April 18, 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
Ulysses
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 […]
May 17, 2021
The COVID Commencement
A year ago, when college commencements were rendered impossible by the pandemic lockdown and we all switched to virtual ceremonies or tributes, we imagined we might be able to reschedule an in-person event by December 2020 at the latest. Instead, we were just part of the way into a full year of running our institutions with full COVID mitigations: masking, distancing, hybrid teaching, and frequent testing, isolation and quarantine.