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The Mainly Annual
20th Annual Conference
Two Flew Over the Cuckoo's Next: Fanfiction as Literary Psychotropic
by Kay C. Doppelgänger
In the same way that we've bombarded our dendrites with SSRIs just to get through our mind-numbing days, we turn to interactive and virtual rewriting of the print world as fantasy wish-fulfillment. Lives filled with the S&M of the work-world receive their second life and cathartic release, says Doppelgänger, at the keyboards, and in the damaged minds, of budding E.L. Jameses.
The DSM 2.0: Crowd-Sourced Crazy and the Collective Creation of the Mentally Ill
by Torrey Merk
Theorists from Michel Foucault to Thomas Szasz have noted the cultural formations of insanity, but the way the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual's creation resembles a wiki reveals just how accurate that description is. If the making of madness is cultural reaction-formation, how can we note what madness is without nullifying our attempt through reference to "normal," which is inherently measured collectively? If Merk is correct, the lunatics are not merely running the asylum; we are the asylum.
The Solemn Golem: Depression, Vengeance, and the Spirit of Heeb Culture
by Judith Mandelbaum
By adopting an über-hip urban chic aesthetic, argues Mandelbaum, Jewish culture in the US both liberates itself from and gets revenge upon the anti-semitic forces still alive in Middle America. This trope is as old as the Borscht Belt, she says: self-directed humor as a defense mechanism. But beneath it all is the serious business of the ghetto, the craven indifference of the camps.
"Daddy" Warbux: the Military Industrial Complex as Plathian Patriarchy
by Haley Burrton
Tapping into mid-century discontent and the spawning of second-wave feminism, Burrton critiques the contractor-to-Pentagon conveyor belt in truly Panzer-man fashion. Angry, angsty, and surprisingly rhythmic, Burrton makes orphans of us all.
Chekov the Liszt: How Czech Lists Are Redefining the Classics and Changing Everything
by Anne Tone
Tone's Slavophilic look at musicality, metrics, and literary logic defies summarization. Suffice it to say that we need to start lisztening more and talking less. Franzly, we think she's right.
Home of the Deranged: What's the (Grey) Matter with Kansas – Conservative Neuropathy as Newspaper Column
by Thomas Allen Guillaume
A perceptive analysis of the plains-state of mind, Guillaume reveals that the writings, tweetings, and ravings of Kansas's Tea Party wing of the GOP display not merely bad politics but out-and-out brain shrinkage. And he has the CT scans to prove it.
There is little doubt the new location will play prominently in our planning for next year's conference, but with attendance dwindling into the low thousands, it might not make (business) sense to send up the barrier to participants of also having to get to such a remote location. Another shot at corporate sponsorship might be in the offing, or we could go the other direction and try to crowd-source conference number 21. Either way, there's little that could lure the bulk of those actually teaching in higher ed these days, barring the creation of a scholarship fund, as an adjunct salary would make it impossible to pay one's way, even (or especially) to Spivey.
But, as President Bordeaux keeps reminding us, it's not how many you have in the room, but who you manage to get there.
So, expect next year's conference, no matter where it ends up being located, to be packed with as many "celebrity scholars" we can bag. Our people are already talking to Malcolm Gladwell's people. We'll let you know how our tweets to Jared Diamond go.
-- T.S. DeHaviland
Associate Director of University Relations