Yesterday I read this piece in the New York Times by Molly Worthen. Then I made the mistake of reading the comments thread, which included a fair amount of vitriol against supposedly lazy and irresponsible college teachers. Overall the comments were a mixed bag of support and critique—understandably, since questions about the purposes and standards … Continue reading “Assessment”: Turning the Precious Public Resource of a University Into a Second-Rate High School
Dear Senator Corker, Senator Alexander, and Representative Duncan, Commonly I have heard people who are less pessimistic than I am about self-correcting capacities in the US political system valorize a turning point in the battle against McCarthyism. In 1954 Joseph Welch famously responded to Senator Joseph McCarthy: "Have you no sense of decency, sir? At … Continue reading Against the Cruelty, Hypocrisy, and Irresponsibility of Trump’s Budget: An Open Letter
When the Mafia-backed entrepreneur and con man Donald Trump captured a majority of electoral college votes—although, of course, not the majority of actual votes, and that is before we inquire how the count may have been affected by “abnormal” Russian propaganda, “normal” Fox propaganda (overlapping with the Russian part), tampering with voting machines in swing … Continue reading “Resisting,” Talking with Republicans, and Remembering the Mandate of the 2018 Election—All at the Same Time!
From the outset, I was far from clear about the future of this blogging experiment. It truly was experimental, albeit with a few associated “what if” ruminations: What if I liked having a “first draft” outlet for thinking out loud about my projects? What if, little by little, I could spoon out links to my … Continue reading Should This Blog Live? Where Do We Go From Here?
Starting next January, and continuing through Spring 2018, I will be at the University of Alberta in Edmonton as a Fulbright Research Chair in Arts and Humanities! No doubt I will have more to say about the adventure here. A couple of weeks ago I had a first taste when I traveled to Ottawa for … Continue reading Heading for the “True North Strong and Free”
Recently I visited a UT class session that was discussing Judith Butler. This provoked the perennial complaints about Butler’s prose—leading toward the perennial observation that she once won an award for the worst written sentence of the year. I actually agree that prose by Butler—not to speak of her less insightful imitators and competitors who … Continue reading “Resolved: Academic Jargon Is Bad.” Please Discuss
When I began my previous post, I imagined a short and sweet introduction to set up a lightly edited version of notes that I prepared for the student reporter whom I mentioned. Ironically—or is a better word “symptomatically? “pathetically?”—by the time I finished this introduction, it was already longish as an entire post, even though … Continue reading True and Useful Generalizations About U.S. Religion in 1000 Words or Less