Meet the SMU professor and students behind the irreverent ‘Moby-Dick’ inspired card game ‘Dick’


Originally Posted: November 24, 2015

Admit it: When reading or discussing the classic novel Moby-Dick in high school or college, your mind went places. Maybe you vocalized the inappropriate jokes you were thinking of, getting an easy chuckle from your nearby friends. Or maybe you kept your thoughts to yourself, thinking that surely such lowbrow humor was not good enough for literature as great as this.

But Tim Cassedy, an English professor at SMU, thinks it’s OK to laugh at Moby-Dick. In fact, he thinks that’s the intent of the name.

“I genuinely believe that on some level there is a dick joke in the title of the book — hidden in plain sight,” Cassedy told me via e-mail. “I think the book frequently plays around with that meaning of ‘dick.’ Sperm whales really are named that because they have a white, waxy substance in their head that early mariners mistook for semen. They called that substance ‘spermaceti’ (which means whale sperm) or just ‘sperm.’ (It turns out to make excellent candles.) The book is full of moments where the whale meaning of sperm starts to blur over into the reproductive meaning — sometimes just to play with words, sometimes for comic effect, and sometimes as part of straining to articulate ideas that are difficult to put into words. Relevant chapters include 81, 94, and 95. The entirety of chapter 95 is about making a smock out of the foreskin removed from a sperm whale’s 6-foot-long penis. So.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, comments on article: Hillary Clinton Distances Herself From Obama on ISIS


Originally Posted: November 24, 2015

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is taking a different stance than President Obama on issues such as national security and terrorism, even if that means offending members of her own party, The Hill reports.

In an effort to combat ISIS, the Islamic terrorist group, Clinton said in a speech last week that the United States needs to “break the group’s momentum and then its back.”

The former secretary of state added that no-fly zones should be imposed over parts of Syria — a move that the Obama administration has refused to take.

Just one day ahead of the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, President Obama said that ISIS was “contained,” and has since received a vast amount of criticism.

In response, Clinton has not only drawn a sharper wedge in between herself and the president, but declared that ISIS “cannot be contained, it must be defeated.” READ MORE

English professor’s Moby-Dick inspired card game makes classic novel accessible in most unlikely of ways

SMU News

Originally Posted: November 23, 2015

The upcoming movie, The Heart of the Sea, promises to offer a classy, high-brow and potentially Oscar-worthy take on the whale hunt that inspired Henry Melville’s classic novel, Moby Dick. For folks who still giggle at the title there’s another way to enjoy Melville’s classic this winter: DICK, the card game, from the mind of SMU English Professor Tim Cassedy.

“Moby Dick is really, really funny,” Cassedy says. “You can downplay the irreverence and read the book as a very earnest story about American ruggedness and Ahab’s will and vengeance, and it is those things. But if you go into it knowing Melville is often kidding, it reads completely differently.”

DICK, the card game, exposes that humor.

In a concept familiar to anyone who’s played Apples to Apples or Cards Against Humanity, DICK is a humorous game of “complete the sentence.” Each turn, one player serves as a judge and asks their fellow players to submit cards that complete the sentence on one of the prompt cards, which contain phrases such as:

“Oh yeah? Well I graduated from the University of _______!” or, “Ted Cruz caused a stir today when he called a press conference to denounce ______.” READ MORE

Lucas Kirkpatrick, Sociology, discusses his new book “Reinventing Detroit: The Politics of Possibility”

Michigan Daily

Originally Posted: November 18, 2015

Along with a panel of local professionals and professors, Lucas Kirkpatrick, an assistant sociology professor at Southern Methodist University, discussed the launch of his new book “Reinventing Detroit: The Politics of Possibility” on Tuesday.

Edited by Kirkpatrick and Michael Peter Smith, a professor of community studies at University of California, Davis, the book comprises chapters written by various experts in urban policy, including professors from the University. The compilation aims to discuss the challenges Detroit faces and the methods currently being employed to overcome them.

In July 2013, Detroit declared bankruptcy and was placed under the control of an emergency manager. In December 2014, the city announced its exit from bankruptcy and control of the city was fully returned to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. The city has also struggled to cope with blight, crime, political corruption and a job loss. READ MORE

Renee McDonald, Psychology, How Childhood Domestic Violence Impacts Us… Young and Old

Huffington Post

Originally Posted: November 17, 2015

The following is an excerpt from a Huffington Post article titled How Childhood Domestic Violence Impacts Us… Young and Old. READ MORE

……..”They don’t often connect the dots…”

This young woman is not alone. Dr. Renee McDonald, a leading researcher at Southern Methodist University said, “They often cannot connect the dots between what they experienced in their childhood homes and the challenges they face today.” Dr. McDonald was specifically talking about Childhood Domestic Violence. READ MORE

Beyond The Two Cultures: a lecture on data and unity

SMU Daily Campus

Originally Posted: November 19, 2015

Tucked away in one of the many lecture rooms inside Heroy Hall, full of professors but lacking in students, was a lecture presented by acclaimed scientist Roger Malina. The lecture was hosted by the Dedman College Interdisciplinary Institute on Nov. 18 at 4:30 p.m. and centered on the connection between art and science.

Malina, a physicist, astronomer and executive editor of the Leonardo publications at MIT Press, focuses on finding connections between the natural sciences and the arts, design, and humanities. He also has dual appointments as a professor of arts and technology and as a professor of physics at UT Dallas.

The lecture began with this question: Why are human beings so badly designed to understand nature and the universe? In other words, how can we work together to understand each other and the world we live in?

Such questions set the tone for the rest of the presentation, which focused on merging the world of the arts with the world of science. READ MORE

Daniel Millimet, Economics, 2015’s Best & Worst Texas Cities for Finding a Job


Originally Posted: November 2015

The following is an excerpt from WalletHub’s article 2015’s Best & Worst Texas Cities for Finding a Job, where Professor Daniel Milliment from the Department of Economics was interviewed as an expert. READ MORE

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Joan of Arc docudrama features Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams and Bonnie Wheeler

The Gospel Herald

Originally Posted: November 18, 2015

Joan of Arc, a groundbreaking docudrama featuring the true story of the young heroine-turned-saint who led the French army to victory over the British during the Hundred Years’ War, will premiere this Thanksgiving holiday on BUYtv.

The thrilling new docudrama was written and directed by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Russell Holt and shares the incredible story of how the deep faith of a humble farm girl enabled her to lead her country to victory, making her one of the most revered Christian figures in all of history. ”

Joan of Arc tells the tale of a simple girl whose steadfast commitment to her personal beliefs and religious faith led her to become a martyr, a military leader and the patron Saint of France by the age of 19,” reads the film’s press release. “Her profound dedication to her faith coupled with her ability to establish strong principles at a young age guided her, France and eventually the United States, to greatness.”

Filmed in France, the docudrama is told in Joan’s own words and uses actual 15th century records of her trial for heresy. In addition, Ryan Little, the award-winning director of photography, brings to life historically accurate dramatic re-enactments of events and battles in their actual locations throughout France. ”

While the story of Joan of Arc has been presented on-screen before and most often told through the lens of the battlefield, our film is told in Joan’s own words from a perspective of faith,” said Derek Marquis, managing director of BYUtv. ”

Although we depict elaborate battle scenes and military strategy, we present a unique mixture of her history and faith, interspersing expert commentary, dramatic re-enactments and angelic visitations. By examining in-depth the short, yet focused life of Joan – a young farm girl who was chosen by God to crown a King and save a nation – our program provides viewers a detailed explanation as to why her tale resonates with people of all faiths.”

The docudrama will also feature a number of renowned historians and religious leaders, including Helen R. Castor Ph.D., Bye-Fellow, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Author of Joan of Arc: A History, Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams Ph.D., Professor and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor Medieval Europe, Southern Methodist University, Daniel Hobbins Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Notre Dame University, Bonnie Wheeler Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of Medieval Studies, Southern Methodist University and Director, International Joan of Arc Society, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Gérald R. Caussé, Presiding Bishop, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This groundbreaking, family-friendly docudrama will premiere on Nov. 26th on BYUtv at 6pm MT/8pm ET, followed by a 10-minute behind-the-scenes special and will be rebroadcast throughout the 2015 Holiday Season.

Although she died many years ago, Joan of Arc continues to be an inspirational role model today for people of all ages, as her story is one of undying faith, perseverance, honor and courage.

“We know more about Joan of Arc than most medieval historic figures due to the detailed transcripts from her trial,” said Mr. Holt. “Joan of Arc played a fundamental role in shaping world history by leading the French army to victory against the English forces. The French Navy would later play an indispensable role in United States’ Revolutionary War. Without Joan of Arc’s heroic and divine mission, one could argue the nation of France and the Unites States would not exist as they do today.” READ MORE

Listen: Joshua Rovner, Tower Center, On the Paris attacks


Originally Posted: November 16, 2015

SMU’s Joshua Rovner, the John Goodwin Tower Distinguished Chair in International Politics & National Security Policy, talked with KLIF radio’s Amy Chodroff and Dave Williams, about the terrorists’ attacks in Paris last Friday and SMU students who are studying there. LISTEN