screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-5-52-49-pm
4

The Rhetoric of Anthems and the Drama of Kneeling

I don’t follow sports, so I don’t feel fully equipped to comment on the issue, but when a friend raised it via an email I thought I’d share my thoughts about the rhetorical and dramatic nature of patriotism and protest. I have often wished I could attend a concert/literary discussion where singers performed the national anthems of countries from trouble spots around the world, and then people from those countries…

image

How to Think Like Shakespeare

Saving this for the next time I teach Shakespeare. All well and good, you say, but my parents are worried about what I’m going to do after I graduate. There, too, Shakespeare can be a model. When he was born, there wasn’t yet a professional theater in London. In other words, his education had prepared him for a job that didn’t even exist. You should be encouraged to learn that this…

image

How to Disagree

If we’re all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy: Truly refuting something requires one to refute its central point, or at…

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 2.07.16 PM

Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve racked up prizes — and completely misled you about the Middle Ages

Recently on Facebook I made some of my friends go “hmm” when I corrected a meme that suggested the medieval church burned Copernicus at the stake for teaching that the sun is the center of the solar system. (“Contrary to popular belief, the Church accepted Copernicus’ heliocentric theory before a wave of Protestant opposition led the Church to ban Copernican views in the 17th century.” CS Monitor). The label “The…

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 1.22.15 PM

Watching Shakespeare With Your Kids

My retired parents and bachelor engineer brother came from out of state so they could see Carolyn and me in the Latrobe Cabaret Theatre’s Midsummer. Mom says it was the first Shakespeare play she had ever seen. My family was sitting in the front row, so I could see their reactions from the stage. I’m so glad they could make it! (The show continues Thursday through Saturday.) Shakespeare’s plays—indeed, all…

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 10.51.08 AM

The cultural implications of the myth that English majors end up working permanently at Starbucks

Would you like facts with that? English majors are statistically more likely to end up as CEOs, doctors or accountants than food service workers. The top occupations for English-degree holders ages 27 to 66 are elementary and middle school teachers, postsecondary teachers, and lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial workers. Indeed, English majors, who go on to a range of careers, are less likely to work in food service than…