“GOING ONCE, GOING TWICE… SOLD!”

In the Afterword to The Cult of Individualism: A History of an Enduring American Myth, I quote the character Lonesome Rhodes (played by Andy Griffith) in the 1957 Elia Kazan movie A Face… Continue reading

From Alexander Woollcott to “Fake News”

Where does today’s ‘fake news’ come from? There is no simple answer, but part of it can be traced to the development of journalistic practices and ethics over the course of the 20th… Continue reading

Privilege, PC and Christmas

  A friend of mine, like thousands of others and not without reason, says that Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election through ‘fraud, manipulation and outright lies.’ Others say it was a… Continue reading

“Campus” Is Not Quite What Nicholas Kristof Thinks It Is

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
When I read Nicholas Kristof’s “The Dangers of Echo Chambers on Campus” last night, I knew I would have to write in response. Drive-by commentary of this sort…

“What Have They Done to My Song, Ma”: Bob Dylan, the Nobel Prize and the Meaning of Literature

Bob Dylan’s not the only one to use “Ma” in a song title. Of course not; not much of what he has done is singular, though that’s another matter. His “It’s All Right,… Continue reading

A Widening Gyre

There’s little truth behind the myth I recount about why I went to graduate school. I tell people I enrolled so that I could better understand William Faulkner’s The Hamlet. Of course, nothing… Continue reading

“The Art of the Slur,” Revisited

Sophia McClennen, writing for Salon, maps the amateurishness and ignorant Professor Watchlist that appeared recently. She also references a Jorge Tiede post on the Academe Blog,  “The ‘Professor Watchlist’ of the 1930s,” providing what should be the… Continue reading

Undoing the Fakery: Real Journalism and Writing in the 21st Century

How wrong mere logic can be when it becomes detached from reality. –Edward Upward, 1988. With fakes everywhere—including fake news sites, fake news stories, faked incidents and even fake journalists—teaching journalism or any… Continue reading

Confederate Battle Flags, Nazi Salutes, and Causes

Are we stuck with the hatred unleashed by Donald Trump’s success? Are we seeing something that has always been there, but repressed, bubbling to the surface? I don’t think it’s quite so simple.… Continue reading

Breitbarting: Post-Objective, Post-Responsibility and Post-Education

Originally posted on ACADEME BLOG:
In 2012, I proposed the term ‘breitbarting’ with a narrower definition than, I think, the word deserves today. At that time, I limited it to what Andrew Breitbart…