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

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Charlton Heston: Winning the Culture War

So the latest remake in the Planet of the Apes series seems to be a hit.  That reminds me of the original, which was really quite good (Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling  wrote the script).  That reminds me of Charlton Heston, who starred in the original, and said the famous “Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!” line.  That reminds me of a great speech Heston gave at Harvard Law School in 1999, where he excoriated political correctness, victim mentalities, and every other sort of social “gotcha” game that ends up facilitating a coarser, weaker world. 

I read a transcript of this my senior year in college, soon after the speech was given.  As a youth, like all good, young mass culture consumers, I was reflexively liberal, swallowing whole every bit of media indoctrination presented to me.  However, throughout my college years, a confluence of factors started to gel, and I started to see the world differently.  This speech was definitely one of those factors.  I immediately saw the wisdom in it.

Below is audio from YouTube.  This site has a transcript.  Audio is also available from Harvard Law here

Charlton Heston, “Winning the Cultural War”

 

Moses died this weekend.  So did Michaelangelo.  So did Ben Hur, John the Baptist, and Marc Antony, not to mention the heroes from The Omega Man and Planet of the Apes

Charlton Heston was cool.  Not only did he build an impressive catalogue of work, he helped shape my political understanding.  Around the time I graduated college, I read the now-famous speech he had recently given at Harvard Law School.  Just starting to come out of the fog of juvenile liberalism, I found a lot in Heston’s speech that rang true, and it really helped set me on the path to conservatism. 

In short, Heston encouraged us to resist being cowed by political correctness, and to speak up for decent common sense no matter what the cost.  If you haven’t read it, you should.  In Heston’s memory, here it is:

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/charltonhestonculturalwar.htm