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Saints and Poets, Maybe They Do Some

I wrote the following in 2004, when my son was 6 and my daughter was 2. The time is waning that my son will want nothing more than to play Battleship and The Magnificent Race with me all afternoon. Some day I’ll make a silly joke, and my daughter won’t giggle with glee, she will roll her eyes and say, “Dad, you’re embarrassing me.” I played the Stage Manager in…

The American Scholar: Celebrity Profiles

Phllip Lopate writes a good essay on the challenges of writing a celebrity profile. My take: Just as Plato argued that ideal leaders would be so well-balanced that they would not desire to lead (and thus would not have the power-lust that would enable them to rise above their competitors), it follows that ideal celebrity profile writers would be so well-balanced a journalist that they would not desire to flatter celebrities enough to be…

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My dad predicted Trump in 1985 – it’s not Orwell, he warned, it’s Brave New World

As my father [Neil Postman] pointed out, a written sentence has a level of verifiability to it: it is true or not true – or, at the very least, we can have a meaningful discussion over its truth. (This was pre-truthiness, pre-“alternative facts”.) But an image? One never says a picture is true or false. It either captures your attention or it doesn’t. The more TV we watched, the more…

Business is the most popular college major, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good choice

Make that dime-a-dozen business degree more marketable. Study the humanities or the arts, too! Learn how to develop critical thinking, self-reflection, compassion and wisdom that will help you decide what to count or measure or build, and why. And, hey, artsy people! Take a statistics or grant-writing or computer programming class. The world needs more balanced people with both a sensible head for numbers and a heart bigger than a Cheetos…

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

In The Republic, Plato uses an extended metaphor involving prisoners who can see nothing but shadows projected on the cavern wall. They know only blurry outlines of the true objects represented by the shadows, and they pride themselves on how well they can memorize and relate to the puppet shows performed by their captors. If anyone from the outside world were to come down to them and describe color, sunlight,…