The Teacher-Centered Classroom

Last week I gave two talks at Wabash College. The second talk was unfortunately not recorded. The administration at Wabash College seems to find very serious and somewhat technical lectures on aesthetics, philosophy, and teaching very dangerous these days---so much for the liberal arts. I recorded the noon talk, and the very interesting discussion that followed, myself; here it is, for those who might be interested: The Teacher Centered Classroom. Next week, I'll be training to Portland, OR, t … [Read more...]

Beyond the Funk: Prayers for Quvenzhane Wallis UPDATED

Last night on Twitter, during the fanfare of the Oscars, the satirical news publication, The Onion, posted a perverse tweet about nine-year-old actress, Quvenzhane Wallis, from Beasts of the Southern Wild. The tweet referred to the beautiful young girl using the C-word.The intent was clear: juxtapose the most adorable person at the Oscars with the most revolting description imaginable---and get lots of attention. Well they got it and now they seem to regret it. They removed the tweet, which … [Read more...]

Solidarity in Vulgarity: The Funk in Racist Jokes (A Reprise)

As a sequel to my previous Black History Month re-post, "White History Month," from earlier this month, here is an essay I published in the X-Position, the journal of  The Malcolm X Institute of Black Studies at Wabash College, last year. Enjoy!  Solidarity in Vulgarity: The Funk in Racist Jokes“I don’t want your stupid ethnic dances, I want dirty jokes!”-Slavoj Zizek“Gonna have a funky good time, gonna have a funky good time!”-James Brown“The man of knowledge must b … [Read more...]

Is God an Introvert? A Review of “Quiet,” by Susan Cain

Michael Richmond was not my student, with the exception of his senior comprehensive oral exam. I was his examiner for his major in philosophy. He was a English and philosophy double-major. It was early. He was terribly nervous and clumsy and had trouble identifying a simile, and muttered through he details of Kafka's Metamorphosis. I asked him odd questions about the absurd and tried to get him to say something interesting. He left the room as soon as he could and earned a deservingly average … [Read more...]

On the Death of Matthew Crawley

There is something about season three of Downton Abbey that I really liked.Something dark.I preferred it to season two: I found the war, albeit historically important and a perfect ending to season one, rather distracting and flimsily tethered together. Although I did cry for the sentimental ending.I still think season one was almost perfect.I didn't cry when I intuited that Matthew was going to die nor when the thick fake blood massaged his ear and face and confirmed his … [Read more...]

Economics Makes Us Crazy

I have no misgivings about, nor apologies for, my near total ignorance of economics. I don't know the special terms nor do I possess insight or erudition about its governing concepts and intellectual history. Sure, I've read a thing or two. But nothing technical. In the very little I have read, especially around election time, I get the impression that the application of econometrics to business and politics are, more often than not, inexact or flat out wrong.Economics as we (don't) know it, … [Read more...]

Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down

My dear friend’s dog, Remus, is dying of cancer. Remus is a beautiful greyhound who my friend, Brad, emancipated from a cruel life of racing. When I heard of the diagnosis, I wrote a poem to him. After writing it, I realized that I was actually writing a prayer. I was praying to a dog, and the moon.THE MOON  Full moon shines tonight you see it, brother, better than I it was your kin who once howled and I simply gaze, amazed at how your pain must ring outside my senses It is round, a … [Read more...]

Benedict XVI: A Portrait of Humility

I was a senior at Franciscan University of Steubenville when Pope John Paul II died. It is hard to describe the rich melancholy that hung in the air that day. The anxiety and uncertainty. The sorrow. We, the students, had only known one pope for our entire lives. It was a sad, disorienting day.We should have seen it coming, and of course we did. Everyone did. I recall the indignation I felt when the media, and sometimes other Catholics, would call for him to resign because of his poor … [Read more...]

Beyoncé and My Legs

I started shaving my legs in high school, from the calf down, to get my ankles taped. By the time I was in college, I went all the way up.In men’s rugby, shorts are too long if you can’t genuflect and urinate discretely---through your leg hole. If you’re an inside forward (numbers one through five), you need to be sure your shorts are snug; that way, the binding in the scrum is tight.I played on the wing my freshman year and eventually found my way inside to flanker. I never needed super … [Read more...]

“White History Month”

Two years ago, during my first year of teaching at Wabash College, I was invited to give a "Chapel Talk," a weekly lecture on the speaker's choice. Since I have a natural aversion to controversy, I wrote and delivered the following talk on a bland and safe topic: Black History Month and the notion of race.Since it's February again, I share it here in video and text. I have not done much more work in the philosophy of race since writing this talk, but I do hope to return to it sooner than … [Read more...]


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