Archive for the 'fluff' Category
Every time I visit the Huntington Library and Gardens–which has always been in May and June–the beautiful show of blossoms continues into the streets of Pasadena. Lucky me!
At a conference this weekend, actually talking to people F2F rather than on blogs and over e-mail. Remarkable! (I need to get out of town more often.)
That’s better. Too much negative energy in that last post and the accompanying image. Sadly, it looks like we’ll miss the Transit of Venus out here on the Front Range, as it’s entirely overcast. (Imagine your own frowny-face here.) Neat discovery: old X-ray films are really handy for observing things like solar eclipses and Transits of Venus, although who knows what technology they’ll have on hand for the 2117 viewings! Continue Reading »
Courtesy of blog reader JM, we hear that Anna Platypus, Daniel Striped Tiger, and Prince Tuesday are debating whether they want to learn via a fabulous new educational technology, The Learning Machine, or whether they want to have teachers and field trips. “Lady Elaine was telling people that all they needed to learn anything” is the Learning Machine! Henrietta Pussycat is hoping for “Meow Meow Meow Field Trip Meow?” Scroll up to about 15:15 to the Neighborhood of Make Believe to see what they decide:
They must attend some kind of Quaker school or a Montessori, because the students are permitted such a large role in pedagogical decisions. (Then again, it is the Neighborhood School of Make Believe!) Continue Reading »
In “Why the Right Hates English,” Stephen J. Mexal analyzes why right-wingers have targeted college English classes and professors since at least William F. Buckley’s God and Man at Yale, when by his lights the curriculum remains focused on American and British literature in the main, and on uncontroversial authors to boot:
Every English literature class I have ever taken, taught, or observed has spent the vast majority of its time on exactly what all these writers claim is missing: the study of literature. In my experience, English classes do pretty much what they’ve always done. Students read literature closely, and then talk about how it works and what it means. The courses I teach in American literature today contain pretty much the same authors you would have expected 20 or 30 years ago: Twain, Emerson, Dickinson, Douglass, Melville, Wharton, and so on. Of course, people teach some newer authors, too (Toni Morrison and Don DeLillo tend to show up often), and some authors are not taught quite as frequently (D.H. Lawrence, for instance), but English departments are not eternal guardians of a frozen literary heritage. They change a little over time, sure, but they still do what you’d expect.
For that matter, [Andrew] Breitbart’s English departments did pretty much what you’d expect, too. He had to take two semesters of American literature at Tulane University, and as Mark Howard and Alexander Zaitchik have reported, students in those courses were assigned to read Emerson, Thoreau, Twain, Hawthorne, Stowe, and so on. Not much “cultural Marxist theory,” in other words.
What do all of the bolded names have in common, friends? They’re all liberals! Continue Reading »
A colleague of mine recently gave a talk at my undergraduate college. While we caught up over a cup of coffee, he asked about my experiences there, as he’s interested in sending his daughter to a college or university like that. As I told him stories about the safety and liberty I felt there–and have felt nowhere else before Freshman convocation or since graduation–it occured to me that a surprising number of my fondest memories involved semi-public nudity. Most of the naked memories were streaking up and down Senior Row or skinny-dipping in a fountain after dark when few people were around to witness us, and it was always a group endeavor–sometimes all-women, sometimes a coed group.
Is it just me, or do some of you have similar stories and memories? What do you think is behind the compulsion of students to experience a college campus in Eve’s Livery? Continue Reading »
Busy day–we’re still teaching classes here, with our dogforsaken 16-week semesters. But then, as Dr. Crazy noted yesterday, they end. (Finally!) And then, we begin all over again.
Unlike Tenured Radical, I’m not in Milwaukee right now, but l’esprit de l’Historiann lives there, apparently! A correspondent writes that at an Organization of American Historians panel yesterday on the Revolution and its public memory:
Your name came up by Fitz Brundage, the panel’s chair: your memorable line begging historians to stop writing hagiographic books about the founding fathers. Big, appreciative laugh in the room.
I don’t know if the crowd (or Brundage) was laughing at me or with me, but I don’t really care. (There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?) I think this is the post she means:
Here’s a suggestion, boys: just stop writing about the so-called “Founding Fathers!”Stop it! Stop! Go find something new, interesting, and utterly undiscovered in the archives, for a change!
But then, there have been so many posts to this effect on this blog that it’s difficult to pick just one! Continue Reading »