Scarecrow, Tin Man, Dorothy, and the Cowardly Lion approach Emerald City in this still from The Wizard of Oz

The Hidden Subversive Messages of [MGM’s Screen Adaptation of] The Wizard of Oz

When I tried teaching The Wizard of Oz in a literature class, I was a little frustrated with myself that I couldn’t bring the class discussion much farther than “how this book is different from the movie” and lists of one-to-one symbolism (“the yellow brick road represents the gold standard,” or  ‘the scarecrow represents agriculture, the tin man represents industry, and the cowardly lion represents the military”).  Part of my…


Elementary, Dear Data (TNG Rewatch: Season 2, Episode 3)

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation after a 20-year break. LaForge works on his model ship in main engineering (?) and invites Data to enjoy a Sherlock Holmes holodeck adventure. Sounds fun, but a slow start, with low stakes. We can forgive the director for spending a lot of time showing the characters reacting to the richly detailed Victorian set. It was probably not cheap to build. I have to…

Logo (large, bold capital "J")

In August 1999 I was blogging about Poohsticks Bridge, penmanship, Archimedes, and ebooks

In August 1999, I was blogging about Conservation efforts at Poohsticks Bridge A Penmanship camp in Philadelphia Recovering the only known copy of a lost work by the Greek mathematician Archimedes (erased by a 10th-century monk who scraped off the writing to reuse the parchment) Fourth-graders using e-books at Resurrection Catholic School in Dayton, Ohio Noted bibliophile Sven Birkerts having a disappointing encounter with ebooks

Brooke Kile (professional headshot)

Branding Essentials for the English Major: 4 Examples of How to Re-package Your Skills for Employers

It seems every week some “expert” publishes an article lamenting on the fact that if college students want to ensure they can get a good job after graduation, they should steer clear of “worthless” majors. Go into business or technology, say the authors. Stay away from things like English literature or creative writing. This argument comes from the erroneous assumption that a college education is best spent developing a repertoire…

Set Phasers to Teach!

Fans of Star Trek have thus already been introduced to the plays of William Shakespeare, and experienced intertextual analysis in action as the aforementioned Star Trek episodes directly relate to Hamlet and Henry V. The same can be said of the motion picture The Wrath of Khan, which portrays Ricardo Montalban’s villain as a futuristic Captain Ahab from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. More important than the interconnection of Star Trek narratives to classic literature of the past, however, is…