From 1984 until 2002, 18 years, I taught high school English in the town and school where I grew up and graduated, moving into the classroom of my high school English teacher, Lynn Harrill, where I had sat as a student just six years earlier.
My first few years were overwhelming and at times terrifying; I taught five different preparations — managing fifteen different textbooks — and several of the classes were filled to capacity, 35 students packed into the room.
Throughout those two decades spanning the 1980s and past the 1990s, I was a student-centered teacher who had a wonderful relationship with my students — lots of mutual love and respect. …
We know of course there’s really no such thing as the “voiceless.” There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.
Labeled as “surreal” by Emilia Petrarca, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R — Georgia) wore as “censored” face mask while speaking from the floor on Congress.
First, we must recognize that statistically no one in the U.S. has the sort of access to a bully pulpit that a member of Congress has (535 out of 330 million people), and then, we must consider whether Greene is incredibly dishonest, spectacularly ignorant, or both.
After the insurrection at the Capitol by rightwing domestic terrorists supporting Trump — and emboldened by Trump and many Republicans in office — conservatives and Republicans across the U.S. …
She was born in November 1963/The day Aldous Huxley died/And her mama believed/That everyone could be free
“RUN, BABY, RUN,” SHERYL CROW
The summer of 1975, I was diagnosed with scoliosis and fitted with a form-fitting plastic body brace anchored with aluminum rods and spanning from my pelvic bone to my chin. This was a hell of a way to start my ninth grade at Woodruff Junior High.
I would wear that brace 23 hours a day, gradually weaning myself off the support as my vertebrae both (mostly) repaired their disfigurement and eventually stopped growing; this meant I wore the brace for much of my high school experience as well. …
While it now seems like generations ago, in the spring of 2008, I joined other faculty at Furman University in an organized protest labeled “We Object.” Through the university’s connections with FU graduate and former governor of South Carolina Mark Sanford, George W. Bush was invited to speak at commencement.
Recent university tradition was to have two students speak, but did not include outside speakers. None the less, students and the community (overwhelmingly conservative) seemed to welcome the opportunity to have a two-term Republican president speak to graduates.
The protest took many forms, including reaching out to the media, posting an official “We Object” statement, and wearing a “We Object” shirt, revealed from beneath professor’s gowns during the speech. …
As a part of the education community, I noticed two immediate responses to the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol by domestic terrorists seeking to disrupt the confirmation of the next President of the U.S.
One response anticipated that (once again) teachers would be on the front line of addressing trauma by suggesting ways that examining the riot in DC could be (should be) incorporated into the classroom — notably for those teachers dealing with history.
Another response, however, was the both-sides warning calling for no politics in the classroom.
Some educators received the identical email shared after the November elections, essentially telling teachers not to take political sides in the classroom. …
What strikes me about this aspect of A Man is that we rarely utter what Kido is confronting: you are your job (especially for those of us living in capitalism).
From “you are what you eat” to “when you have sex with someone, you are having sex with all of their sexual partners,” we seem obsessed with fear-mongering in order to shape how people behave, and thus, who people become.
About fifty pages into Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man, the reader experiences the first hints of what becomes one motif of the novel:
In the end, although Kido would only drift to law school in the grips of the fuzzy thinking that plagues many students of the humanities, his father’s words would contribute to his firm decision, while enrolled there, to try to see things through and become a lawyer. …
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Several years ago I was on a panel for a public forum held on my university’s campus. At the Q&A ending the panel talk, a colleague from another discipline asked a detailed question grounded in their discipline.
I watched their face and eyes as I navigated not only the arcane and somewhat navel-gazing elements of the question (we academics love to hold forth with questions that are thinly veiled opportunities to hear ourselves talk) but also that this conversation between the two of us was almost entirely alienating for 75% of the audience, which included several of my students. …
Candor is incompatible with freedom.
The Naked Eye, Yoko Tawada
i am afraid
neither of poets
nor of polar bears
none of this
really has much
to do with fear
most of this
i think instead
is a matter of proximity
i will never be close
enough to a polar bear
to realize that fragility
i am terrified however
of never again being
mauled by poetry
you see i will never walk
across the snow covered ice
trafficked by polar bears
but i long to be
lured over and over
onto the thin ice of a poem
What is normal? Are you normal? Am I normal?
“Normality was contagious, and exposure to the infection was necessary to keep up with it,” explains Natsuki in Sayaka Murata’s Earthlings.
If we accept that “normal” describes what is typical, and thus, what we may expect in any circumstance, then the novels of Murata are themselves not normal.
I posted a fairly tame Tweet about the Wall Street Journal‘s recent Op-Ed attacking Jill Biden using “Dr.” and editorial doubling-down on negative responses to the Op-Ed (none of which I will link here):