Professor discusses his autobiography

first_imgSpeaking before a small but intimate crowd at Doheny Memorial Library, USC University Professor and Leo S. Bing Professor of English and American Literature Leo Braudy read excerpts from and discussed his new autobiographical work Trying to be Cool: Growing Up in the 1950s.Reflection · Professor of English and American Literature Leo Braudy speaks about his book Trying to be Cool: Growing up in the 1950s. – Austin Vogel | Daily TrojanThe event was sponsored by the Friends of USC Libraries. Though few students attended, it was an opportunity for many to reminisce on the past.“Having grown up in the ’50s there’s a bit of nostalgia,” Paul Kovich, director of undergraduate student services for the USC Department of Political Science, said, “Leo Braudy has a great reputation as an author and a scholar.”After an introduction from Dean of the USC Libraries Catherine Quinlan, Braudy spoke about the genesis of the book and his attempt to reconcile his own memories with scholarly research.“[The challenge] was to combine my personal experience with my intellectual experience and have them resonate with each other,” Braudy said.Braudy said he wanted to maintain the sense of naivete that comes with growing up, while also looking back on the past. He said he first attempted to alternate historical and anecdotal chapters but abandoned that after writing the first few. Instead, he said the book has a “musical structure” with song lyrics serving as titles for all the chapters.Much of Braudy’s talk dealt with music and the changing dynamics of the music in the 1950s. He spoke about the advent of rock ‘n’ roll and how the radio replaced group singing.“My mom and dad and their friends, when they were on the bus coming back from [a trip], would sing for hours,” Braudy said. “[That was replaced] by the radio and now the radio with the iPod and headphones.”He commented on how music in the 1950s was very “regional and ethnic,” noting how songs were often released in certain cities and when he would travel and hear a song, his friends from home wouldn’t have heard it.Braudy also spoke about the huge social role that dancing played during the ’50s, especially the popular dance “The Bug,” which he said was the culturally accepted way to let loose. He fondly recalled memories of dancing with his friends at various venues around his hometown of Philadelphia.“Of all the things, the music, the horror movies, the most memorable thing is dancing, the desire to dance and the feeling that dancing gave you,” he said.Braudy mentioned how the desire to “be cool” drove teens to try and distinguish themselves in whatever way possible, noting that certain groups even had their own kind of shoes. Toward the end of his remarks, Braudy commented on the teenagers of today and noted the contrast between the “rebel without a cause” teenagers of his time and the overscheduled teens of today.“The open-ended phrase, ‘Go out and play,’ is no longer heard,” he said.For students, it was a chance to gain a new perspective on history.“It was exciting and engaging because we all think of the ’50s as old, conservative, sort of the ‘Golden Age,’” said Erica Christianson, a senior majoring in political science. “To hear it told by someone who experienced it made it seem as new and exciting as what we’re going through today.” Follow Anshuman on Twitter @AnshuSiripurapulast_img read more

County camogie stars host event at the Ragg.

first_imgThey recently competed in the Munster final and their All Ireland series campaign begins on June 27th against Derry.The senior team will take younger players this evening for a training session and the invite is extended to all supporters across the Premier county to come along and meet the players.Senior team manager Brian Boyle says it promises to be a great evening with an open invitation to any Camogie players in the county.last_img