Category Archives: Articles of Note

Can’t run, walk.

Knee still in two pieces. Trying to take a “worthy” walk each day, which offers the chance to listen.

This week:
Monday: Start the Week How the world thinks
Tuesday: Richard White talking about his latest book
Wednesday: Bookworm with Tommy Orange.`
Thursday:
Friday: Bookworm, Joshua Cohen and BBC: In our Time: Hope

One thing I’ve noticed: about ten years ago a bunch of universities put these awesome courses on-line. For example, David Blight’s Yale course on the Civil War and Reconstruction, with a series of awesome lectures, is still there. But this practice seems to have stopped. Why?

One other thing I’ve noticed: It’s really hard to search the back content of podcasts. I’m having much better luck searching youtube for book talks, presentations, and speeches.

Anxiety: selling ourselves

Apart from this blog — 12 unique hits! This month! — I don’t do that much of this. Whippman’s points are solid, though, in a world where not everyone has the luxury of being an inner-city school teacher, a job with reasonable benefits and union protection from the worst vagaries of the market. She writes:

Kudos to whichever neoliberal masterminds came up with this system. They sell this infinitely seductive torture to us as “flexible working” or “being the C.E.O. of You!” and we jump at it, salivating, because on its best days, the freelance life really can be all of that.

But as long as we are happy to be paid for our labor in psychological rather than financial rewards, those at the top are delighted to comply. While we grub and scrabble and claw at one another chasing these tiny pellets of self-esteem, the bug-brooch barons still pocket the actual cash.

And I’d like to read this study and look at this “Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale.”

J. Haidt

I heard Jonathan Haidt on Start the Week and liked what he had to say.

Here’s a review of his most recent book, which I gather is based on a story in the Atlantic.

Here are the three points:

The Untruth of Fragility: What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.

The Untruth of Emotional Reasoning: Always trust your feelings.

The Untruth of Us vs. Them: Life is a battle between good people and evil people.

I tend to feel the first two while teaching university. The second is something I’ve spent my entire high-school teaching career railing against; kids and peers are undoubtedly sick of me saying “emotions aren’t evidence” alongside of “what’s your evidence for that claim.”

Muhammad Ali quote

There’s a great article by Tom Verducci in SI. Two quotes stuck out for me:

“I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing to do is do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.”

Muhammad Ali

Verducci also quotes Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

“But who shall dare to measure loss and gain in this wise? Defeat may be victory in disguise; The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.”

What happens in any organization — a team, a school or classroom, a business — that allows them to work through a difficult time?

Always a danger…

To read a story, share a song, work through a novel that you love with kids. They’re not going to love it the same way.

I re-read the story we’re taking on today on the trolley this morning. This line left me with tears in my eyes:

No more maybe, in other words. Because that is just what happens. One day it is maybe, and then you just know.

Reminded me of a song I heard for the first time in junior high:

Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?

Live version here, 1980, 00:04:26-00:04:34.

Note to self: Get it together, man.

First song from our wedding

RIP

  • See the Billy Preston quote at the end of this profile.
  • Longreads collected many of the recent articles here.
  • Today’s appreciation from the Wesley Morris/NYT, with this paragraph:

    Because lots of major pop stars now have great, big voices, maybe it’s easy to forget that most Americans had never heard anything quite as dependably great and shockingly big as Ms. Franklin’s. The reason we have watched “Showtime at the Apollo” or “American Idol” or “The Voice” is out of some desperate hope that somebody walks out there and sounds like Aretha. She established a standard for artistic vocal excellence, and it will outlast us all.