JANUARY 25, 2015 5:37PM

Altruism: I'm Sort of Against It

[N]othing is so soon corrupted by power-seeking as altruism."

— Odo "The Day Before the Revolution"

"Since when was altruism an Odonian virtue?”

"I am no altruist!" — Shevek in

The Dispossessed (chs. 8, 11)


          &Read full post »

JANUARY 23, 2015 12:19AM

Zero Tuition: Who pays? Who profits?

            It's not a name you'd know, but he's important for the current debate on zero or low tuitions at community colleges, and for reducing tuition and fees at four-year colleges and universities.

          &nRead full post »

For the recently French-loving, First-Amendment-absolutist US Right-Wing sorts defending the divine right to blaspheme, I want to repeat a test: a classic limerick that might be familiar. It also might be objected to on grounds of obscenity as well as blasphemy, so I'll follow it with a version moreRead full post »


          On "The International Hour" of The Diane Rehm Show on NPR for Friday, 9 Jan. 2015, a French-American journalist recycled the old joke that everyone is welcome to live in France, and become White and Catholic.

   &nRead full post »

Je suis Charlie


 As one who has committed acts of satire as well as taught the Mode in literature and film (and as a life member of the ACLU), I stand in solidarity with CHARLIE HEBDO — but I’ll throw in these factoids for those in Christendom fond of theories… Read full post »

DECEMBER 25, 2014 9:02PM

Cold-Blooded Statistics (Again)

A 'For instance' is not a proof.


            Tying together some stories in the news at the end of 2014, from police shootings in the sense of police shooting "civilians" to police being shot, to "the campus rape crisis": We need to bring back theRead full post »

No more words, Thersites; peace!
I will hold my peace when Achilles' brach bids me, shall I?
— Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida 2.11



            WhenRead full post »

I'm a life member of the American Civil Liberties Union, and I own a legal copy of, and have taught the Parker and Stone movie TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE; and when THE INTERVIEW comes out in bootleg copy, I certainly hope to buy (at a reasonable price) a technically competent DVD.… Read full post »

The aide [Karl Rove ....] continued, "We're an empire now,
and when we act, we create our own reality." 

 Read full post »

"Portion control" —

A friend to his daughter, via e-mail,

sort of giving the secret of life


         I originally planned to do a rather formal, moderately scholarly essay on John Stuart Mill's "Principle of Liberty" from his monograph On LiberRead full post »

DECEMBER 1, 2014 11:28PM

Cyber Monday, 2014: Not Shopping on Line

            All things considered, I much prefer to be bribed than to be coerced, but, all things considered more, I really don't like either. I really don't like to act as merely a consumer, infected with "The Midas Plague"; I do not like to be manipulated.Read full post »

            I'm writing this during the new-model Advent we celebrate in the United States: the run-up to Christmas and Epiphany that begins just after Halloween. During this season of supercharged capitalist merchandizing, I wish to repeat some advice from one pouc/Read full post »

NOVEMBER 21, 2014 10:05PM

Fads, Flocks, and Fanaticism (1984)

Oceania was not after all at war with Eurasia.

Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Eurasia was an ally.

There was, of course, no admission that any change

had taken place. Merely it became known, with

extreme suddenness and everywhere at once,Read full post »

[In the USA], public four-year colleges have increased

tuition and fees by 4.2% annually for the past decade ….


            Back East from where I now live, in "The Heart of It All" in Oxford, Ohio, in John Boehner's Congression/Read full post »

"Where you stand depends on where you sit." — Rufus E. Miles, Jr. 

"The crisis in our political system is less about party than about horizon." 

Eugene Robinson


         In a column that came out just before the US 2014 midterm elections,Read full post »

            I entered the Ed Biz in the late 1960s in large part because the government of the United States made me an offer that was difficult to refuse: I could be a teacher somewhere in the USA or (most likely given my size) tunnel rat withRead full post »

OCTOBER 30, 2014 12:49AM

About that Second Amendment ....

What TV news I watch is from an elliptical trainer, and I work hard to avoid commercials — every time you listen to a commercial the hucksters win — so I skip channels a bit and set the TV to mute fairly often and listen to an audio book. So… Read full post »

"Where you stand depends on where you sit." — Rufus E. Miles


I'm beyond ambivalent on hydraulic fracturing — fracking — so let's say I'm "multivalent" and strongly conflicted.


            * Fracking has contributed to what is, as IRead full post »

OCTOBER 23, 2014 6:18PM

Frat Boys, Jocks, and Deprecation (2)

            The immediate occasion for this post isn't immediate at all, but an old memory coming back from early in my teaching career, a memory that sent me down a thread of others.

            I have no ideaRead full post »

Holly Blumhardt, a mother of three unvaccinated children (two of them
attend Orange County public school), said
her family believes in staying healthy "from the inside out."

In her view, that means taking vitamin and mineral supplements, steering clear of genetically modified foods, getting re/
Read full post »

The Official Voter Information Guide for the California General Election of 4 November 2014 labels our Proposition 46 as an Initiative Statute on "Drug and Alcohol Testing of Doctors [... and] Medical Negligence Lawsuits." As summarized in an LA Times "No on Proposition 46" editorial, it also "would… Read full post »

            I've recently sent in a contribution for HIV/AIDS research, and, when contacted, I contribute to the local group that helps poor women get breast cancer screenings; and once a year or so I contribute to research on prostate cancer. Th/… Read full post »

The invitation came as a surprise but a very welcome surprise: an offer to contribute an essay to a publication of The Modern Language Association, the publishers of PMLA, arguably the premiere journal in literary studies.

I was invited to submit an essay for consideration in the MLA volume on Teachi… Read full post »

"No enemies on the Left." — Slogan from late 1930's Popular Front

 "There's clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am [...] — "Stuck in the Middle"


            Back during the American Troubles of what IRead full post »

            Under the headline "Job picture confounds analysts," my local newspaper ran an Associated Press column by Christopher S. Rugaber that raised the question "Why aren't companies filling more of their openings," and the probably relatedRead full post »