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Ikea Masculinities and Handyman Competencies

2 Dec

The other day I joined the growing ranks of men who have allowed IKEA into our homes to remodel our bedrooms and dismantle our masculine self-concepts. Real men hate IKEA, I hear. I suppose it’s fortunate I’ve always fallen short at being a real man. It’s not that I don’t fall prey to wanting to be one. It’s not that I don’t understand this hostility to IKEA, particularly their instruction manuals.

Ikea manual 1

Who exactly do they think they’re speaking to, anyway? That shapeless line-drawn androgyne there with pencil in ear and placid helper certainly isn’t me! And how dare they strike an oversized X through my manly need to build it alone. (It’s not surprising that I assumed the androgyne bent over struggling alone was male, while the star-headed helper was his female counterpart.) And how dare they make it near impossible to construct anything more complex than the BILLY bookshelf without following their step-by-step procedures, in order, and to the letter. Everyone knows instructions are for losers. Any handyman worth his salt can look at the parts and figure it out instinctively; he’ll finish the job and leave the site with two nuts and a screw to spare, always. Their quasi-opaque pictographs don’t look like me and don’t speak to me: they must be talking to somebody else… Continue reading

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Introductions: Thoughts on accountable scholarship

27 Nov


Hi, pull up a seat and join me. You know those pictures of ancient buildings, where all you see are the foundations? Much like this one, where there is a foundation, there is always opportunity to create something new. That is what my first two posts are about. But since I’m big on understanding context and this is my first post, let me tell you a bit about who I am and where all this comes from.

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