How should journalists handle incorrect tweets?

One blogging convention that I really like involves making corrections by striking out mistakes, bolding corrections, and adding a parenthetical note or a footnote explaining the change. But when a journalist makes a mistake on Twitter, is it more ethical to delete the post entirely (thus keeping a mistake from spreading) or is it better to leave the mistake as-is, but post a follow-up correction? Poynter.org ran the other on…

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Complicating Assumptions about Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"

My students are usually captivated by “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and every time I teach it I get a paper or two with a thesis that argues the narrator’s husband is sexist, that the rest cure is demeaning, and/or that the narrator speaks for the author. That’s a bit like “proving” that the river is important in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or that the Puritans oppress Hester in The Scarlet Letter.…

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Poet

Spooftacular stuff, from ladysisyphus. What are the plot-threads that clutch, what subplots grow Out of this pulpy rubbish? Son of James, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only Your third-person limited perspective, where your adverbs breed, And the caps lock gives no shelter, the chapter no relief, And the seventh book no sign of surcease. Only There is a horcrux inside this dark cave, (Come into the waters…

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From Fish to Infinity

Yesterday, my eight-year-old said, “I don’t like math, but I’m good at it.” This is a huge improvement from the math-related tug-of-wars we’ve encountered almost daily for the past year and a half. Yesterday, she also finished a “Star Wars Math” game, where the idea is to play a Trivial Pursuits style game, spaced-out versions of blackjack, and other games where you have a better chance of winning if you…

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Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior

What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend…

Gender-neutral Language

I recently updated a handout I first created in 1998. A phrase like “a good policeman knows his duty” unnecessarily excludes women. While it would be excessive to read history as if every general use of “man” is sexist, today’s culture calls for alternatives. Using “police officer” instead of “policeman” is easy, but replacing every “his” with “his or her” will sound tedious in a longer document. Pluralizing is often…