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On Trump’s Partisan, Inappropriate Speech at the BSA National Jamboree

Speaking as an Eagle Scout and former scouting enthusiast, and as a dad with a son in Cub Scouts, these responses to parts of Trump’s speech at the BSA National Jamboree are despicable. If Donald Trump is now a role model for some segment of Scout leaders today, then it’s no longer the organization that helped me, as a youth, find better moral paths. Read more…

Reflections on the La Civiltà Cattolica Essay

This La Civiltà Cattolica essay is an important denunciation and refutation of American-style Evangelical Catholicism. I have three thoughts, or reactions, that I’m sorting out: Read more…

No, Don’t Leave Historical Analogies to the Pundits

The main thrust of this piece, exemplified in its title, is just wrong. Irresponsible, in fact. It’s entirely counterproductive in relation to a great deal of new historical work that has radically increased awareness of recent history. If historians are not going to *be* pundits, they should engage them constantly.

The article’s title derives from this line (by Moshik Temkin): “…the most important thing historians can do is to leave the analogies to the pundits…”. The author adds a bit more nuance, saying that historians can and should provide complexity and a sense change over time when possible.

But trading in analogies and complexity need not be mutually exclusive. Read more…

A Side Effect of Austerity in K-12 Education: Stillborn Democracy

I love this story. These kinds of student interstate, urban-rural field trips and exchanges should be more common. This story should not feel novel.

I can’t help but think that oppressive austerity in our schools, not to mention the unrelenting focus on “basics” and testing, has fostered an environment that prevents understanding of the “other” via activities such as field trips.

A personal aside: Read more…

Intellectual Euphemism of the Day

Cognitively frugal: It’s like when you shop for groceries, but only buy stale ideas, in-stock notions, corporate-brand aphorisms, and thoughts sold near, or after, their expiration date.

Idea Stores & Their Goods: The Hierarchy

7-Eleven = Limited range, lacking in freshness, and thoughts sold after their expiration date. It’s the home for vices in thinking: all anti-intellectualism, all the time.

Safeway-Jewel = Proverbial newspapers and magazine content. All corporate, all the time. Lots of anti-intellectualism and pseudo-intellectualism. Coupons get you excerpts of bigger ideas, but you’ll have to pony up elsewhere the entire item.

Aldi’s = The blogs of intellectual magazines. You get high-quality and freshness at affordable prices, but are disappointed in the selection and in-stock items.

Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s = The home of high-quality magazines, journals, and books. Nice range, excellent freshness, and everything is in stock. But it’s all expensive. This is where you are teased with paywalls.

Higher Etiquette: The Case For, and Against, Fogeyism

As has been the case recently with Molly Worthen’s essays (especially these two, on lecturing and the great books), I have an opinion, or three, about this current piece. Before I continue, it’s nothing personal with Worthen. She just happens to write about things that pique, or have piqued, my interest—that trigger responses from me. And she has a platform that attracts a lot of attention.

In the current piece, regarding etiquette in communications between students and professors, Worthen argues in favor of formality. Read more…

Coeducation, Naked Swimming, and a Little History of Chicago Education

This DNAInfo piece looks back on the gender integration of one of Chicago’s math-and-science focused secondary schools, Lane Tech.

Here’s a key passage that helps explain the need for integration—beyond mere legal considerations: Read more…