Playlist of the Month: Revolution Starts Monday

We are sad, afraid, and angry. We do not feel like this because the presidential candidate we supported lost. We feel like this because hate won. Very soon, though, we need to get to work. The president-elect’s campaign promises, actions (mocking a reporter with disabilities, using racist language about immigrant groups, intimidating a rape accuser who has live witnesses to his rape of her as a 13 year old child… please do not make us list it all), and now, 100-day plan show that our fellow Americans are in danger of losing their hard-won rights and basic safety. Already, hate crimes are occurring nationwide because hatred has been given a voice. We believe that love and goodness can win, but now we have to fight for it. We’ll take a little time to regroup this week, but the revolution’s imminent.

My Shot (Rise Up Remix) – The Roots feat. Busta Rhymes, Joell Ortiz & Nate Ruess

We could have made it through 2016 without Lin-Manuel Miranda, but it would have been much, much worse. We already loved the original My Shot for capturing both the revolutionary spirit of colonial America and of the present day. The new remix, released on the Hamilton Mixtape, takes it to 2016 and the present-day oppression of communities of color.

Fight Song (Democratic National Convention cover) – Rachel Platten

I never liked this song until this version premiered during the Democratic National Convention and reduced me to tears. It was a hopeful moment as we looked forward to the triumph of reason over reactionism, experience over showmanship, and for the love of all things holy, finally a woman in the position of Commander in Chief. It takes on a new meaning now, doesn’t it?

Alright by Kendrick Lamar

Alright became the unofficial anthem last summer when Black Lives Matter activists took the streets, and it was the perfect song – a track touching upon the unbearable pain and struggle while facing adversity in a seemingly hopeless situation. But the message was clear – we gon’ be alright.

Immigrants (We Get The Job Done) by K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente

Racism and immigration were at the center of the election over the past year, thanks to an outrageous comment said on the same day He announced his candidacy: that Mexicans are rapists who bring drugs into the country. Blah blah, wall, blah blah. Around the same time, Hamilton was a hit Off-Broadway and preparing to make its move to the Richard Rodgers where it continues to live. In Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down), Alexander Hamilton and Marquis de Lafayette high five after saying the line, “Immigrants: we get the job done”. Word on the street (and IRL when we saw Hamilton) is that very single performance, this line gets an individual cheer. Because we all know it’s true and immigrants are the foundation of this country.

So what was brilliant for Lin-Manuel and co. for the Hamilton Mixtape was to take that line and turn it into its own track. Not only that, but features artists who themselves are immigrants or align with more than one country/nationality. K’naan, a Somali Canadian poet and rapper, kicks off the track by saying “I got 1 job, 2 jobs, 3 when I need them/I got 5 roommates in this one studio but I never really see them”, letting y’all know they weren’t going to sugarcoat the truth in the song. Interspersed with lyrics from Yorktown, Snow Tha Product, a female Mexican American rapper, comes in adding, “there ain’t a paper trail when you living in the shadows/We’re Americas ghost writers the credit is only borrowed.” That’s followed by Riz MC aka Riz Ahmed, a British Pakastani (who you might know from The Night Of), who spits, “Who these fugees what did they do for me but contribute new dreams”.

The last verse belongs to Puerto Rican rapper Residente, who’s 1/2 of of Calle 13 and whole halves (?) of Lin-Manuel – they’re cousins. He’s known for not holding back when it comes to his political beliefs in his music, and this is no different. In fact, his entire verse is in Spanish, as if they’re letting us know that the we’re entering an era that isn’t just dominated by one culture or race anymore – it’s diverse AF. Speaking to the Latinos in particular, he says, “We are like plants that grow without water/Without an American Passport/Because half of gringolandia is really Mexican terrain.”

Cold War by Janelle Monae

There is work for everybody now – for teachers and lawyers and journalists and parents and many others – and artists are a big part of the change we’ll need. Janelle has always beautifully put words and music to the struggles that millions of Americans are facing. We’re going to need her for these next four years. This is a cold war, you better know what you’re fighting for.

Formation by Beyonce

Beyonce’s Lemonade era kicked off with the release of Formation, an unapologetic black power and female anthem that had even people from middle America singing “I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros/I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”. But her message is also one of believing that she (and her fans) can do anything they set their mind to, even if there are people trying to take her down or suppress her voice.  “I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it/I twirl on them haters”

Soy Yo – Bomba Estereo

This went semi-viral earlier this year because of the adorable little girl in the video, but the message to keep singing, dancing and being yourself even if others don’t like it is one we need right now. Other thing we need right now: Spanish, lots of it, everywhere, because now we have a president-elect who says things like “bad hombres” (AND pronounces it “hambres.” So maybe he just hates angry dudes? But nah.)

Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down) by the cast of Hamilton

The phrase “the world turned upside down” kept popping up in my head when it became clear what the election results were, because it felt like everything I thought I knew was wrong and everything I feared would come true did, like we were in an alternate universe. I was obviously in the Denial step of the five stages of grieving. But this song – in the historical context – it tells the events that happened during the Battle of Yorktown, the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. A. Ham went (A.) Ham on the British, forcing them to surrender. But the number itself includes a multitude of inspirational lines that are ever more relevant today (and some I already mentioned before). We have Hamilton: “so the American experiment begins” and all his “My Shot” reprisals, in the anger and focus in spy on the inside Hercules Mulligan: “See, that’s what happens when you up against the ruffians/We in the shit now, somebody gotta shovel it!/Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction/When you knock me down I get the fuck back up again!”, and in this exchange we must remember to this day:

Laurens: Black and white soldiers wonder alike if this really means freedom

Washington: Not. Yet

The Day Women Took Over by Common

A lot of us had hoped we were voting for the first female president on Tuesday, but just because she didn’t land the title of president-elect, it doesn’t mean she’s the last one to run for the high office. In Common’s track, off his new album Black America Again, he pictures a world where peace and unity truly exist on the sole fact that women are in charge. And I hope this hypothetical world isn’t as far off as it seems.

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Things We Need to Revisit From the 2016 Grammy Awards

I’m accidentally starting a new series for the blog called Things We Need to Revisit, which I kicked off with the Super Bowl 50 earlier this month. Today, we’re talking all about last night’s Grammy Awards, which was filled with highs and lows and Hamilton. All Hamilton all the time. Here are the moments I feel like we need to talk about again today, and yes, Taylor Swift’s maj shade is on the list.

Bow Wow Doesn’t Understand Time

As awards shows are wont to do, stars from that network randomly show up to promote their series in a slick way. It’s the reason why NCIS: Los Angeles star LL Cool J has hosted the show 5 times, and why Gary Sinise star of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders presented the Best Country Album with country singer Cam. And it’s why Shad Moss aka Bow Wow (CSI: Cyber) was chosen to co-host the pre-show with actual reporters from Entertainment Tonight. Approximately 2 minutes before the show started, Shad was in the audience giving viewers a preview of who was in the crowd, but at the 1.30 mark, he excitedly yelled, “The Grammys start now!” … except they didn’t. He attempted to do filler then throw away to the top of the show like two more times, looking at his watch WHICH SHOULD HAVE TOLD HIM THE TIME? before they cut away to the ET folks who know how time works. It was awkward and I can’t stop laughing at it.

Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood Take Their Time

Apparently their performance was shat on by a lot of haters online, but I wasn’t paying attention – Carrie is one of my favorite singers and Sam is a smokeshow so this pairing was a GD dream. Plus, the sound system was already fucked up (see: Adele).

It’s an Easy Hello for Demi Lovato

Demi was part of an all-star tribute to Lionel Richie, with a medley that included John Legend, Meghan Trainor, Luke Bryan and Tyrese Gibson (?). While John kicked it off with a flawless version of Easy, Demi was a standout in the bunch, mainly because she knocked the socks off of people who have been underestimating her or just don’t know her music. They know her as a former Disney star who went to rehab, and over the past year, Demi’s been out there hustlin’ trying to prove them otherwise. IMO, the new era of her slay-age began with SNL back in October, and with her performance on the Grammys it took her to a whole new level. Demi has never even been to the Grammys before, which was a conscious decision on her part. She didn’t want to go unless she earned it, whether it be being asked to perform or having a nomination (one day), so her debut at the Grammys itself became an epic one with her powerful vocals. And she definitely showed them she was meant to be there.

Stevie Wonder Burns The Audience

After performing an a cappella tribute to late Earth, Wind, & Fire star Maurice White with Pentatonix, Stevie was responsible for reading the winner of Song of the Year. He brought out the envelope, which was a bit of a gag since, hey, Stevie’s blind (tell that to 19-year-old me who legit waved to him at TRL). But then he turned it into somewhat of a PSA.

Kendrick Lights Up

If you were not giving this man a standing ovation at the end of this performance – I don’t care where you were – you need to wake the fuck up.

Adele Still Better Than Your Faves

So not everything can go perfectly on live TV, even if you’re Adele. The only difference is that Adele can still make a fucked up instrumental and sound situation seem like NBD. Especially in a huge venue like Staples Center with thousands of screaming fans, it’s imperative for a singer’s earpiece to work, and for the music playing through said earpiece to be on tune. It definitely wasn’t her best performance, and everyone freaked out but ultimately forgave her because she’s Adele. However, she explained later that the piano mics fell on to the piano strings, and that’s what made it sound like a guitar was blaring every other beat and like she was off key. She’s also fine with it because she got In and Out after. Goals.

Sofia Vergara Did A Thing

Believe it or not, Sofia Vergara helped close out the Grammys. Backstory: Pitbull made a surprise appearance at Sofia’s wedding to Joe Manganiello last year by performing a few songs at their reception. I’m assuming to help pay him back, she agreed to dress up as a Taxi and dance around the stage during his performance. So, that happened.

Taylor’s Got It Made In the Shade

If you’ve been following the Kanye drama over the past week (there’s a lot so it’s fair if you haven’t), you know that he name dropped Taylor in his new song Famous. He says, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / I made that bitch famous.” Long story short, Kanye isn’t apologizing and Taylor responded for the first time by throwing the most shade to him in her acceptance speech for Album of the Year. Like, if you need to describe to someone what shade is (which I’ve had to do), this speech is the textbook definition of it. PS: Remember the time Taylor thought she won Album of the Year in 2014 because “Red” sounds a lot like “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk?? STILL FUNNY.

#Gram4Ham

Saved the best for last. While I think Kendrick had the best *awards show performance*, the cast of Hamilton had their own revolutionary performance in a different way. We both had a lot of feelings before the cast performed the opening number, Alexander Hamilton, live from the Richard Rodgers theater in NY, and one of those feelings had to do with the fact that it was the first time the cast has performed a full song on TV. We were going to be in the room where it happens, only if for a few minutes. It was just as beautiful and moving as I had imagined. And of course, to top it all off, they won Best Musical Theater Album (obviously. this category is usually relegated for the pre-telecast!) and Lin didn’t disappoint with yet another acceptance speech rap. That also made me cry. I’ve never been so proud of a group of people I’ve never met before than this cast. WEPAAAA

Playlist Of The Month: Songs By 2016 Grammy Nominees

The 2016 Grammy Awards are tonight – the messy, reckless, unpredictable party of the awards season, where the actual awards take a backseat to the outfits, rivalries, and  performances. It’s bound to be the highlight of our Monday nights this year, especially with the amazing slate of nominees. This playlist contains only songs by 2016 Grammy nominees, so listen to it to evaluate the potential winners and get psyched up for tonight’s awards. Then, tune in tonight to witness the awards first hand!

Listen to the whole Spotify playlist here!
spotify:user:122917273:playlist:3CFELD66cFF5I452dHRBaX

Traci’s Picks

Nominee: Sam Hunt (Best New Artist, Best Country Album)
Song: Take Your Time

Y’all. If you are not acquainted with Sam Hunt yet – GET ON IT NOW. He’s a former college football player-turned-singer/songwriter-turned solo country singing superstar. He’s got so much working for him – he’s got a great voice, he can talk/rap (?) and make it sound cool, his songs are on fiiiire, and he is the most attractive crooning angel in country music. This song is baby makin’ music right here. If you want more, listen to the entire Montevallo album. Speakers. That’s all I’m saying.

Nominee: Disclosure (Best Dance/Electronic Album)
Song: Magnets ft. Lorde

The second I heart Latch by Disclosure & Sam Smith, I was hooked. Their Caracal album is an EDM/pop dream. In Magnets, Lorde brings her seductive/creepy tone to a dope beat that you can’t stop listening to.

Nominee: Kendrick Lamar (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Dance Recording, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, Best Music Video)
Song: Alright

Kendrick has the most Grammy nominations this year with 11, so chances are he’s going to walk away with one. Or two. Or almost all of them. Kendrick has a way of bringing life into every single song he records, whether it be through the inspiring and moving lyrics or multi-genre-infused instrumentals that prove he’s a true artist. With Alright, this has become not just a song but an anthem for millions, and that is the mark of a music icon.

Nominee: Florence + The Machine (Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Recording Package)
Song: Hiding

Florence made us wait four long years before releasing a new album, and it was well worth it. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has more of an ethereal vibe to it than her previous records, but I’m not complaining. Hiding is actually a bonus track that happens to be one of my favorite tracks so here it is.

Nominee: Miguel (Best R&B Song, Best Urban Contemporary Album)
Song: coffee

Nothing can top Miguel’s Grammy-winning song Adorn – in fact, topping his amazing 2012 album Kaleidoscope Dream is hard too, but coffee is a strong follow up. It channels the same feels from Adorn, but with a little more flair, and I’m so here for it.

Bonus:

Amy Poehler – Yes Please (the audiobook) because SHE’S GRAMMY NOMINEE, AMY POEHLER. I’ve only read the book and not listened to it, but based on this small clip, I want to give her all the Grammys. And because we’re still obsessed with Hamilton and excited about their performance at the show, I’ll also plug one of the many favorites off the album, Non-Stop. I mean that ending, tho.

Molly’s Picks

Nominee:  Hamilton (Best Musical Theatre Album)
Song: Wait For It

There’s no real best or worst tracks from the Hamilton cast recording, because it’s all very, very good. However, Helpless and Wait For It are the two songs that I think stand best on their own – if you aren’t familiar with the musical, don’t like musicals, or are just going to listen to one track instead of taking the whole two-act journey. Both remind me of the best parts of late-90s R&B.

As I write this I realize that Traci will probably pick a song from Hamilton too, but we’re basically a Hamilton blog now so I think that’s appropriate.

Nominee: Alabama Shakes ( Album Of The Year, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical,  Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical )
Song: Don’t Wanna Fight

Here’s a moment you realize you’re getting older: an artist appears on Saturday Night Live and you’ve never heard any of their songs. That was me with Alabama Shakes in 2015. I love the old-school Southern rock and bluesy vocals, mixed with a modern synth sound. Not ALL of their songs are exactly my cup of tea, but you can’t deny that they deserve their place with the other nominees.

Nominee: Taylor Swift
Song: I Wish You Would

I’m probably supposed to be embarrassed about this, but I sort of like Taylor Swift.  I don’t think her live performances are amazing, but she has a better grasp of how to write a really great pop song than most artists out there – in fact, she was under contract as just a songwriter as a teen. New!Taylor also knows who to partner with: I always thought I Wish You Would had sort of a Haim vibe, but it was actually produced with Jack Antonoff (fun) which works, too.

Nominee: James Bay (Best New Artist, Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song)
Song: Hold Back The River

I think James Bay is really excellent and is sort of this year’s Hozier, not that Hozier is going anywhere. I hope he sticks around for a good while and I really think he will. I have copied and pasted three different songs into this list so you really can’t go wrong with the entire album.

Nominee: Kacey Musgraves (Best Country Album)
Song: Biscuits

Kacey Musgraves is the future of country, and I like it. In a lot of ways she’s a throwback to the sassy, non-P.C. country of Loretta Lynn. Heck, one of Kacey’s early songs includes the lyric “my idea of heaven is to burn one with John Prine.” Other than the release of her album, one of Musgraves’ biggest moments in 2015 was performing Follow Your Arrow at an NPR Tiny Desk Concert the day the marriage equality decision came down. I don’t think Pageant Material got as much radio play as it maybe should have on country stations, but it didn’t go overlooked at the Grammys.

Pop Culture Extra Credit: College Edition

A couple months ago, my alma mater, Emerson College, announced that starting in the Fall of 2016, there will be a new major available to students – a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Comedic Arts, AKA a degree in comedy. Emerson is a communication and arts school where being a musical theatre major doesn’t make you a nerd and Quidditch is the top sport. We’re known for having unusual or quirky things that you wouldn’t find at a “normal” college. When I first heard the news, I thought, ‘Oh, that makes sense’. The school already offers classes on things like puppetry and “Queer TV After Ellen Came Out”, so yeah, a comedy major sounds about right.

However, it was a much bigger question mark to the rest of the world who went to schools that had classes like Accounting and football teams. Emerson even got a mention from Seth Meyers who suggested students can “just take your tuition money and burn it in front of your parents.” Fair.

So with kids heading back to college over the next few weeks, I thought that there must be other schools out there that offer odd, or pop culture-centric classes. Luckily, the American educational system did not let me down. Here are just a few courses you can take right now – did you guys take any weird classes in college?

Emerson College {Boston, MA}

TV Creators: Understanding the Whedonesque

Description:

This course will use the career of Joss Whedon to introduce students to the variety of positions in the entertainment industry and their potential for fulfilling and creative work… By examining his work at various stages, students will better understand auteur theory, modern industrial entertainment production, and artistic production across media. Works covered include: Roseanne, Alien: Resurrection, Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a film and TV series, Angel, Firefly and Serenity, Dollhouse, The Cabin in the Woods, The Avengers, Much Ado About Nothing, Buffy: Season Eight, and Astonishing X-Men.

Class Notes:

Surprisingly enough, I’m not too familiar with the Whedonverse. The closest I’ve ever gotten is watching Dr. Horrible multiple times over. Back in my day, this class was specifically about dissecting Buffy, and not any of Joss Whedon’s other works. My friend (who shall not be named because in her words, ‘I have a reputation to uphold’) took the Buffy class and had this to say about it: “12-year-old me couldn’t believe she was watching one of her favorite shows in class to achieve a real college degree, but it was surprisingly one of the most demanding classes (work load wise) that I have ever taken.” As I think we’re going to find with the rest of these courses, it may sound silly at first, but it’s probably really interesting and a lot of work.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology {Cambridge, MA}

Topics in Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling

well this is frightening

Description:

This class will explore the cultural history and media industry surrounding the masculine drama of professional wrestling. Beginning with wrestling’s roots in sport and carnival, the class examines how new technologies and changes in the television industry led to evolution for pro wrestling style and promotion and how shifts in wrestling characters demonstrate changes in the depiction of American masculinity. The class will move chronologically in an examination of how wrestling characters and performances have changed, focusing particularly on the 1950s to the present. Students may have previous knowledge of wrestling but are not required to, nor are they required to be a fan (although it is certainly not discouraged, either).

Class Notes:

Exactly what major is this class fulfilling? I particularly like the disclaimer at the end. ‘You don’t have to be a fan of WWE… except you should probably be if you’re spending money on this class.”

Rutgers University {New Jersey}

Feminist Perspectives: Politicizing Beyoncé

Description:

Calling all the single ladies: this exploration into Queen Bey’s influence on feminism, race, gender, and culture helps students become more aware of the way in which pop culture shapes society. Most classes that are named for celebrities deal with sociologies of fame or psychologies of human behavior, but Kevin Allred’s version zeroes in on politics. By juxtaposing Beyoncé’s song lyrics with readings by distinguished black leaders like Sojourner Truth and Octavia Butler, students ask and attempt to answer the question, “Can Beyoncé’s music be seen as a blueprint for progressive social change?” Yet the more appropriate question may be: Who runs the world? Beyoncé.

Class Notes:

Sign. Me. Up. The person who wrote this description is clearly a member of the BeyHive, so that’s already a plus. But like previously mentioned, this class sounds hard as shiiiit. But that’s what you get when you break down the genius that is Queen B.

Georgia Regents College {Augusta, Georgia}

Good Kids, Mad Cities

Description:

Taking its name from Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 album, this course will examine the role of urban living on the development of young people. In Kendrick’s case, “the streets sure to release the worst side of my best” (Lamar 58). By studying and analyzing various literature, films, and K. Dot’s album, we will consider what effects our characters’ surroundings have on who they become as adults. The cities we will be visiting, in our imaginations, are Dublin, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Class Notes:

This class should be offered at more colleges, TBH.

Middlebury College {Middlebury, Vermont}

Urban America & Serial Television: Watching The Wire

Description:

Frequently hailed as a masterpiece of American television, The Wire shines a light on urban decay in contemporary America, creating a dramatic portrait of Baltimore’s police, drug trade, shipping docks, city hall, public schools, and newspapers over five serialized seasons. In this course, we will watch and discuss all of this remarkable-and remarkably entertaining-series, and place it within the dual contexts of contemporary American society and the aesthetics of television. This is a time-intensive course with a focus on close viewing and discussion, and opportunities for critical analysis and research about the show’s social contexts and aesthetic practices.

Class Notes:

I would take this class for one reason, the same one reason I watch the entirety of The Wire in the first place: Mr. Idris Elba. God bless.

Colorado College {Colorado Springs, Colorado}

Queen Bees, WannaBees, and Mean Girls

Description:

Queen Bees, WannaBees, and Mean Girls explores the means and motives behind why women seek authority and the actions they are willing to take in order to hold onto it. Students will examine this concept through the use of literary works and movies, such as the 2004 film Mean Girls.

Class Notes:

Temporarily ignoring the fact that first sentence makes it seem like this class is slightly sexist, it would be interesting to take a look into this culture of mean girls. And obviously, the class would have to be held on Wednesdays.

American University {Washington, D.C.}

Contemporary American Culture: Hunger Games

Description:

The Hunger Games trilogy is a publishing phenomenon that has dramatically impacted American popular culture. Using the series as a case study, this course examines the interplay of class, politics, ethics, and marketing. Topics covered include oppression, feminism, food deserts, rebellion, the publishing industry, and social media marketing. 

Class Notes:

Hunger Games isn’t just for kids, y’all. I also read “food deserts” as “food desserts” and immediately started to think what significance desserts had in the books, scouring my brain to remember Katniss’ fave food – then I realized it said “deserts” as in, the lack of food pretty much everywhere besides the Capitol. The Hunger Game isn’t just for kids, y’all.

Georgetown University {Washington, D.C.}

Philosophy and Star Trek

Description:

Star Trek is very philosophical. What better way, then, to do philosophy, but to watch Star Trek, read philosophy and hash it all out in class? That’s the plan. This course will center on topics in metaphysics that come up again and again in Star Trek. In conjunction with watching Star Trek, we will read excerpts from the writings of great philosophers, extract key concepts and arguments and then analyze those arguments. Questions we will wrestle with include:

I. Is time travel possible? Could you go back and kill your grandmother? What is time?
II. What is the relation between your mind and your brain–are they separate items or identical? Can persons survive death? Could a machine someday think? Is Data a person?
III. What is a person? Must you have the same body to be you? Same memories? When do we have one person, and when do we have two (think of the episodes where people “split” or “fuse”).
IV. Do you have free will, or are you determined by the laws of nature to do exactly what you wind up doing (while believing you have free will)? Or both? What is freewill?

Class Notes:

This description is VERY thorough. Not only that, but seems questionable. For instance, why is one of the questions, “Could you go back and kill your grandmother?”. First of all, it should be “Would”. Second of all, what? Is this a plot point in the Star Trek series? If yes, WHY? Also, “What is a person?” ??? This could be a very deep and depressing conversation I personally wouldn’t want to have in a classroom setting.

Georgia State University {Atlanta, Georgia}

American Poetry: Kanye vs. Everybody

kanye vs

Description:

According to the syllabus, Kanye makes for a useful lens through which to “investigate the continuous development of African American poetry and poetics—the uses of language and literature to represent blackness and Americanness in particular—observing shifting meanings in and of the text with important considerations of race, class, gender, and sexuality.” Throughout the semester, students decode Kanye’s work and interviews, which Dr. Heath believes help draw a line from the Harlem Renaissance to the black nationalist era to current-day hip-hop.

Class Notes:

Can’t tell if Kanye would love this course or disagree with it so much he’ll interrupt during class to say just how much he hates it. Is that a dated reference? Him and TSwift are all good now? Ok.

University at Buffalo {Buffalo, New York}

Breaking Down “Breaking Bad”

Description:

“Breaking Bad” was one of the most spectacular narrative achievements in television. Its five seasons comprised some 60 hours of a single narrative arc, something no film or television program (cable or commercial) has ever accomplished… In this seminar, we’ll take a close look at all the components of the series; we’ll talk about what was done, how it was done, why it worked. There is one prerequisite: that members of the seminar have seen the series before the seminar’s first meeting. We’re going to be studying it, not greeting it. We’ll look at some segments during the semester, but only so we can deconstruct the work. I’ll expect participants to do class presentations on different aspects of the epic, and a term paper on a topic of their choice.

Class Notes:

Unlike the American wrestling course, watching the series IS a pre req to being in this class. Luckily, most people on this planet have watched Breaking Bad. There’s gotta be something meta about teaching a class about a show that features a chemistry teacher who isn’t the greatest teacher.

University of California, Berkeley {Berkeley, California}

Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular ‘Logic’ on TV Judge Shows”

Description:

TV “Judge” shows have become extremely popular in the last 3-5 years. A fascinating aspect of these shows from a rhetorical point of view is the number of arguments made by the litigants that are utterly illogical, or perversions of standard logic, and yet are used over and over again. For example, when asked “Did you hit the plaintiff?” respondents often say, “If I woulda hit him, he’d be dead!” This reply avoids answering “yes” or “no” by presenting a perverted form of the logical strategy called “a fortiori” argument “from the stronger” in Latin. The seminar will be concerned with identifying such apparently popular logical fallacies on “Judge Judy” and “The People’s Court”and discussing why such strategies are so widespread. It is NOT a course about law or “legal reasoning” Students who are interested in logic, argument, TV, and American popular culture will probably be interested in this course. I emphasize that it is NOT about the application of law or the operations of the court system in general.

Class Notes:

As the lawyer of this Cookies + Sangria duo, I’m sure Molly can support or oppose this much better than I can, but in theory, this class actually sounds more interesting than it should? Although I hate watching court show, I’m sure there’s a psychology to it that can be studied. Or just a reminder of how stupid Americans can be.