The Curtains Were Blue: In Which I Fix Another Meme.

Above is my response to a meme that makes some shaky assumptions about the purpose of an English classroom. Exploring the intent of the author is a huge part of the English discipline, but it’s far from the only way to study (or teach) literature. Author intent, new historicism, reader-response, structuralism.. the list goes on. Perhaps I will make more of these memes to introduce some of these other topics…

Journalism 101: I fixed this meme for you.

I can sympathize with the sentiment, but this meme is not how I’d frame the situation. When two sources disagree, assuming that one must be right and the other must be wrong is a form of bias. What if one source is in New York and the other is in Santa Fe, and you are in Ohio? Would looking out your own window be enough? Both sources could be wrong,…

Illustration of glowing chain links in a shovel of dirt.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader

This fascinating essay, by the grandchild of a Nigerian slave trader, explores a complex cultural legacy. At least as provocative as “Did Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson Love Each Other?” and the stunning, bitter “Molasses to Rum (to Slaves)” from the otherwise cheery musical 1776. African intellectuals tend to blame the West for the slave trade, but I knew that white traders couldn’t have loaded their ships without help from…

My wife Leigh will direct the small-cast drama “Full Bloom” Aug 30-Sep 2

My wife Leigh received a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant towards producing the small-cast drama Full Bloom. She’s found a good space and found the right cast, and so we’re doing the whole crazy “Hey, let’s put on a show” thing again! If you’re within shouting distance, and you think the arts should matter in your community, I hope you’ll join us Aug 30-Sep 2.

Perspective | After a stunning news conference, there’s a newly crucial job for the American press

I have always taken a neutral stance in my journalism classes, modeling the objective nature of reporting the news “without fear or favor.” I shall continue to uphold reporting designed to publish objective truth, and criticize and expose exaggeration, rumor, wishful thinking, and outright lies presented in the guise of truth.   This fall, I will tell my students that my role as their journalism instructor includes noting that one…