ALUMNI CLASnotes Fall, 1999



Recent publications from UF faculty and alumni/ae

SommervilleHow the News Makes Us Dumb: The Death of Wisdom in an Information Society
C. John Sommerville
InterVarsity Press

(from book jacket)
Sommerville argues that news began to make us dumber when we insisted on having it daily, that lost in the tidal wave of information is the ability to discern truly significant news.

I'm not going to argue that we were better off when the whole front page was small print and long gray columns. The effect of that news was the same. All I am saying is that the industry's desperation to sell today's and tomorrow's news is beginning to make us more aware of what has always been wrong with the news--its desire to please and flatter and excite us so that we will come back for tomorrow's issue.

MargolisAn Invisible Minority: Brazilians in New York City
Maxine L. Margolis
Allyn and Bacon

(from book preface)
Most of the Brazilians seeking their fortune in this country are middle and lower-middle class and many have university educations. And so, this also became a narrative about a new kind of immigrant, an immigrant who was not fleeing from dire poverty or political repression.

Brazilians are truly an invisible minority because of Americans' confusion about who they are and what language they speak. Moreover... Brazilian invisibility also results from the lack of a tangible community in the city, a locale tinged with its own distinct ethnicity like Chinatown or Little Italy.

ThieleEnvironmentalism for a New Millennium: The Challenge of Coevolution
Leslie Paul Thiele
(Political Science)
Oxford University Press

(from book jacket)
Through extensive interviews and a critical study of environmental publications and scholarly research, the author provides an inside look at the environmental movement. His analysis illuminates the social, economic, political and cultural forces that shape the environmental movement today and set its trajectory for the 21st century. Anyone interested in environmentalism will find this book an invaluable guide.

The coevolutionary perspective is grounded in the belief that, viewed globally and in the long term, the protection of human welfare and the preservation of the natural environment are mutually reinforcing....

To care for the long-term preservation of biodiversity, one first has to be able to care for the short-term preservation of one's economic security and health. Richard Leakey put the point succinctly when he said: "To care about the environment requires at least one square meal a day."

TurimThe Films of Oshima Nagisa: Images of a Japanese Iconoclast
Maureen Turim
(Film Studies)
University of California Press

(from book jacket)
Maureen Turim employs psychoanalytic and postmodern theory to explore the films' complex representations of women in Japanese society as well as the films' political engagement with the Japanese student movement, postwar anti-American sentiments, and critiques of Stalinist tendencies of the left. Turim pairs discussion of Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence with analysis of the psycho-sexuality of war depicted in Oshima's early adaptation of Oe Kenzaburo's The Catch.

The forces shaping Oshima's entry into the film industry are those of a generalized move toward independent production in the postwar period, with the studios scrambling to co-opt the independents, either by making at least some of their features look like independents, by buying independent companies, or by hiring the independent directors.

LoganReputations of the Tongue: On Poets and Poetry
William Logan
University Press of Florida

(from book jacket)
Logan's reviews have been noted for their violence, intelligence, candor, and humor. Many aroused tempers on first publication, leading one Pulitzer Prize winner to offer to run the critic over with a truck....

Logan, whose own poetry has been called brilliant, formidable, passionate, and difficult, is the latest in a long line of distinguished poet-critics. One hears in his criticism the care for language and meaning, the way a word clatters against another word or seduces it, that animates his poems.

A book of selected poems is a monument to middle age....Though a clever poet can obscure his old sins or alter his alliances (early Yeats, in our standard texts, is often late Yeats in sheep's clothing), revising with a liver-spotted hand the radical errors of youth, these monumental designs usually falter, like those of public statuary, between ingratiation and ingratitude. Most poets should rest on their laurels or read their old reviews.

TriayFleeing Castro: Operation Pedro Pan and the Cuban Children's Program
Victor Andres Triay
(History BA, '88)
University Press of Florida

(from book jacket)
A stirring account of the covert effort to smuggle Cuban children into the United States in the aftermath of Fidel Castro's rise to power, Fleeing Castro brings to light the humanitarian program designed to care for the children once they arrived and the hardship and suffering endured by the families who took part in Operation Pedro Pan.

The psychological impact on children sent out of Miami was significant. Clearly, they suffered more trauma than those who remained in South Florida. One former Matecumbe teacher called it a "double exile," since the children who had already experienced a wrenching separation were suddenly forced to adapt to a second new situation, this time in a completely alien culture.

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