Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Well, if they're only posing as Catholic colleges, they don't deserve to regarded as such.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
It is a refreshing gathering of concentration, informed throughout by the true spirit of haiku. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I will only cite two that I especially liked:
The life of the mind
will be the death
of us all
Pinching the bridge
of my glasses
for cleaning --
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Out of the dark we came, into the dark we go. Like a storm-driven bird at night we fly out of the Nowhere; for a moment our wings are seen in the light of the fire, and, lo! we are gone again into the Nowhere.- H. Rider Haggard, born on this date in 1856
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Blond had a deeper critique too. Putnam was insisting that it's being part of a community of faith that matters, regardless of the nature of the faith that community represents. But mightn't the reason why an American Buddhist finds they have a lot in common with an American Christian, say, be not because they are both religious, but because they areboth American. In other words, Blond continued, to be American is, in a lower case sense, to be Christian - to be ethically shaped by the religion that predominantly informed the founding of America, and has arguably championed the virtues of equality, social concern and participation more than any other. Putnam replied that research in non-Christian cultures would have to be done to determine the case.
I knew Hitchens and Dawkins had taken on Islam, but hadn't realize Harris and Dennett had. Good to know they're equal opportunity critics.
My own problem with Karen Armstrong is that, too often, I find her tendentious.
What’s the story with Madame Bovary?
There’s no question that it’s one of the most celebrated novels out there - and yet, having finished it a few nights ago, I found myself wondering: really, that’s it?
All right, there’s a universe embedded in the detail; and all right, that detail amounts to portraiture of the literary variety. But come on: what is it about Madame Bovary that we are supposed to be attracted to? And another thing: where’s the sexuality? I mean, the real sexuality...
I’ve said this to Frank before, but I have serious trouble connecting with that perfected element of nineteenth century novels. Because for all the precision packed into Flaubert’s book (and others like it), there’s a curious lack of detail when it comes to the important things - like Madame Bovary’s infidelity. I mean: just because she runs her fingers against the cuff of her lover’s coat doesn’t mean that the sex was good. And if it does, well, I missed the hints, the moans.
Come on, Gustave: Madame’s driven to the ultimate act of self-destruction, and yet we’re never given access to her bedroom - and her behavior when she’s in there.
Don’t get me wrong, there were parts of this book that I greatly enjoyed (especially Flaubert’s treatment of rural France), but I found it a frustration: if there is going to be sex and sexuality there need to be ideas hovering around them. And this is where Flaubert, in the end, had me confused: what drives - I mean, what really drives - Madame Bovary toward adultery? And what is the meaning of the sex-act to which she ultimately commits herself?
Monday, June 20, 2011
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I think Brecht was a genuinely bad man-- I think he treated women horrendously -- and I don't especially like his plays.
... Changed, but still Joycean at its core.
... Who's afraid of James Joyce? A guide to reading 'Ulysses'.
... Hero of Joyce's gem gets his 100-year due.
Friday, June 17, 2011
Graves is wrong about Eisenhower, however, who in his early days in the Army worked as an editor.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Whipping a person is cruel. It is an infliction of pain. If I saw someone flogging somebody, I'd rip the whip out of his hand and beat the shit out of him. But that's just me. (Oh, and if you think that's just bluster, well, you're wrong, because you don't know me.)
... Bloomsday: How to Celebrate James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
If you are a writer you locate yourself behind a wall of silence and no matter what you are doing, driving a car or walking or doing housework you can still be writing, because you have that space.- Joyce Carol Oates, born on this date in 1952
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Try this thought on for size: Reason serves more than one purpose, can be used correctly or incorrectly, even misused. Ever notice you can do a lot of different things with your hands. Well, you can do a lot of different things with reason, too, some useful, some not.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
As a history teacher, I’ve always found it interesting to discuss with high schoolers the complicated idea of ‘causation’ (that is, what caused, what contributed to, past events).
What’s striking about conversations involving this topic is the extent to which students are willing (often through no fault of their own) to attribute events to ideologies - as if Nazism itself were responsible for the Holocaust.
Regarding Nazism (and Fascism, too), I stress that, without Nazis, Nazism (as an ideology) would have been unable to do, well, to do anything.
This, I think, is key: that students confront the idea that systems of belief are not, in and of themselves, capable of destruction. Ideology becomes dangerous - in a historical sense - when individuals activate their core tenets.
At the high school level, conversations involving causation can lead in other directions as well. Most rewarding, I think, are those which involve the idea of ‘attribution.’
Continuing for a moment with the example of the Second World War: students must address in their thinking the notion that Germany (with a capital ‘G’) was not in itself responsible for the Holocaust.
True, that country initiated the events which conspired against Europe's Jews, but again, a nation cannot act without individuals. To attribute to Germany (as many text books do) blame for the Holocaust seems, therefore, as irresponsible as attributing that same umbrella of blame to Nazism.
After discussions involving ideology and attribution, students, I find, are more effectively positioned to handle the crux of the issue involving causation - that is, that individuals, and individual action, trigger historical events. To get at the Holocaust, students need to wrestle with documents which reflect the mindset, the priorities, of the German people.
While it can be an awkward process for students - to say nothing of nations - to come to terms with who, exactly, ‘became’ a Nazi, or a Fascist, or a Collaborator (in France), these discussions are important - vital, even - in our ability to accurately recreate the past in American classrooms today.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
See also: I enter the Do Some Damage "Noir at the Beach House" challenge!
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
But does it let you see fear in a handful of dust?
But is opposition to academic knowledge necessarily anti-intellectual? It is ahardly the only approach to knowledge and it may well not be the best. Professors of philosophy are not necessarily philosophers.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
The problem, of course, as Cynthia indicates, is that people who say "I take full responsibility" simply have no idea what responsibility is.
In a sense, maybe.