Two Stories, Many Names

By Gripper – Own work, GFDL, Back in the seventies, when I worked for a small import firm just outside of Chicago, my boss was an immigrant of ambiguous accent. I’ll call… Continue reading

Why Are We What We Are?

My wife asked me why, when I eat yogurt, I eat it slowly, taking small spoonful after small spoonful and pausing between each. I thought about it; I eat nothing else that way.… Continue reading


One perk of moving to a small upstate New York town in 1968 was the Clinton Courier, the local weekly newspaper. I got a job there, after school and on weekends. The high… Continue reading

On the Firing of a Tenured Professor

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
On January 20, the University of California Board of Regents took the incredibly rare step of dismissing a tenured professor for cause, a sanction that has occurred only…

‘Distant Reading’ English Syllabi

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
There has been a great deal of interest in the Open Syllabus Project, including an article in The New York Times. I thought I’d take a look at it…

Power and Action

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
When I cornered Richard Leakey to ask him about the elephant that had once chased me but had let me go, he responded, “The elephant wasn’t interested in…

Hello to All That

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
An academic career never seemed a possibility for me until I was in my fifties. Unlike most who end up teaching in colleges and universities, I was never…

Across the Great Divide

With the Bundys of Nevada and, now, Oregon claiming individual sovereignty over government and Donald Trump claiming that all we need to do is trust in the skills of his arrogance, pundits are… Continue reading

“Victimhood” As an Ableist Conceit

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
What sort of disability might Arthur Brooks have? I don’t know, and I can’t tell immediately through the medium of the Internet. I suppose I could use that…

Beyond Standards

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
My father used to ask a student to draw a line a meter long on the blackboard, take a look and tell the student the length was not…