Naïveté? Or Exploitation?

If there was one thing I learned from my Peace Corps experience it was that people everywhere know a lot more than the lucky few in the worldwide elites believe they do—and that the idea of helping them is really, at its heart, an idea of helping that elite. We lucky ones, generally from industrialized … Continue reading Naïveté? Or Exploitation?

"And All the Pundits Are Below Average"

In January, Thomas Friedman wrote:In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap … Continue reading "And All the Pundits Are Below Average"

The School of Teaching Without Teaching, Part II

This morning, before leaving for school, I responded to Thomas Friedman's piece in today's New York Times. I wrote quickly. Though today is "reading day" before final exams, I am responsible for a good deal of advisement and needed to get to the college so that I can talk to students face-to-face. As a teacher, … Continue reading The School of Teaching Without Teaching, Part II

School of Teaching Without Teaching

In her novella Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor has character Hazel Motes create the Church of Christ Without Christ. Thomas Friedman has apparently joined its contemporary offshoot, the School of Teaching Without Teaching. Certainly, he sounds like a true believer.Friedman, and all those people at Stanford, MIT and Harvard (to mention just a few) who are … Continue reading School of Teaching Without Teaching

Everybody’s Right

An accelerant doesn't cause a fire--but it can sure make it burn.  But even a lot of it, as anyone who has tried to start damp charcoal with lighter fluid, might not be enough.  On the other hand, when conditions are right, a small amount might be a sufficient catalyst for a massive blaze.Frank Rich … Continue reading Everybody’s Right

A Loosing Battle

OK, all of us create typos, misplace punctuation (or omit it), and spell certain works idiosyncratically. Let's face it: the "rules" of English do little to assist us and much to maintain confusion. Still, we shouldn't abet the loss of specificity and function (let alone meaning) of written English. Especially not if we work for … Continue reading A Loosing Battle

The Flat-World Fairy Tale

Three of my favorite writers, V.S. Naipaul, John LeCarre, and Alan Furst, keep me thinking about Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat. Friedman sees globalization as the great leveler–or, perhaps, the great empowerer, allowing almost anyone from anywhere to rise to the top. Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick in his incarnation as a lass from Mumbai … Continue reading The Flat-World Fairy Tale