Sham Admissions and the Sham Meritocracy

In all of the hoopla about a fake meritocracy, illegal shenanigans for college admissions, legacy and other legal but questionable methods of getting in, and all the other things swirling around the internet… Continue reading

Anti-Semitism: The Invisible Scourge

Once I knew a woman named Laura. Her light brown hair and hazel eyes were unremarkable in white American society. She told me a story–this was in 1975–about something that had happened to… Continue reading

McPherson and Dylan’s “Girl From the North Country”

It shouldn’t work. After all, jukebox musicals are an abuse to the songs, most presented as a verse and a chorus or two, the idea of the music enough, so move along. With… Continue reading

Disinfecting the News?

I’ve avoided visiting the Newseum in Washington, DC. for some time. I vaguely remember when it opened at its first location 21 years ago, but I was long out of the profession and… Continue reading

Is Academia a Cult?

There’s an article in The Washington Post from earlier this week that all of us within academia today might want to pay attention to. By Andrew Marzoni, an English PhD, it is called “The Cult… Continue reading

How the Other Half Lives

The following is excerpted and adapted from Chapter Five: How the Other Half Lives of my book The Cult of Individualism: A History of an Enduring American Myth (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Publishers, 2013). It… Continue reading

“Just then Tom Paine, himself/Came running from across the field”

“This will be an election of… common sense,” said Donald Trump recently. Common sense? The greatest American writer of common sense (though Ben Franklin might believe he should take that crown) was Thomas… Continue reading

Can We Cross the Great Divide?

When my book The Cult of Individualism: A History of an Enduring American Myth appeared in 2013, I thought it’s Afterword (included below) both naive and overly hopeful–even though I had written it. Over the… Continue reading

Challenging Our Students and Ourselves

Yesterday, in class, I showed my students an old clip of Jon Stewart with Tucker Carlson on Crossfire. It’s from 2004, but it has relevancy now. That CNN show, as Stewart points out, was… Continue reading

Stop disparaging professors. They work for a better America

Yesterday, I posted an expanded version of “Stop Disparaging Professors. They Work for a Better America” on I added, in particular, mentions of a number of professors in the public sphere, including… Continue reading