1.14.2015

Links! (1/14/15)

Here's what I've been reading this week. Not all of it is new, but all of it rose to my attention in some new way (if, you know, following Book Riot and Brain Pickings somewhat obsessively counts as a 'new way.')

1.  I will never get tired of this article by Tim Parks about reading with a pen in your hand.

“A pen is not a magic wand. The critical faculty is not conjured from nothing. But it was remarkable how many students improved their performance with this simple stratagem. There is something predatory, cruel even, about a pen suspended over a text. Like a hawk over a field, it is on the lookout for something vulnerable. Then it is a pleasure to swoop and skewer the victim with the nib’s sharp point. The mere fact of holding the hand poised for action changes our attitude to the text. We are no longer passive consumers of a monologue but active participants in a dialogue.”

I read Franny & Zooey for the first time just yesterday (I read the little book in about 24 hours, in one large excited gulp), and enjoyed it so much that I almost immediately flipped back to the beginning and picked up a pen. Marking text is consecration, not desecration.




2.  Over at Rachel Held Evans, there's a great interview with a womanist biblical scholar. I really know shamefully little about womanism as opposed to feminism, and I especially know nothing about it in a Christian context.

Question: Womanism seems like a difficult perspective from which to tackle the Old Testament in particular. Would you say that womanist perspectives on the Old Testament are more about finding the redemptive notes in what I often take to be an oppressive narrative for women, or is it more about reimagining the central messages and letting it speak fresh to a modern reader?

Answer: I wonder what your presuppositions are about the Hebrew Bible and black women’s feminism. For whom is reading Hebrew Bible not difficult? Perhaps those who identify with the dominant voice? I do teach and study Hebrew Bible and not OT. The Hebrew Scriptures are full and complete, do not need to be supplemented and have not been replaced.
For me, living, praying, reading, writing and living Hebrew Bible as a black woman is no more problematic than being a black woman in the Americas. My primary approach to the text is to look/listen for what it has to say. I expect it to be revelatory and illuminating because it is scripture and for me as an Episcopalian; those are my presuppositions. That means God’s words are in there somewhere and, knowing the text is androcentric, patriarchal, kyriarchal, hegemonic and full of cultural biases – like America, (minus the kyriarchy but the oligarchy is coming close). And, because the Word is both human and divine, I know it will be swaddled in the stuff of flesh. 
The Hebrew Scriptures are rich and full of life in all of its and their complexities; the God revealed in its pages transcends the limited and limiting portrayal in the text, pointing to a God beyond the text who is shadowed by God in the text. Even though only about 9% of female characters have names in the text, there are more than one hundred “eleventy” (111) women’s names that are preserved. So many rich stories among them that are largely neglected and more among the nameless women and missing characters including women who wield power and authority and successfully negotiate the androcentric framing of the text.”
It's pretty great. Again, whole thing here.


3.  Aaron Carroll, of the Incidental Economist (tagline: "Contemplating healthcare with a focus on research, an eye on reform") has an article up in JAMA Pediatrics about the need for EHR reform. It speaks to my bitter, bitter, EHR-hating soul.

Check it out here!

It may be behind a paywall, so here's my favorite quote (if by 'favorite' you allow me to mean 'depressing as hell, but I TOLD YOU SO'):

“ . . . in so many ways, the difference between what we believe HIT [Healthcare Information Technology] can do and what it actually can do is vast. There is a lack of research in underresourced settings, which might see the greatest benefit from HIT. Findings are often not generalizable. Quality improvement methods, which are often needed to adapt HIT to new environments, are lacking. Moreover, HIT is not an unequivocal benefit. It can lead to harms. A 2006 study showed that computerized physician order entry introduction in a pediatric intensive care unit led to an increase in mortality. Concerns about delays and increased documentation ties along with fragmented displays, inflexible formats, missed renewal notices, and dosage guideline misinterpretations likely led to this undesirable outcome. ”


4. There is, apparently, an entire "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks.

I'll just leave this "here."


5. Illustrated Harry Potter.

ILLUSTRATED HARRY POTTER! It is coming! Look at Hermione! Then check out the rest of the preview over at Book Riot.