Self-Made

by Daniel A. Kaufman ___ A to B:  “You’re an asshole.” B to A:  “No I’m not.” A to B:  “Well, it’s not up to you whether you’re an asshole or not.  It’s up to everyone else.” —Louis CK (1) The “self-made man” traditionally was someone who had made his own fortune, rather than inheriting it  Today, many would point […]

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Against Historical Cherry-Picking

By Daniel Tippens Early in his presidency, Donald Trump passed his first executive order pertaining to immigration, preventing travelers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the United State for 90 days. At the same time, Trump has been laying on some heavy rhetoric about deporting illegal aliens from the United States. Many were quick to […]

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In Beethoven’s Shadow

by Mark English “Are you mad?” “But you asked me to play.” “I asked you to play. If you can’t think of anything better, play a chromatic scale or a five-finger exercise, but spare me your suburban shopgirl trash.” This exchange comes from a very popular movie of the 1940s, The Seventh Veil. (1) A romantic melodrama, it explores the […]

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Notes on Rhetoric

by E. John Winner Words are instructions or directions for behavior, and they may be responded to either appropriately or inappropriately, but the appropriateness or inappropriateness depends upon the judgment of someone. — Morse Peckham (1) A dialogue between  a rhetorician and a logician R–Let’s say we have one audience that sets stock in logic-based discourse; another prefers appeal to […]

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Melancholy and Our Infinite Nostalgia

by Lillie Sauer If you’ve ever listened to The Smashing Pumpkins, you might already appreciate their dreamy melodic themes, lyrical nuance, or general shoegazey brilliance. If you haven’t, hopefully you will soon at least be able to appreciate where I’m going with this clumsy introduction to my thoughts on the impracticality of our naturally idealistic human memories. Of all the […]

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A Few Thoughts on Romanticism

by Mark English The great Romantic writer and statesman François-René de Chateaubriand is virtually forgotten today. The steak or the sauce named after him is still well-known, however. I can’t help feeling that this tells us a lot about our cultural priorities. One of the things that Chateaubriand is known for (by the few who even recognize his name) is […]

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Platonism! (For Inspiration)

by CJ Uberroth As a high school math teacher, I have had my fair share of interesting conversations, ranging from my students’ favorite music to my addiction to American Spirit cigarettes. Sure, some may say that I shouldn’t speak with students about things like alcohol and nicotine but I can’t imagine a stupider objection. How else are they supposed to […]

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Shostakovich and the Stories We Tell Ourselves About Ourselves

by Margaret Rowley Ethnographers tend to like stories, as do many non-ethnographers. Much of the point of ethnography is simultaneously to hear people tell their stories (interview) and watch them live their stories (observation), and then try to critically analyze what’s happening (theoretical intervention). At least one ethnographer, Clifford Geertz, has suggested that the definition of culture is “stories we […]

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