Author Archives: Steve
A new test post.
Thinking About Lines of History
Last year I jumped on the chance to preorder Ron Chernow’s book on U.S. Grant. The Amazing R and I had just come back from a visit to Antietam. When the biography came via mail, I ate it up. I should write a review but I’m too busy following up on the text and thinking about it.
This has lead to a research focus on American reconstruction and its legacy on the now. This led toÂ Black No MoreÂ then to W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction in America,Â which I’m about halfway through. This has led to Foner which I’m now starting or plan to start after Du Bois’ amazing work.
This has also led back to Coates on reparationsÂ and why these arguments matter. There is so much to read.
The Amazing R is key to all this line of research.
The learning proceeds.
There’s more also:
Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick
Theodor Dreiser’s, The Financier
Stephen Coss’sÂ The Fever of 1721
An Odd Test Post
I’m taking students through the wordpress back end. It’s fun. They like it. At least those students who are awake.
On Taking Law Enforcement Away
This tweet by the so-called president makes very little sense:
The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!
â€” Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 4, 2017
“So-called judge” and “which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country” are more than just inappropriate. And so we have the “so-called” president and the “so-called” president who “takes law-enforcement away from the country.”
I’m pretty sure that there’s adequate law left over.
When an Oxymoron Becomes Du Jour
Studying figures of speech can be fun. The new meme these days is “fake news.”
This is, of course, an oxymoron.
On “The text with words”
From The Journey to the West. The Buddhist Patriarch says:
However, those creatures in your Land of the East are so foolish and unenlightened that I have no choice but to impart to you now the text with words.
This is a significant section of the novel, which redefines a previous judgement, switching “dumb” for “foolish” and “blind” for “unenlightened” and “wordless texts” for “text with words.”
The Purpose of Sleep
On the Purpose of Sleep:
Some have argued that itâ€™s a way to save energy. Others have suggested that slumber provides an opportunity to clear away the brainâ€™s cellular waste. Still others have proposed that sleep simply forces animals to lie still, letting them hide from predators.
How to Write about Being Incorrect
I’m somewhat puzzled by this use of language by David Graham at The Atlantic regarding the whole Frederick Douglass imbroglio. He writes:
In a way, Trump isnâ€™t totally wrong about Douglass â€œgetting recognized more and more,â€ though one is left to scratch oneâ€™s head at where precisely he noticed that.
First we have the hedge phrasing “In a way,” which has become a prepositionalÂ tic. I wonder what “way” is meant here. If the writer writes “In a way,” we would expect a description or definition of “the way.” In what “way,” for example, is the president “right”? And then we have the grammatical couple of “isn’t totally wrong,” which would suggest that the lego bricks in use here are both stable and unstable. We might write: “almost right”?
I would suggest that Conor FriedersdorfÂ is more accurate in just writing the plain English of this example:
The mix of Trumpâ€™s incompetence and Bannonâ€™s casual bellicosity endangers America.
A College from Scratch
This is an interesting project, building a college from the ground up.
Christine Ortiz is taking a leave from her prestigious post as a professor and dean at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to start a radical, new nonprofit university that she says will have no majors, no lectures, and no classrooms.