I’m sitting on about a dozen really swank works in progress from my fellow Clinton School attendees. Their stuff is pretty flash – I feel a little trite and malnourished next to them. Because I kind of miss the old “look at the titles of talks at MLA” articles from the heyday of the culture wars, I tried to formulate a scale of Serious Business for the papers, but in the end I think two groups are in evidence: Group 1 (everyone less Christian) and Group 2 (Christian).

It’s not my intent to be assholish – I’m not kidding when I say that I come across as a bit callow and trifling in comparison, but fish gotta swim – when I share the list of paper titles. Since it’s my virtual house, my title gets to be the punchline.

The Bagel Bakers’ Unions of New York City: From Lower East Side Jewish Immigrants to Unionized Journeymen

Diabolical Enterprises and Abominable Superstitions: Islam and the Conceptualization of Finance in Early American Literature

Dollar to Dimes: Managing disparity and uncertainty at the dollar store

An Eastern European Traveler to Paradise. Los Angeles in Petru Comarnescu’s American Travelogue from 1934.

Globalizing American Studies

“‘El Hombre Imperial’: Tense Framings of the Orientalist Tension in the Naked Lunch Writings.”

New Frontiers: US Foreign Policy and the North-South Divide in the Congo Crisis, 1960-1963

The Tenacious Grip of Interpellation and Aesthetic Experience in American Studies

US International Broadcasting Media to Iran

Values of the Belgrade Regime

My offering? Burt Reynolds, Hollywood’s Southern Strategy

I would pack a set of clown shoes to live up/down to my paper, but it’s hard enough to find a pair of proper shoes in my size.