Two great quotes:
All this was part of Rustin’s central understanding: pragmatism and principle intertwine to make progress.
The principles that Rustin held steadfast, though they may seem unexciting in a political culture that loves romantic extremists, are nonetheless time-tested: Work within a coalition as broad as you can make it. Emphasize logistic efficiency. Relish the metaphoric imagination, but don’t let it run away with your judgment. Accept that perseverance is the best friend of freedom. Although utopianism and visionary overreach may be necessary beacons of freedom, they can, left to their own devices, become its betrayers.
The children are always ours, every single one of them, all over the globe; and I am beginning to suspect that whoever is incapable of recognizing this may be incapable of morality. Or, I am saying, in other words, that we, the elders, are the only models children have. What we see in the children is what they have seen in us–or, more accurately perhaps, what they see in us.
Got the Baldwin reference from Lydia Polgreen.
Who I found via Kathleen Kingsbury’s column.
I liked this summary and will share it with my students when we start Lepore in three weeks. The only thing I’d shift is that there is a difference between a craptastic textbook written to sell to school districts and a book published for a general audience.
This memorial is powerful.
This line stuck with me:
What he understood is the difference between charity and community — a difference founded in kinship, in recognizing that we all fall down, that sometimes it takes another hand to pull us up again. “All you have to do,” he once told the novelist Ann Patchett, “is give a little bit of understanding to the possibility that life might not have been fair.”
Renkl, Margaret. “Opinion | Proof That One Life Can Change the World.” The New York Times, August 14, 2023, sec. Opinion.
Here’s the NYT, with a collection of writers and folks talking about why we tell stories.
Here’s Parul Sehgal on stories from the new issue of the New Yorker.
Think I’ll use some mix of these in my second English unit — trying to get at the “why we tell stories” question and what the short story form means for that inquiry.
Great short piece here by David Leonhardt
As budgets to public universities consistently get slashed, their admissions offices have to find the money somewhere.
A small college without a monstrous endowment has to find the money somewhere too.
The hedge funds with schools attached… no excuse there.
This is a great article, one I’ll certainly use with my students.
If I had the time or the talent, I’d write the follow up:
Why are we so afraid of writing?
I’d talk about how Chat GPT feels like even more of a threat to writing as humans figure out how to cut out key intellectual components from the writing process. I’d talk about how I don’t want my students to grow up to be literary critics but how I do want them to always feel that sitting down to work at a piece of writing can help them figure out the world. I’d talk about the joy one can take from early bits of writing — throwing paint at a canvas — through the later bits — when you’re carefully re-shaping things.
No mention of The Graveyard Book.
Gaiman recites a Rudyard Kipling poem, a poem rooted in this quote from the Odyssey, I think:
“Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us gods, for they say evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness win sorrow beyond what is given…”
Oh, and The Sandman is that good. I thought it’d be hard to top the audiobook version, one I listened across a series of winter long walks, but this Netflix production is awesome.
This is a great article for the kids to sink their teeth into as they think about our history class. First, the headline:
Is the World Really Falling Apart, or Does It Just Feel That Way?
We can spend a few minutes discussing their answer but then we can turn to the question of how you’d try and answer this question, as a scholar, but particularly as a historian. Then we’d read it
The entire article is here and we’ll read this one way or another — out loud, small groups, quietly — and then discuss how the author approached the inquiry.
Something I’m thinking about, having just finished Damnation Spring (an unbelievably good novel that you should track down right now) is how we make sense of the present day and how much human beings can ignore.
Fisher, Max. “Is the World Really Falling Apart, or Does It Just Feel That Way?” The New York Times, July 12, 2022, sec. World. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/12/world/interpreter-world-falling-apart.html.