...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Republicans in the current moment

"For eight years, the notion of a gangster government using its power to punish its enemies existed as a lurid persecution fantasy on the right. Now it is being touted as a governing blueprint."


The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Tracy [Katherine Hepburn]: Snob.
Mike [Jimmy Stewart]: What do ya mean, snob?
Tracy:                                  You're the worst kind there is. 
                                                       An intellectual snob. You made 
                                                       up your mind awfully young, 
                                                       it seems to me.
Mike:                                   Well, thirty's about time to make up 
                                                        your mind. And I'm nothing of 
                                                        the sort, not Mr. Connor.
Tracy:                                  The time to make up your mind 
                                                        about people is never.

Friday, November 17, 2017

What I teach

One of the main staples of my teaching career lo these past fifteen years is close reading. Students take many of the classes I teach because they are required, and many ask (they really do) what benefit to their lives these classes will have for them. Here's an answer: To be able to use your close reading skills to discern when you're being hoodwinked by your leaders. As in the following passage, which, excepting its unfortunate metaphor, shows critical thinking in action:
Trump made another comment in passing that deserves more attention. Speaking of Putin, and expressing his fear that continued investigation into Russian election interference would upset relations between the two countries, Trump said, “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.” 
Consider how unusual a statement this is, especially coming from Trump. Trump is assuming that Putin is a sensitive soul who might be personally wounded by unflattering portrayals in the American media. He is further asserting that Putin’s emotional distress might cause him to lash out at the United States or harm its foreign-policy interests in some way. Trump is speaking to his country like a cowering mother warning her children not to upset their father.


Friday, October 13, 2017

St. Augustine

Often, a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other parts of the world, about the motions and orbits of the stars and even their sizes and distances, … and this knowledge he holds with certainty from reason and experience. It is thus offensive and disgraceful for an unbeliever to hear a Christian talk nonsense about such things, claiming that what he is saying is based in Scripture. We should do all we can to avoid such an embarrassing situation, which people see as ignorance in the Christian and laugh to scorn.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


"If it's not love then it's the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb the bomb that will bring us together."