First, a thank you to John Scalzi for hosting the symposium on the semiotics of hair bands. If only it had been held a day earlier, I could've used it in my class when we discussed the different types of heavy metal. I particularly like the reaction against short hair of punk music theory.
Second, today we wrapped up the 90's and 00's in class, including a look at Britney Spears' "...Baby One More Time". All of my students had grown up with this song, since it came out when they were in 4th or 5th grade. They had heard it hundreds or thousands of times. Yet none of them knew that it was about boyfriend-on-girlfriend abuse. Once I pointed it out, they could all hear the references in the lyrics. "How was I supposed to know that something wasn't right... Give me a sign/Hit me baby one more time." They still couldn't hear the edge in her voice created by the electronic manipulation and parallel chords in the backing vocals, showing her conflicted tension at wanting to please her abusive boyfriend. How about you?
Third, a question on blogging etiquette: I received an offer to list my blog on this other person's blogroll in exchange for listing his blog on my blogroll. While that was normal behavior a few years ago at the start of blogging, I have the slight suspicion that it isn't as kosher today. Blogrolls can be regarded as indicating different things. It could be a complete list of blogs the blogger reads regularly. It could be a list of the most important blogs on that topic. It could be a comprehensive list of all blogs on that topic. Or it could be a circular community of compensatory linking blogs. For social blogs, I can see the appropriateness of the last type, but for more professional, topic-oriented, or academic blogs, I think one of the first three types is better. I've been striving for a comprehensive list, though I admit I have slacked on adding new blogs recently or checking the list for dead links. What do you see as appropriate blogrolling behavior?