The Wall Street Journal on April 11 wrote that ?despite the occasional controversial article, many of the reader-written sites look more like church bulletin boards than, say, the New York Times.? Let‘snot dismiss church bulletin boards. When I wrote editorials in Omaha, Neb., I watched a Republican candidate win his way into Congress via a campaign conducted mostly on church bulletin boards. I suspect that in the most recent U.S.…

Grading Blues

Every grader of blue books was once a writer of blue books, so it might help to think about the process from that end. I remember, with particular shame, a certain undergraduate essay exam of my own for a course in “Modern Moral Philosophy.” The professor was Philippa Foot, who must have been in her early 60s at the time. I was wholly convinced by her attempt to renew Aristotelian…

Starship Titanic (review)

When was the last time you stretched your arms, locked your fingers together with palms facing out, and executed a satisfying snap before channeling your energies into a one-on-one encounter? I am not referring to the clicking of a mouse button, which is about as immersive as punching a warm soda from a vending machine. I am referring to your hands poised above the keyboard, your eyes glued to the…

Hollywood Means Business

Theater owners are in three different businesses: showing movies; showing advertisements–previews, which must be shown as part of their contract, don’t generate any revenue–and selling popcorn and soft drinks. The only business that makes a profit for them is the third, so it makes sense to cater to teenage males, who gobble the most popcorn and slurp the most soda. This demographic is reputed not to give a hoot if…

The Argument Sketch [Monty Python]

M: An argument isn’t just contradiction. A: It can be. M: No it can’t. An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition. A: No it isn’t. M: Yes it is! It’s not just contradiction. A: Look, if I argue with you, I must take up a contrary position. M: Yes, but that’s not just saying ‘No it isn’t.’ A: Yes it is! M: No it…