[Milton-L] West Coast MLAs and rules

Arlene Stiebel amstiebel at verizon.net
Wed Dec 31 13:47:12 EST 2008

Dear List,

Contrary to Jim Watt's comment, we certainly do not lack in scholarly

Conventioneers attending the upcoming conference in Los Angeles will find
excellent research libraries at Cal Tech, UCLA (including the Clark) and USC
as well as the outstanding Henry E. Huntington Library, Art Gallery and
Botanical Gardens.  We also have such world-class museums as the Los Angeles
County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Norton Simon
Museum, the Museum of Tolerance, the Southwest Museum of the American
Indian, the Asia Pacific Museum, the Griffith Observatory, the Natural
History Museum, the LaBrea Tar Pits, the American Film Institute, and not
one, but two J. Paul Getty Research Institutes and Museums -- the Villa in
Malibu and the "new" Getty in Brentwood.  That's only in LA, and only some
of the libraries and museums on the "whole west coast."

To those who provided such a lovely Milton Society Dinner in San Francisco
this year:  Thank you.

--Arlene Stiebel

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Watt, James
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 7:39 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: RE: [Milton-L] West Coast MLAs and rules

Thanks, Michael Bryson, for your (just slightly acidic) comments.  It IS a
sad fact, long noted by me, that even Religion and History types, have more
interesting convention sites (and TIMES) than we do.  It probably has more
to do with economics than anything else, but it is certainly true that with
the exception of New Orleans and San Francisco, I NEVER looked forward to
MLA in my career -- and even when I went I had to sacrifice Holiday time
with my family to meet and greet with fellow humanists and hear a few good
papers that I could just as easily have read at home --and probably to more
lasting effect.  So why do we present such a woe begone image?  I suspect we
have a secret desire to confirm our students' general opinion of our work
--not the books and poems we teach, but our work: meticulous, precise,
exhaustive and never very interesting.  I think they must have air
conditioning and water heating conventions somewhere, too.  Where crucial
information is swapped.  B!
 ut hardly as dull as MLA.  Do I think your observation on rules is related
to our choice of convention dates and places?  Oh yes.  Can't manage to be
serious when people won't follow proper footnote procedures.

Happy New Year!

Jim Watt

P.S. Philadelphia is a lovely city in my experience; I'm especially fond of
the Museum Mile (not to mention the Eagles and the Phillies), but I agree
with you that December doesn't show her to her best advantage.  And San
Francisco, for all its charm, (in fact the whole west coast) is definitely
lacking in the museum / library area.
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Michael Bryson
[michael.bryson at csun.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 12:46 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: [Milton-L] West Coast MLAs and rules

The fact that West Coast MLAs (which often, though not always, means San
Francisco MLAs) have lower attendance than East Coast MLAs is interesting.
It says something about either the travel preferences of our tribe
(humanities academics) or the demographic and population statistics of our
tribe, or both (and this lower attendance seems to be a phenomenon that
dates back well before the current economic meltdown). But one of the
supreme ironies of humanities academia has always seemed to me to be our
sheer an(or un)aestheticism. We flock to major (if often slightly dull)
cities, while wearing badges on the town, and stand dozens deep at the hotel
Starbucks. And cities like Philadelphia (lately, seemingly the
semi-permanent home of the MLA...I have family from there, and roots there,
so my snark comes from experience--Pat's and Geno's are great, but
cheesesteaks are hardly the pinnacle of the culinary arts, and while the
Italian Market is great, the fact that it is! f! ! riggi!
 ng freezing that time of year is hardly a draw) in winter draw more of us
than San Francisco in winter. San Francisco, which is a scant hour and a
half south of Napa/Sonoma. San Francisco...home to Michael Mina, Gary Danko,
and Fluer De Lys, and (with the requisite drives) Chez Panisse, Auberge De
Soleil, and the French Laundy. San Francisco, possibly the most beautiful of
US cities...or Philadelphia...gee, which one of these? Yes, I realize that
financial considerations means many (or even most) of us travel to this
annual exercise in academic togetherness at university expense (or not at
all), but still...

Curiouser and curioser...

And as to the recent flurry of "one comment a day" comments...oh, please.
Rules? Really? No...really? Might we have rather fewer of those, and rather
more of a more Miltonic self-discipline? A top down hierarchy on something
like a web/email-based discussion group strikes me as about as unMiltonic as
it is possible to get. Oh yes, let's do have more rules...maybe some decrees
which "unrevoked shall stand"...that'd be good...that doesn't cause any
trouble, as we know.

Michael Bryson

---- Original message ----
Date: Tue, 30 Dec 2008 22:45:53 -0600 (CST)
From: Jameela Lares <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu>
Subject: [Milton-L] MLA
To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>The program seemed as thick as ever. Hiring was down. I don't know how that
translates into numbers, but West Coast MLA's usually have fewer in
>Jameela Lares
>Professor of English
>The U. of So. Mississippi
>118 College Drive, #5037
>Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
>601 266-6214 ofc
>601 266-5757 fax
>-----Original Message-----
>>From gilliaca at jmu.edu
>Sent Tue 12/30/2008 10:14 AM
>To John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>Subject Re: [Milton-L] "Mirton"
>How is attendance?
>Because my former university had to swallow a 15% buget cut from the state,
only those interviewing job candidates could get travel money - and we sent
fewer of those than usual. We were lucky to have begun the hiring process
before these cuts came. There will be no hiring next fall, probably.
>There are no raises, there is no travel money for research or paper
presentations, and 3 former colleagues who had earned time off for research
were told that the money [to cover their classes] was frozen, but they would
get their leaves 'in the future.'

>Some deprtments and schools have their own private foundations, so they may
be able to travel as usual - the School of Business, for example.
>Anyhow - evidence of the economic flop at MLA?
>Enjoy and safe travel.
>Cynthia A. Gilliatt
>English Department, JMU, ret.
>JMU Safe Zones supporter
>"You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people you
hate." Fr. John Weston
>Milton-L mailing list
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