<em>Moby Dick</em>-inspired card game by SMU professor and students exposes subversive humor in Melville’s classic novel

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Moby Dick-inspired card game by SMU professor and students exposes subversive humor in Melville’s classic novel

'DICK, the card game' box setThe upcoming movie In the Heart of the Sea promises to offer a potentially Oscar-worthy take on the whale hunt that inspired Henry Melville’s Moby Dick. For folks who still giggle at the title, there’s another way to enjoy that classic novel 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 ______.”

The player whose response card most tickles the judge’s fancy wins the round.

> Read more about DICK, the card game in the SMU Campus Weekly

What sets DICK apart from its play-on-words peers is that the response cards all contain quotes from Moby Dick. This is where it quickly becomes apparent that Moby Dick is, indeed, rife with toilet humor.

“Humor is something everyone can relate to – especially low-brow humor,” says co-developer Chelsea Grogan. “It makes Moby Dick accessible, and not this ivory tower we make it out to be.”

Potential response cards include: “An eruption of bears,” “Immaculate manliness” and “A sort of badger-haired old merman.”

Cassedy, Grogan and Jenna Peck came up with DICK while Grogan and Peck (recent SMU graduates) were students in one of Cassedy’s spring classes. They debuted the game at a conference of English professors from across Texas, where it was a hit. DICK, the card game is now selling in select bookstores around the country and online at whysoever.com.

— Kenny Ryan

December 8, 2015|Faculty in the News, News|

Calendar Highlights: Mustang Must-do’s for Dec. 4, 2015

Meadows Chamber Music Honors Concert: The chamber music program presents a dynamic, varied, passionate performance of jury-selected wind, brass, piano and string ensembles. Come hear these students showcasing the results of a semester of intense, peer-driven collaborative work. The event is on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m in Caruth Auditorium and is free and open to the public.

Is ForensicScreen shot 2015-12-04 at 1.51.39 PM Science an Oxymoron?: Forensic science evidence (e.g., fingerprints, DNA, microscopic hair, & bite marks) is widely believed to provide powerful proof of identity in both criminal and civil trials. But in recent years, forensic scientists in some areas have been taken to task for overclaiming, failing to test their assumptions, and neglecting to explain to judges and jurors how the risk of error affects the value of reported matches. Solutions will be explored by professor Jonathan Koehler, professor at Northwestern University School of Law, on Monday, Dec. 7 at 12:15 p.m. This event will be in 153 Heroy Halland is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided. R.S.V.P. at lawandstatistics.eventbrite.com or 214-768-3527.

Learn more about Jonathen Koehler

The Science of Listening to Music: On Monday, Dec. 7, Professor Elizabeth Margulis, director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, will examine the interface between science and music by using a series of the Lab’s recent experiments. The event will  begin at 4:30 p.m. in 2020 Owen Arts Center. For more information, click here.

Christmas and Crêpes: Come join the SMU Wesley Foundation at 3220 Daniel Avenue for crêpes, coffee, community, and Christmas music on Monday, Dec. 7 from 8 – 9:30 p.m.

Student Film Association Fall Film Festival: The Student Filmmakers’ Association will host their annual fall film festival showcasing the best recent short works created by SMU students. The festival is free and open to the public and will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Angelika Film Center in Mockingbird Station.

Paws and Take a Break: A team of registered therapy dogs from the A New Leash on Life group will visit the Taubman Atrium on Wednesday, Dec. 9, hosted by Hamon Arts Library. Research has shown that spending 5-24 minutes with a calm dog reduces blood pressure and the levels of stress hormones in the body. Come visit with a certified therapy dog from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.!

Therapy Dogs at Fondren

December 4, 2015|Calendar Highlights|

Central University Libraries’ 2015 Food for Fines program continues through Wednesday, Dec. 16

Stock photo of canned foodsSMU’s Central University Libraries (CUL) is once again giving students, faculty and staff members an opportunity to help the community – and possibly save some cash as well.

During the 2015 Food for Fines program, CUL will accept food donations for the North Texas Food Bank in return for waiving library fines.

For every donation of a can or package of nonperishable food, SMU faculty, staff members and students will receive a $2 credit toward fines for overdue materials from Fondren Library Center and the Hamon Arts Library.

Learn more about the North Texas Food Bank

To collect your credits, just bring food donations to either of these libraries through Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015. All SMU community members are welcome to participate – even those who have no library fines to cancel. Last year, the SMU community donated 374 cans, equaling $748 in waived library fines.

The Food for Fines program began in 2000 as a way for students to reduce or eliminate library fines while also giving back to the community. “The initiative encourages students to take a look around their dorm rooms to see if they do have any books that might well be overdue,” said Gillian McCombs, dean and director of Central University Libraries. “It is easy to forget these deadlines when you are powering away on a research paper during finals.”

Visit SMU’s Central University Libraries online

Waiver credits do not apply to lost book replacement charges or processing fees. Credit only applies to overdue book fines currently assessed; no future credit can be applied. Overdue fines cannot be waived if they have already been sent to the Bursar’s Office for collection.

“Every year we see students show enthusiasm for the program,” said Sam Cavanaugh, front desk receptionist at Fondren Library. “Last year we had several students bring in cans that amounted to more than their library fines. It’s great to see students giving back.”

— Emily Hooper

December 4, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News, Save the Date|

Helping students with stress during the holiday and exam season

SMU students in Fondren Science BuildingAs SMU enters both the holiday and exam seasons, Interim Provost Harold Stanley is asking that all University community members watch for signs of stress in themselves and in students.

Dr. Stanley asked that each faculty and staff member “be aware of signs of stress in yourself and those around you” in an e-mail message dated Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

“In particular, I ask that you be aware of signs of stress among students, especially first-year students as they are experiencing their first set of final exams,” he added.

He also reminded the University community that “[s]tudents who feel overwhelmed by the stress of the season and finals can visit the offices at the Memorial Health Center, currently located at Perkins Hall, just to the north of Perkins Chapel.”

In addition, Dr. Stanley urged faculty and staff members to visit SMU’s Caring Community Connections homepage for information on identifying and helping students who may be in crisis. The confidential system “will allow us to identify students about whom we are concerned so that we are able to provide them with appropriate information, support, and advice,” he wrote.

He encouraged all to become familiar with SMU’s Guide for Faculty and Staff for Recognizing and Responding to Students in Distress, available online.

Dr. Stanley also issued the University’s traditional call for faculty and staff members to “reach out to an individual who is separated from family and friends at this time and invite them to share some of your traditions and goodwill.”

Many SMU resources are available to help University community members stay healthy and safe during the holiday and exam season, including these:

November 24, 2015|News|

Double discounts at the SMU Bookstore during Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015

Faculty-Staff Appreciation Days graphic, SMU Bookstore, 2015Get a head start on holiday shopping at the SMU Bookstore during 2015 Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, present your faculty/staff SMU ID at the cash register to receive an extra 10% off all regular-price items – a 20% total discount – and an extra 50% off clearance items.

Some exclusions apply, including textbooks and tablets. The extra discount is also not applicable to other discounts and promotions. No discounts are available on gift cards. For more information, call the SMU Bookstore at 214-768-2435.

November 20, 2015|Calendar Highlights, News|
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