Notes and Quotes, June 2014

Education

  • List of technology-enhanced activities for secondary English classes.
  • Examples of worthwhile technology-enhanced lesson plans.
  • Quick thoughts from the Hardings, homeschooling parents of ten who have sent seven kids to college by age 12.
  • Recently found this silly video I made for a class I was taking two years ago.  Amusing.
  • Instapundit nails it: the humanities lost relevance when they decided to preach that nothing has intrinsic value.  It’s been my experience that students (yes, even at-risk, underprivileged minorities!) appreciate the classics.  Everybody likes the egalitarian ideal of participation in the uniting, universal canon, rather than manufactured niche curricula that only panders to trends.

 

Language & Literature

  • Great WSJ essay on one of my favorite books, A Confederacy of Dunces.
  • Cute chart collects insults from famous authors who hated each other’s work.
  • Fascinating memoir of writing the script for Star Trek: Insurrection. Included here because it shares so much about that specific writing craft.  Also, Insurrection is often over-maligned—it is not great, but not nearly as bad as many say.  This long essay shows how it could have been great.
  • Long lost introduction by Anthony Burgess to Dubliners.

 

 

Living Well

 

 

Politics and Society

  • Great response to modern feminism from a masculine point of view.
  • The politically-correct thought police witch hunt now even targets science fiction.  SCIENCE FICTION!
  • Some important thoughts about how same-sex marriage will enlarge and strengthen the role of government in our lives.  Seriously, why does no one ever wonder what effect this will have on family courts and related services?  Think about it—the bureaucratic framework will need to be massive.  Same-sex marriage doesn’t get the government out of our bedrooms, it gets it in more than ever.
  • Great ideas from Ryan Anderson about how to help promote the pro-traditional marriage perspective in the larger cultural conversation today.  I especially like his explanation of the meanings and differences between the views at stake here, and the analogy to the decades of the abortion debate.
  • Research on “Why Dads Matter
  • Tons of research about the importance of fathers.
  • Why a prominent surgeon stopped doing sex change operations.  An implied point in here that’s so important to today’s culture that nobody talks about it: are all alternative feelings about sex supposed to be sacred, healthy, and celebrated?  Aren’t there any that are harmful and that should be criticized and opposed?  Any at all?  If not, doesn’t it seem odd that there’s this one area of life where a simple black and white view should lead to such a cultic worship of ideology?  That doesn’t scare you?

“Feminists have helped to put in place a quota system that harms the economy and, more importantly, violates the individual rights at the core of the democratic value system. Gay activists have helped to undermine the values on which the family has been based in our culture. Both movements are in denial of certain empirical facts—that “gender” is not a purely arbitrary artifact but relates to biological realities—that mothers are different from fathers—that a same-sex couple, however morally admirable, is not the same as a unit of a man and a woman and (if any) their children. Both movements have also contributed to the deepening interference of the state in civil society (“language police” and the highly dubious category of ”hate crimes”). Finally, and perhaps most seriously, they have demonized their critics, polarized public discourse, and violated the religious freedom of those who disagree with them.

I would modestly draw an additional conclusion: Beware of movements claiming to embody the spirit of the age.”

–from “From Counter-Culture to Cultural Orthodoxy

“The impact on policy is clear.  If people don’t know anything about the Bill of Rights, the Puritans, the Wars of Religion, and church-state relations, and if they have diminishing commitment to churches, then they won’t understand the importance of religious liberty.  When the Little Sisters of the Poor refuse to compromise their religious beliefs in order to accommodate Obamacare’s contraception mandate, youths with no historical knowledge and religious commitment of their own shrug, “What’s the big deal?  What’s the problem with these nuns?”  When the president goes on comedy shows and yuks it up with the host, people who remember George Washington grimace at this degradation of the Office of the President, but people who spend all their time on social media love it.  “He’s just like one of us,” they say.  They voted accordingly, even though Obama-Democratic policies mean that they will pay for the older generation’s entitlements and public pensions until they reach the age of 65 themselves.  They form the Founders’ nightmare, a citizenry with no civic virtue, regarding their country as a benefits machine and ignoring the lessons of the past and giving American greatness a sarcastic eye-roll.”

–from “Why the Millennials are Doing So Poorly

 

Religion

  • Moving true story of an African missionary
  • My favorite scene from the classic film The Agony and the Ecstasy.  After much frustration and conflict, Charlton Heston as Michelangelo communes with nature and receives the inspiration for the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
  • Syllabus for UofU course “The Book of Mormon as Literature.”  Looks pretty decent, though truncated from what it could be—the demands of a realistic schedule, I suppose.  Still, I’d be interested in taking this course…or teaching it!
  • Last week I found this 90’s song I’d been looking for online for years: Felicia Sorensen’s amazing cover of “How Can I Keep From Singing?”  First song every one should hear in the Celestial Kingdom.
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