices between professional philosophizing, he’s been taking classes, and working in rehearsal for a production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” The Israeli newspaper […]

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For World Autism Awareness Day, Consider ‘The Accidental Teacher’

by Phillip Witteveen April 2, 2014

According to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly one in 68 American children fall on the Autism spectrum, a category of developmental brain disorders with a broad array of symptoms. These symptoms can include difficulty with social interaction, and a tendency toward repetitive behaviors; they vary in severity from person to person, and may be co-morbid other medical conditions.  Since the 1970s, April has been National Autism Awareness Month—a month to raise awareness about the disability, and celebrate the autistic community. At its simplest, it’s an invitation to start a talking, share stories, and counteract stigma. April 2 marks World […]

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