The belief that if people only were better educated, they’d engage

  A few hours after the horrifying attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol, I received a text from a friend noting, with distress, the picture of Republican senator Josh Hawley pumping his fist in support of the mob just a few hours before the attacks. “But Hawley went to Stanford,” they wrote. “He was a history major! Shouldn’t he know better than to encourage this?” That is a…

My #AugustWilson #Steampunk Nightmare

Today is my last official day teaching a compressed winter term “Special Topics in American Literature” course devoted to August Wilson’s Century Cycle. Last night I had a dream that Wilson wrote an eleventh play that I didn’t know about; or that I somehow missed covering one of his ten cycle plays.  In my dream, I was shuffling through my stack of books, trying to put them in order, so…

The Unbearable Weakness of Trump’s Minions

Note that the URL of this story indicates it was initially published under the title “Cowards Are Destroying the GOP.”  Opinion stories that take a clear stand are a valuable part of legitimate news coverage, though of course they need to be well sourced, and a good editor will seek a balance that reflects a range of legitimate views. (So, no racism, no hate, no misinformation that could damage public…

My J-Term course on August Wilson doesn’t actually start until tomorrow, but the first assignments are already coming in. Sixteen weekdays to cover Wilson’s 10-play Century Cycle.

We’ll cover all 10 plays, but each student will only be responsible for reading an overlapping list of six plays. The movie adaptation of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom opens on Netflix this weekend, and we’ll be covering that play on Monday.