Friday, 23 December 2011

Some reading Material...

My Life! Teaching in a Korean University has a post I think you should read if you're thinking about teaching in a Korean university, titled "Ten Tips for Newbies to the Korean University Teaching Experience"


One of my favorite things about December/January is the year-end listifying. I don't have enough time to keep up on the numerous websides I'd have to keep up on, to really be on top of the best new music being made... but at the end of the year, every music website and writer makes these wonderful year-end lists that allow me to skim the cream of the year's reviews, and give me tune jollies all December and January.'s list is linked above. So far, the two I've liked best (that I hadn't already found during the year) are two albums ridiculously outside my normal range of musical preferences: electronica(!) and hardcore metal(!!!) To make it more (or maybe less) surprising, both were also follow-ups to previous albums I'd loved... and found on year-end best of lists. "Looping State of Mind," by The Field - a follow-up to their similarly amazing "From Here We Go To Sublime" (aka the most unexpected bliss-out I've ever had) -best track off that one: "Silent"

You don't have to like it... but I assure you, over a 50 minute album, these loops become something else entirely.

And... yep. Death Metal. the band Fucked Up impressed me a few years ago with "The Chemistry of Modern Life" -- by creating the most uplifting death metal I'd ever listened to, and have done it again with the sprawling (and about 15 minutes too long) "David Comes To Life" Here's the lead-in to the album -- the slow builds pile up into moments of transformation, and the band has a great knack for knowing exactly when to mix things up with a shift in the sound, pace, or feel.

I got into a little back and forth with John F Power on Twitter about this story: A feminist blogger complained to a toy store about sorting their toys by "Boy's Toys" and "Girls' Toys." John thought the feminists were nitpicking, and trying to limit free speech for the sake of political correctness (which is something people like to complain about when it's not their group being marginalized with casual talk)

I say things like that ARE important... sometimes for subtle reasons. I think this comic explains why quite elegantly.

Source. There's more to it than that, and hopefully parents are playing an active role in helping their kids not feel limited by the gender expectations created by toys... but that's a good conversation starter at least, that.

Alien Teachers Korea has a post worth reading in response to the Native English stuff: "Why Korea Needs Native English Teachers, Now More Than Ever"

"If I Had a Minute To Spare" has a three-part "On Becoming a Writer in Korea" that, if you are, or want to be a writer in Korea, is worth reading.
Part 1
Part 2 (with links on where to submit stuff)
Part 3

And last but not least... go read this. Just... read it. Maybe I'll write about it more later. I have three other blog posts coming down the pipeline that I'd like to finish first, as well as a family thingy for Christmas/New Year.
"Who Is Korean? Migration, Immigration and the Challenge of Multiculturalism in Homogeneous Societies"


ifihadaminutetospare said...

Now, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you can probably read that cartoon in the opposite direction too.

When you consider how many women are involved in creative industries, like fashion, art, and even literature. Is it because they were encouraged to play with dolls when they were girls, while most boys were off making robots? Could be.

If a man is working in a creative field, often he is ridiculed for not having a 'proper job', especially when they are in the struggling end of this creative pursuit.

Another way you could think about it is, why are men who are involved, say in fashion, automatically considered to be gay? And, why are women who are involved in engineering considered to be butch?

By-the-by, thanks for linking to my blog again, and merry Christmas to you and your family, and of course the same to all of your readers.

Rob-o-SE-yo said...

Have to disagree there, IIHAMTS (nice acronym there, by the way). while reading against the grain is fun and sometimes useful, if the comic had been about girls being funneled into creative areas, the little girl could hane been given a box of paints or something instead of a doll that does nothing except be a doll, and the strip would probably need another panel showing the artistic side.

The other problem? I doubt experience bears that generalization out -- of the photographers writers and artists I know, I would not say the gender disribution is lopsided in any way, though you're welcome to point me toward statistics that prove otherwise.

ifihadaminutetospare said...

Fair point. Both were merely observations/musings, and I'm sure further analysis would prove worthwhile. I don't think I'm right but I'm probably a smidgin right too. I know from my own connections how wrong the generalisations are, but I know that they are generalisations for a reason. I don't stand by them.

Creativity is far too often misunderstood, and for many it can be a very frustrating experience. Korea has always provided
An extremely open-minded and fertile environment for creativity to me, but I also have experienced a hostile environment to this same creativity in Dublin.

All that being said, statistics will never
Prove anything in this case. Each person will experience their own reality which may prove one thing and disprove another.

ifihadaminutetospare said...

Had to come back here to check what I wrote last night. Please note the time and the date ;)

Now that I'm not half-cut and I have a computer and not a phone to type, perhaps I can give a better explanation.

For starters, I think it's important that we don't get into explaining the cartoon to death. Art is there to inspire and provoke, and that is what I thought when I saw it. That's how I read it at first, and it is how I connected with it. I thought it could be interpreted in the opposite direction. I wasn't doing it for fun.

There are some things which might back up what I was saying about play being associated with creativity, especially in terms of psychological research. I don't know enough about this so I will not pretend that I do. Still, Frued (I hope I don't sound too pretentious) has written some things on adult daydreaming and children's play. Personnaly, I think there's a connection. But it's Christmas and I can think of more exciting things to read, so you'll have to excuse the lack of hard evidence :)

Now, as for the other problem. I couldn't agree with you more on my own personall level. But it is worth considering that, if you take Korea as an example (which is where I know most creative people from) you have to look at the demographic - mostly young, university educated, outgoing (travelled to another to country to live), urban residents, and from my perspective, very liberal and open-minded. If I compared this demographic to my hometown, it wouldn't be a fair comparison or representation of everyone there, and I would hasten to argue that this may be the same with yourself (within reason of course).

I don't have any statistics to back up the gender divide statement, it was an observation. I think that the demographics would be more divided that by just gender anyway - taking a look at age would probably also show differences too. The thing about statistics like these would be that I think we could clatter them against each other all day, like a set of swords, and not get any closer to the truth.

I was thinking that it would be interesting to compare the gender balance of undergraduates in creative university programmes (art, design, creative writing - I was the only male in a class of 12 doing a poetry module) with those who are actually now employed/engaged on a full time basis in creative industry. Of course, before we do that we probably have to iron out what we mean by creative - engineering and R & D is definitely creative - but, as I said above, it's Christmas and I can think of more fruitful exercises.

P.S. IIHAMTS? Is that pronounced 이하믓스?