February 6, 2023
The Year of Book Banning
This week, Salman Rushdie’s latest novel, Victory City, hits the shelves. This is a significant occasion for celebration because Rushdie, who has been one of the world’s strongest advocates for free expression and against censorship, has not been silenced in spite of the brutal attack upon him last August. It has been 34 years since […]
April 17, 2022
Enough with blaming the teachers!
Playwright David Mamet, perhaps promoting the revival of his “American Buffalo” on Broadway, spoke up in favor of Florida’s law prohibiting early grade discussion of gender identity by arguing, “If there’s no community control of the schools, what we have is kids being not only indoctrinated but groomed . . . by people who are […]
January 31, 2022
As we come up on 2/2/22, I pay tribute to the centennial of the publication of James Joyce’s Ulysses. February 2 was Joyce’s birthday, and he was intent on having the book printed on that birthday (his fortieth). 2/2/22 has swung around again–this time 2022 instead of 1922. The book first appeared serially in The […]
November 19, 2021
The Educational Starting Line
Every now and then, you encounter a graphic that powerfully illustrates a major and complex idea. This ominous rainbow chart, courtesy of the educator Jon Boeckenstedt, is, for me, one such visual. The chart shows the family income distribution of students by ACT score. The ACT is a general college admission “aptitude” test, similar to […]
October 25, 2021
That time of year
It’s funny the particular things we remember and hold on to from our college classes. This time of year, when autumn leaves begin to fall, I always recall a day early in my Dante class in grad school. The brilliant professor, John Freccero, called our attention to a cartoon from The New Yorker. In it, […]
July 9, 2021
American Freedom
I celebrated this Independence Day watching the film of Lin Manuel Miranda’s musical, In the Heights—an infectious and joyful love letter to Washington Heights, Nueva York, and the U.S.A. conceived of as a multicultural nation built of waves of immigrants bringing not just dreams and determination but rich culture (music, food, language, customs). In the […]