Here are some things I can do without in 2015.
5. Giving history and social science a bad reputation. The pseudo-science and pseudo-history masquerading as insightful knowledge on cable television. I love a good story and a colorful character as much as the next person, but Ancient Aliens, Lost History, and just about every program on The History Channel, TLC, and even the Smithsonian Channel. Anything that depicts families that are too short, too many kids, too many wives, or talks with too much of an accent gets honorable mention as bad social science. We will probably cancel cable again after tonight's Buckeye game.
4. Piles of books. I love books so much. I like reading them, re-reading some of them, marking them up, writing thoughts in the margins, telling others about them, exploring them on shelves all lined up in rows like Powell's Books in Portland, OR (photo below). I was there in February 2014, and it was being in my little corner of heaven. But, my house and office are not bookstores, and I'm also surrounded by books. I need a way to make books accessible without allowing them to pile up around me. I weeded out over 220 books this summer. I think I'll do another book reduction in January. (MVNU students, pay attention.)
3. 23 Easy Ways to Waste Time with Listicles. Buzzfeed is the millennial's version of the National Enquirer. It is also crazy addictive. Just yesterday three hours were lost by roaming page after page of lists about nothing really important. Right now, these wonders of banal insight are headlining Buzzfeed: 50 Old Things You Still Really Care About, 127 Movies and TV Shows To Be Really Excited About in 2015, We Trained a Robot to Write Like Tom Friedman. Hey, get back here. Skip the listicles this coming year, and save three hours a day.
2. Films that last more than two hours. Come on, Hollywood directors. In the last six weeks, I've seen Interstellar, Broken, The Hobbit, and Mockingjay in the theater: Not a single one of these films is less than two hours. I'm getting older and the bladder is getting smaller. To my credit, I made it through the last two films (Mockingjay yesterday, The Hobbit today) without a single trip to the restroom. I needed to go on a liquid fast prior to going to make it, though.
1. Slacking off on writing things down. I have a lot to say but I do not always take the time to get it on paper (or the screen). Most of my thinking is conveyed in the classroom or in casual conversation. This year I have some writing goals. I have at least three books (one started, one outlined, one to dream about) and at least three articles in the queue. Plus, I've got the blog that I want to use as space to get my first draft thoughts down and also out there.