By equating good language with good people and bad language with bad people, we trick ourselves into believing that we (that is, people who use language well) could never fall for someone like Hitler.
Last year, when I went up for tenure, I had a hard time quantifying my teaching and administrative work -- which at San José State University get collected together under the heading, "Academic Assignment." I thought I kept pretty detailed records, but my tenure portfolio called the lie to that assumption. Not because I couldn't … Continue reading Academic Assignment by the Numbers
Doctor Jill Biden wrote and defended a doctoral dissertation in 2007—the crowning achievement of an advanced educational process that entitles a person to the professional title, “Doctor.” Hence, her title. On December 11, 2020, noted literary arbiter and cultural critic, mister Joseph Epstein, declared Biden’s professional distinction “fraudulent, not to say a touch comic” in … Continue reading The Revolting Logic of Joseph Epstein’s “Unpromising Title”
‘Remediation’ in the United States: A Brief History San José State University Academic Retreat February 11, 2016 My area of research is the history of writing instruction in American higher education. More specifically, I study the functions that writing instruction plays in institutions of higher education. The organizers of today's event invited me to talk … Continue reading ‘Remediation’ in the United States: A Brief History
“Why College Writing Matters”Ryan SkinnellUNT Writing Program OrientationAugust 20, 2014Those of you who know me, and especially those of you who have taken my classes, know that I am pretty cynical about composition. My invitation to talk today about “Why College Writing Matters” may therefore seem like the height of irony. But obviously I don’t … Continue reading Why College Writing Matters
In response to:EDUCATION; Want to write? Read; [HOME EDITION] Michael Skube. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Aug 27, 2006. pg. M.3A few years back, in preparation for hordes of students flooding the halls of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools alike, Michael Skube sent out a familiar (read: prototypical) call-to-arms, decrying the declining state of … Continue reading Want to Write? Write
Dear Readers, A note on the title of this blog: Dissoi logoi is an ancient Greek concept traditionally translated as "different words." It is generally understood as the practice of arguing both sides of an issue in order to better understand your opponent's point of view in an argument. Other people, however, have argued that … Continue reading Notes on a Name: Dissoi Topoi
Dear Reader, No doubt you've wandered here accidentally, and I am happy to have you stop by, if only for a minute to browse and scurry. Chances are that you're looking for something witty and urbane to fill the void in your life left empty by the discontinuation of "The Jack Benny Show." Given enough … Continue reading Welcome