A Time magazine with Trump on the cover hangs in his golf clubs. It’s fake. #fakenews

Donald Trump has a lot to say about “fake news” — a label he hurls at almost any journalism that portrays him in unflattering light. It seems he’s been using a fake Time magazine cover in his clubs. The news organization has asked him to take down the fake covers. “Donald Trump: The ‘Apprentice’ is a television smash!” the big headline said. Above the Time nameplate, there was another headline…

How cult leaders brainwash followers for total control

With each other as validation, we began to articulate the real, dismal and frightening story of life in The O, which had as its unlikely recruiting grounds the 1970s food co-ops of the US Midwest. After a dramatic exit, I wrote the memoir Inside Out (2002). The book was an effort to understand how I, an independent, curious and intelligent 26-year-old, could have been captured and held by such a…

Scholars’ unconvincing case about the value of the humanities (essay)

A literary work is a powerful tool for simulating what it’s like to inhabit someone else’s life. Not just tolerating difference, or grudgingly giving “the other side” equal time; but generating real empathy for the diversity of humanity. There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll…

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The Language of Gender Violence

Oppressors deny their own agency and dehumanize their victims by using the passive voice. I want my students to recognize this deliberate strategy, and to look for hidden actors and dehumanized recpients of injustice. (I try to teach about active and passive verbs in a more lighthearted way, but I only bothered to photograph and caption sillly Lego scenes becuase I wanted more of my students to pay attention to…

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Harvard revokes admission of several students for posting “offensive” memes

The First Amendment of the constitution protects the incoming students’ right to say whatever they like, even if Harvard doesn’t like it. And, as a private institution that is not regulated by the First Amendment, Harvard has the right to kick out incoming students unwise enough to exercise their rights in this manner. (The government can’t throw you in jail simply for choosing to speak; but you’ll still have to…