No, these “Perspective matters” photographers aren’t misrepresenting the size of a fire in Paris

I have shared and liked this image, and incorporated it in lesson plans. The juxtaposition suggests that the little knot of photographers is hunkering down in order to make a small fire appear more threatening in front of L’ Arc de Triomphe in Paris. I have seen plenty of cases where unrelated images were juxtaposed and mislabeled, then shared by third parties who aren’t aware of the manipulation, and are…

Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers: Four Moves

The confirmation bias describes the very human tendency to reject evidence that challenges our worldview, and to seek out — and often cling to — evidence that supports it. If we believe black cats are bad luck, we remember every time a bad thing happened to us after we saw a black cat. If someone we love tells us we will catch a cold if we go outside with wet…

A practical application of close reading skills: Nazi-spotting

Whenever I teach a literature class, I put a lot of energy into helping students understand the difference between the plot summary and personal engagement (“The character I could most relate to in this story was…”) they got praised for doing in high school, and the more advanced literary close reading skills I ask them to do in my literature class. I’ve had some success drawing on the pre-existing skills…

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…

Kirk’s manly, sensitive advice to young Charlie

In poplar culture, Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek has a reputation of being a womanizer. Chris Pine’s portrayal of Kirk in the rebooted movies certainly plays up that character trait, but in Kirk’s original appearance, the second pilot episode “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” it’s Kirk’s helmsman Gary Mitchell who follows a female crewmember with his eyes, holds hands with a pretty yeoman during a crisis on…

I’m just getting around to watching this speech from Arnold Schwarzenegger. Impressive!

I really never paid much attention to Schwarzenegger’s time as governor of California, but because I was in living in Wisconsin during part of former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura’s time as governor of Minnesota, I guess I expected bluster and bravado. Yes, waving the Conan sword certainly provided manly spectacle for the groundlings, but the sword was an opportunity to introduce a metaphor — he put it down with a…