Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Colbert’

Social ScienceBill O’Reilly!

Lately, some of my Facebook friends have been posting a link to Herbert Gans’s 2002 entreaty to become public sociologists. In it, Gans states that anybody can become a public sociolgist but cautions that “Audiences are the ultimate gate keeper” and that “public intellectuals must be willing to speak to topics that interest them, and with frames and values that are comprehensible and acceptable to them.”

The above photo, in which a bookstore’s Social Science section (which consisted of one shelf) has been overrun by Bill O’Reilly, indicates that we might not be doing the best job of this. The Social Sciences section was next to the politics section, so it is likely that these books overflowed from there (although I would argue that they don’t belong there, either!) but I couldn’t find a single book on this shelf that was actually based on social science research. The next shelf was related to crime and was filled mostly with the “true crime” genre.

I think that Nathan Palmer’s recent reminder that, for our students, we are the public face of sociology is important, but we still appear to be failing Gans. If none of sociology’s best sellers appear in a bookstore in a rural area of the country and people’s idea of sociology itself is derived from Sudhir Venkatesh’s appearance on the Colbert Report, then maybe we are too focused on what our colleagues think of our work and not focused enough on what our neighbors think of it.

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Working at a liberal arts school, I sometimes see my colleagues wearing jeans.  One colleague in particular typically wears a style of jeans that are about ten years out of date.  Of course, the jeans that I wear most frequently are nearly two years old, so I’m sure that I will be out of fashion soon (if I’m not already).  The point of this is that despite their long-standing place in the American wardrobe, jeans come in a wide variety of styles and fits.  Now there is one more.

Levi’s has been selling “501 Boyfriend Jeans” for women for a while now*.  The idea behind them is apparently that they are cut in a way that mimics men’s jeans (but still, somehow, not men’s jeans).  Now, Levi’s has responded to the rise of “skinny jeans” with”Ex-Girlfriend Jeans” for men despite the fact that nearly nobody looks good in them (unless they want to accentuate their differences).  Now men can buy super-tight jeans that were made for them but fit like they were made for their girlfriends (or, I guess, the girls who broke up with them for stealing their jeans).

Memoirs of a SLACer field reporter Stephen Colbert examines this issue further.


*It is interesting to note the way the Levi’s website differentiates “normal” men and women – the styles you get by clicking on those labels along the top of the site – from the labels that appear when you hover over these labels.  For men, the only other option is “Big and Tall” while women can be either normal, “Petite,” or “Plus.”

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A new development in the mystery of John Galt.  I’m not him, but Stephen Colbert may be.  From the Colbert Report on March 11:

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