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The Better Angels of Our Writing

Copy editors are to the world of publishing what the stage manager is to the world of theater. I love copy editors and I love stage managers. When the copy editor for my latest book placed a little check mark over the name of a computer game, Snood, and then wrote in the margin (“”), I knew that her fact-checking was protecting me, and I felt grateful. When I dashed…

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Two Cheers for the Middle Ages! by Eric Christiansen

I love good writing. “Even those who doubt that hot air is the best way of defeating hot air will be impressed by the main body of the work…” Prejudice against the medieval runs deep…. Remember those angels dancing on a pinpoint? They still dance for those who believe that the medieval schools were engaged in a wasted intellectual effort. | Unfair! the medievalists have shouted, from the days when…


Essay on how much a professor learned about teaching from his mentor

I had a similar experience, with a mentor who very rarely praised my work. But when he read my first full draft of my dissertation, and along with his notes told me to schedule my defense, I knew he wasn’t being polite or friendly or sympathetic — I knew he was treating me like someone who had finally met the expectations he had set for his colleagues. Every single paper…

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College is not a commodity. Stop treating it like one.

If we are going to treat college as a commodity, and an expensive one at that, we should at least grasp the essence of its economic nature. Unlike a car, college requires the “buyer” to do most of the work to obtain its value. The value of a degree depends more on the student’s input than on the college’s curriculum. I know this because I have seen excellent students get…

You'll Probably Believe These 7 Not-Amazing Reasons Why Listicles Suck (#4 is as Painfully Obvious as the Rest)

That “Top 5″ countdown listicle stuffs 5 pages of runners-up between #2 and #1.

Relaxing in bed on the first Sunday morning of my summer break, I web-surfed across the name of something I was interested in, on a “Top 5″ list. I host some “Top #X Whatevers” pages on my website, but I put all the items (writing tips of some sort) on one page, and include a table of contents that you can use to jump directly to the item you want…