Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hi everybody, I am Camicao. Or better said, I was Camicao.

I stopped blogging under a pseudonym a while back and I decided to out myself when John Holbo invited me to reprint one of my Camicao pieces in this book. Sadly, I purged many of my original Camicao pieces from this site a while ago, anticipating that I was going to out myself soon. I'm sorry I did it in retrospect, but so it goes. Being Camicao was a very transformative event.

My homepage is here:

Since ceasing to be Camicao I have published three pieces in Inside Higher Ed under my own name (Youtube and the Cultural Studies Classroom, Professor Avatar, Our Office) and I continue to enjoy being me online.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hi folks, it looks like one of my Camicao pieces will be included in a paper-ish edition on Critical Theory edited by John Holbo over at The Valve. I've decided to "out" myself in that piece, so unfortunately I've purged most of my posts from this site. I'll be back soon to share some final, parting thoughts about this whole experience of being Camicao, and to identify myself.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The always helpful Academic Coach published a post recently on how to start thinking about writing a book.

We write books for job security, naturally. But is knowledge served by enforcing one book per tenuring or promotion? Books written on the fly, while teaching courses, in five years?

But after we have tenure, why should we write books? Maybe tenured professors should stop publishing books so that there's room for junior faculty to publish books for tenure. But it's all backwards: the tenured faculty have all the time in the world to publish books, to write great books, whereas untenured faculty don't have that luxury.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Someone left me a comment asking me if it was possible to contact me.

I can be emailed at

I'm curious to know what this is about, especially because the comment was left on one of my more personal posts.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


I was schooled in wonder when I began reading as a little boy. The first book I ever read on my own was the second half of Charlotte's Web, because my father wanted to take a break from reading it to me and I could not wait to finish it. The tears I cried upon closing that book represent my first dialogue with mortality and grief. The wonderment of feeling literature stayed with me throughout my childhood and adolescence, and stayed true during my undergraduate years. But a funny thing happened in my Cultural Studies Ph.D. program: wonder was killed.

I took the dagger of theory and plunged it into wonder. Wonder was canonical and constructed. It was elitest. It was not of the people and for the people, but against it. Wonder was lazy. A dead-end street. Banal. Just surface. Uncritical. Useless. Awkward like a preposterous and overly sentimental uncle whose appetites and table manners are messy and self-indulgent. In its place, came irony, and winking knowingness, the "I saw that episode of Seinfeld and could deconstruct it for you if you asked me to" look. And so I dropped into a dreamless sleep that lasted several years.

But wonder came back and I realized that it was real. And promoting the experience of wonder, modeling it through my experience of it, became a part of my teaching. The fact is that your average college student doesn't read books and doesn't experience wonder too much. Trying to stir it up in her is an honorable challenge. When it works you feel like a million bucks. When it doesn't, you still believe in it, because you carry it in your heart and it gives you solace.

I'll round up the usual suspects and play the part of scientist. I'm a pseudo-Marxist critic anyway, and can be cynical with the best of them. I do my job, the whole critical thinking shtick. Yeah, there's truth in that, no question, and its worth defending. But not at the expense of wonder. Unlike many other things, wonder is worth defending... on a raft in the mississippi or in the luxuriant tales of a queer Sheherazade locked in a South American prison cell.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


The fund that Academic Coach opened to help the Badger family will remain open. Let's not forget it when the first of the month comes along. Badger and her son have a rough road to hoe ahead of them. If you want to send a paper card, Academic Coach has explained how to get it to Badger.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I'm not going to get all reporterly about text books on y'all because I don't have the energy or the time. Our classes started this week and all of that Taoism stuff is not quite working as well as it should. But it's nice to wish, and to try to be calmer than usual (and if beginning to get that distant, depressed feeling counts as being "calm", then maybe I'm getting calm with every new day of the nascent semester).

For years I've been fuming about textbook prices and book prices in general. It pisses me off that my students --who are working class-- have to pay 100-150 $ a semester on my literature classes. Granted they are spending at least that if not more in their non-literary disciplines, but it sucks. I have a fantasy about creating a network of PDF "freeware" on-line, where faculty from across this "great" nation could post scanned in, copy-right free texts for classroom use, or just write them and provide them on-line.

I understand that this would not be good for publishers (and what satisfaction or possible reward could there be for faculty who edit content for release on internet or who write original materials?).But the pricing of books is ridiculous. A 250 page small-sized paperback textbook for 70$? A book that no second hand bookstore will want to buy. A book that's crummy like most "textbooks." 70$ That's a crime. It makes my blood boil.

So now enterprising minds are getting on the publish on demand craze, marketing cheap editions of public domain texts for faculty. But why should I line the pockets of those people when I can do the same thing? (Albeit without a shiny cover and such.) I have begun to scan in copy-right free primary texts for my students to use. No bookstore shenanigans. No publisher shenanigans. No copyright persecutions. No nobody getting unfair profits.

But damn it, wait a minute... what hurts academic publishers hurts publishing faculty. I really don't know why I go down these roads. Time for some Taoism.