Wednesday, September 12, 2007


From Joe Malchow’s Dartblog: “Does anyone happen to have an update on the continuing search of the Dartmouth English Faculty for a Shakespeare professor?”

My Answer (tongue firmly in cheek): I understand that Dartmouth has had multiple candidates for this Professor of English position specializing in Shakespeare. However, all of these candidates have a very limited repertoire of Shakespeare’s plays on which they can pedagogically pontificate. These include Othello’s Moorish instincts in “Othello” and Kate’s internal gender conflicts in “The Taming of the Shrew”. These wantings in turn stem from the (unfortunate) limited range of literature classes that all these candidates took in college and graduate school. They were all constrained by their specialization in African-American and Feminine & Gender Studies programs.

(Talk about looking through the wrong end of the telescope.)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Billet Doux

Dartmouth administration to Dartmouth alums, "F**k you!"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Logical Course

I recently wrote a blog that discussed the dearth of critical thinking in our society. See: logical thinking This continues a blogging trend of mine – questioning the modern U.S. ethos -- our children are encouraged these days to decide things based only upon feelings and not on logical thought. TV shows like “The Daily Show” seem to make their stripes based upon making illogic thought popular (and sometimes even funny). I even wonder whether the audience laughs because they agree with these political barbs (usually against the right) or because they somehow sense that these barbs are inherently illogical.

As a consequence I went to the Dartmouth college website to see what kind of emphasis Dartmouth currently places on the study of Logic (remember Logic used to be a major course of study among our not-too-distant ancestors). See: Dartmouth course list What I discovered there was somewhat disturbing. Dartmouth, a supposed premier liberal arts college, offers only seven undergraduate courses in logic – three in the Mathematics department and four in the Philosophy department. (The three courses in the Mathematics department are only offered on alternate years!) To contrast with this, there are 46 courses offered in the African Studies department, 25 courses offered in the Native American Studies department, and 32 courses offered in the Women’s and Gender Studies. I guess I now understand why Jon Stewart is greeted with a chorus of “whoop, whoop”s when he makes an inane and illogical comment about our current governance.

Not that feelings have absolutely no place in our decision making process. Onetime, I got a fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant that read: “When your head and your heart agree, you are seldom wrong.” If we could only hope to achieve this paltry norm?