Big Business and Teaching Skills in School

In their daily email update, the education team over at Politico reported that representatives from big business are to sit down with national education policymakers (including Arne Duncan and Jeb Bush) to discuss Common Core. The idea, it sounds like, is to make sure schools are teaching students the things that business wants to see. This is not new. This sort of plan is as old as schooling itself. Continue reading


What you haven’t read…

My partner sent me a link to an interesting article from the Chicago Tribune the other day:

“What your ‘unread books’ list reveals: Do the books that we haven’t read — and won’t — say more about us than the ones we repeatedly devour?”

In the article, Nara Schoenberg argues that it’s the books we decide not to read—and won’t—that really tell us about another person. And it’s a cool idea. And, I want to know what books you’ve consciously decided not to read and why. I’m also curious about what things we decide to watch as well. And yes, I will soon reveal myself to be a huge elitist jerk. Continue reading

‘Vaginas’ is spelled wrong<–I just had a really intense response to a homework assignment about this article and Devin suggested that I share it.

It will take me a few days or weeks to get over learning that my vagina can fall out (#5). Regardless, I can’t help but think that this example of a “crazy thing about the vagina” is a wonderfully vivid metaphor for what Lissa Rankin is trying to do with her spreading awareness about the vagina and the discourse about vaginas– let’s stop hiding them! (Google Chrome is telling me that ‘vaginas’ is spelled wrong. I think this might also be symbolic of the fact that in our society the vagina is a personal and hidden thing between a female’s legs. If the discourse about the vagina were more public we could probably all get our vaginas together and have wonderful discussions…and Google Chrome might then accept the vernacular instead of only the pompous Latin medical term ‘vaginae’. There is no squiggly red line under ‘penises’.)  Continue reading

Author Please!

I’ve been dwelling a lot lately about authorship for a while now. At first, I became interested in the context of literary theory which I by no means am really qualified to do, but it quickly expanded in scope. I guess I’m wondering what you all think? Is the author dead? Good riddance to ‘em or a sad, sad wake? Or, is the author alive and well, now more than ever, with it being the most important aspect in the literary and non-literary world? I see it going in two directions at once. Continue reading

Reading Can Make You a Better Person

Those on this blog might take this as a given. But is it? This idea was sparked by an article I came across from The Guardian newspaper (one of the best papers in the world by the way). It’s about a program that’s been implemented whereby individuals are required to take part in reading courses (yes, reading courses) as part of their sentencing for a crime. It makes an impression about how important reading really is . . . Continue reading

A Wave of Sadness and “Direct Ideology”

So, there is it is. Arguably, we now have definitive proof that Americans have an historical memory of give or take two years. They are, apparently, mad at Obama or the dems or something to that effect. I bet one hundred dollars if you asked most of those who voted against democrats why, they couldn’t tell you a coherent answer. Even the American right-leaning Economist is on my side on this Obama thing. Seriously. But, even that supposition misleads: we cannot forget the role of the media in creating this mess. They’ve done it before after all. But, what’s really interesting to me is a specific victory speech, pointed out to me by Graham, by fake eye doctor Rand Paul.

Continue reading

“The Environment” and the Destruction of American Indians in the American Mythos

The United States is known for its vast tracts of land, its wide open plains, its mountain ranges, its vast deserts.  It is a land with bountiful natural resources among a variety landscapes.  Iron ore, coal, gold, and a host of other raw materials fueled its unprecedented industrialization.  And so a broad concept of “the environment” came to lodge itself firmly in some vague American mythos with its own connotations which have never seemed to transfer to European historiography.  But is that all it is?  Is it everyone’s mythos?  Or, was it largely a space which was subdued by a masculine capitalist militarism bar nothing, bar rocky New England soil, the bay of Boston, the everglades of Florida, the dry plains, or, as colonist ideology depicted them, scalping bloodthirsty noble red savages?  The vastness of early North America appeared vast to the newly arrived pale-skinned colonists (not settlers) because native peoples were classified as sub-human thus enabling the presentation of America as a virgin land ready for the taking.

John Vanderlyn's Painting, an Ideological Depiction of Native Americans (1804)

Continue reading