November 16, 2022

Briefly Noted for November 16, 2022

Ryan Cordell posted his remarks from the 30 Years of Digital Humanities at UVA conference. He makes some great points about the importance of collaboration in digital humanities. One thing he says, that I’ve often thought myself, is how bad the standard DH curriculum is at teaching collaboration to students. It’s very hard to teach the ins-and-outs, ups-and-downs of working in a team in a one semester classroom course, especially when each student must be graded individually. We can teach skills in the classroom, but we all know that’s not really what matters for successful digital humanities work. That’s why centers, notwithstanding recent critiques of them, are so important and why we have to do a better job of integrating our classroom teaching and center-based research.

I don’t think Ezra Klein reads this blog, but if he does, I want to tell him that he should do more Q&A episodes with Aaron Retica, his editor, as he did in his post-election podcast. It’s great to hear Ezra’s opinions unfiltered by his interactions with a guest, and Aaron Retica’s questions (and voice!) are challenging and insightful. It’s obvious they make a great team.

Speaking of Klein, like him and his old partner, Matt Yglesias, I’m extremely skeptical of the hype around Ron DeSantis’s presidential prospects. It’s true that he scored a big win in a purplish state. He’s certainly a talented politician. But his win wasn’t bigger than other purplish state Republican governors (Dewine in Ohio or Sununu in New Hampshire). Furthermore (and I don’t hear anyone talking about this) DeSantis was running against, for all intents and purposes, another Republican—former Republican-governor-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist. The conventional wisdom was that running Christ against DeSantis would peel off moderate Republican votes. Did no one remember that the same strategy lost him and the Democrats the governor’s race to Rick Scott in 2014? Did no one imagine that running a former Republican might also depress Democratic votes? What committed Democrat wants to vote for a guy they hated a few short years ago just because he changed the letter in front of his name? It would be like asking Democrats to vote for Paul Ryan for President in 2024 because he didn’t go full-MAGA and might pick up some disgruntled Republican and Independent swing votes. I’m all for running moderate Democratic candidates in the Biden mold. But if they’re going to be right of the party’s base on policy, then they absolutely must be trusted party members. People want to know what side they’re voting for. In any event, I don’t think DeSantis’s victory is all it’s being cracked up to be. He ran a good race against a bad candidate with the underlying national fundamentals (inflation, crime, etc.) as wind at his back. That puts him in the conversation for 2024, but it doesn’t make him a strong favorite for the nomination, much less the presidency. Remember President Scott Walker? Neither do I.

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