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New Student Union

Today was the first day of classes. I only have Wednesday and Wednesday/Friday classes, but I came in anyway. It seemed like the professional thing to do. Whatever that means.

The new Student Union had it's grand opening today. I stopped in to have a look. It is real big. It has a great big food court and a Starbucks. And pool tables. Can't have a student union without pool tables.

This is the second student union that's been built since I've been teaching here. We now have three. It is fitting that a University in the city with a thousand arenas would have three student unions.

The new bookstore is also located in this building. The selection in trade books is not much better than it was in the old bookstore. At first this disappointed me, but then I reflected that if they did have the selection of say, the bookstores at Duke or Chapel Hill, I would probably spend so much money there I would lose my house. And then where would I put all the books I had purchased?

The selection isn't horrible, and I did see a few books that tempted me. One of these was Up From History, a biography of Booker T. Washington. There was only one copy, so this was especially tempting. Another was a book called The Cult Of The Amateur , which argues that the ability of everyone to generate online content dilutes content in general and is "destroying...our culture". That last bit was from the books very long subtitle. As I read it, the book becomes a little less tempting.

The most tempting book of all was The Good, the Bad & the Mad: Weird People in American History. The title was tempting enough, but the fact that it was on the discount table made the temptation damn near irresistible. And yet, I resisted. I'm proud to say that when I left the bookstore I had still read 5 more books than I purchased this year, just like I had when I went in.

One other book deserves mentioning because even though it wasn't tempting it was fascinating. This book was Mr. Darcy, Vampyre. Wow. Whoever wrote this simultaneously  latched  onto the vampire trend (which, like vampires themselves, seems to never die) AND the Jane Austen trend (which is still pretty hot, even though it's resilience hasn't really been tested.) It seems like an obvious thing to do, but only because I had seen someone do it. (A sign of a great idea is one that seems really obvious, but is something you didn't think of yourself, and probably wouldn't have.) I didn't even open it up, so I have no idea if the author is a good novelist or even a good writer. But from the title, I know he is a marketing genius.



"Another was a book called The Cult Of The Amateur , which argues that the ability of everyone to generate online content dilutes content in general and is "destroying...our culture"."

Yeah, how dare those people who haven't got four-year English degrees attempt to write anything!
You have a point. Not having read the book, I don't know if the author has a point or not.

It's certainly true that there is an enormous amount of drek on the internet that tends to dilute the more useful material, and that this is caused by easy access to the internet.

But the problem is, you don't know who's going to write something insightful or useful, so there's no way to get rid of the drek and ONLY the drek (never mind defining "drek".)

I can see where you, as someone with insight and writing talent but no "writing credentials" would object to the author's premise.
You have a good point about the drek, but an equally good point about how it's almost impossible to define (and, how by getting rid of the bad it's easier to also stifle the good).

Also, my point isn't just with writing, but with...just about every area of human endeavour in the world.
They interviewed the author of Mr. Darcy, Vampire on NPR about a month ago. So naturally, I want to read that book. There is also Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. All are by different authors, so none of them are especially original.
I watched the ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, I must have just missed you! It is a very big building. Any building with a rotunda is probably pretty huge. I have to rant a little bit- A couple of weeks ago I went to campus to get my lab manuals (the only thing I wasn't able to get online) and when I went to the site of the old bookstore I was informed the new bookstore was in the new student union. So I treked over there and got them. Then I went to the Cone center to have my ID made and was told the ID office had moved to the new student union (Luckily somoeone was able to make an ID for me in Cone anyway, I couldn't have made the trip again). I hear the nsu will have an apple store and a salon?! I've only been gone for 4 years and I can't believe how much has changed. and Grigg Hall is REALLY REALLY far away from everything. I'm just in too poor shape to walk all these places. Also, there are too many stairs. The trolleys have no reliability. and they're not even trolleys! ok I'm done. Anyway, hope to see you around!