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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; Ph.D.in higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book WALTER ONG'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO CULTURAL STUDIES: THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF THE WORD AND I-THOU COMMUNICATION (Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2000; 2nd ed. 2009, forthcoming). The first edition won the 2001 Marshall McLuhan Award for Outstanding Book in the Field of Media Ecology conferred by the Media Ecology Association. For further information about his education and his publications, see his UMD homepage: Click here to visit Dr. Farrell's homepage.
On September 10 and 22, 2009, he discussed Walter Ong's work on the blog radio talk show "Ethics Talk" that is hosted by Hope May in philosophy at Central Michigan University. Each hour-long show has been archived and is available for people who missed the live broadcast to listen to. Here are the website addresses for the two archived shows:
Saturday, August 20, 2016(1 comments)
Eric McLuhan Reminds Us of Connection Consciousness in Roman Catholicism (REVIEW ESSAY)
We in Western culture today tend to think of connection consciousness among indigenous peoples, including American Indians. But Eric McLuhan, son of Marshall and Corinne McLuhan, in effect reminds us of connection consciousness in Roman Catholic tradition in his 2015 book. But it is a wee bit under-researched. Connection consciousness in Roman Catholic tradition is far more extensive than what he suggests, as I will indicate.
Sunday, August 7, 2016(1 comments)
Stanley Fish's New Book WINNING ARGUMENTS (Review Essay)
As OEN readers know, Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party's presidential candidate in 2016, likes to categorize people as winners and losers. I'd like to be a winner in life, but I can remember times when I felt like a loser. In arguments, I'd prefer to win. I don't aim to lose arguments, but I can remember times when I have not won arguments. But will Stanley Fish's new book WINNING ARGUMENTS really help me win arguments?
Friday, August 5, 2016(6 comments)
Both Brooks and Blow Analyze Trump
No doubt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party's presidential candidate in 2016, is evoking deep hates and fears and resentments in many white working-class men without a four-year college degree who ardently support him. Recently two regular columnists at the New York Times, conservative David Brooks and liberal Charles M. Blow, analyzed Trump and his ways of appealing to his supporters in competing op-ed pieces.
Friday, July 29, 2016 Lesley M. M. Blume on Hemingway's Hypermasculinity (REVIEW ESSAY)
Through his personal and public life, Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) exemplified the spirit of hypermasculinity, which he also celebrated in his breakthrough novel THE SUN ALSO RISES (1926). When Donald J. Trump today says that he wants to make America great again, he means that he wants to bring back the spirit of hypermasculinity that Hemingway helped popularize. As a result, Lesley M. M. Blume's book on Hemingway is timely.
Monday, July 4, 2016(10 comments)
The Declaration of Independence and Our American Identity
Will our American covenant hold, or fall apart, in the 2016 presidential election? Our idealistic Declaration of Independence will be put to the test in the 2016 presidential election by the mud-slinging of the Republican presidential candidate. Perhaps we Americans can draw some strength from the Servant Songs of the anonymous ancient Hebrew prophet known as Second Isaiah, especially from the Suffering Servant Song.
Friday, June 24, 2016(3 comments)
Clara Bingham Revisits the 1969-1970 Year of Revolution (REVIEW ESSAY)
In her informative new book WITNESS TO THE REVOLUTION: RADICALS, RESISTERS, VETS, HIPPIES, AND THE YEAR AMERICA LOST ITS MIND AND FOUND ITS SOUL, New York-based journalist Clara Bingham inter-cuts passages from numerous interviews she conducted with certain people who were involved in the tumultuous and still controversial events between August 1969 and September 1970. But her book could help ignite anti-60s conservatives.
Monday, June 13, 2016(2 comments)
Secondary Oral Culture Roils Our Psyches Deep Down
Walter J. Ong's account of the communications media that accentuate sound in our contemporary secondary oral culture can help us understand why many conservatives today, including many white males who support the wealthy developer Donald J. Trump of New York.
Sunday, May 29, 2016 Sebastian Junger's New Book TRIBE: ON HOMECOMING AND BELONGING (Review Essay)
Monday, May 30, 2016, will be Memorial Day. Surely it is fitting for us to remember those American soldiers who died in combat. But Sebastian Junger's new book TRIBE: ON HOMECOMING AND BELONGING reminds us not to forget the problems of post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD) and suicide among combat veterans after they return. I found certain parts of his elegantly written short book called to my mind numerous associations.
Monday, May 23, 2016(7 comments)
Disaffected White Men
Many disaffected white men have supported Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont in the Democratic presidential primaries, just as certain other disaffected white men have supported the billionaire developer Donald Trump of New York in the Republican presidential primaries. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, the white novelist Mary Gordon inadvertently provides us with a hint about why so many white men are disaffected.
Friday, May 20, 2016(1 comments)
In Memoriam: John Bradshaw (1933-2016)
Progressives and liberals who are interested in personal development and growth may already be familiar with the recovering alcoholic and psychotherapist and self-help evangelist John Bradshaw. Drawing on his 2014 book, I will review what his use of Silvan Tomkins' work on nine basic human affects (feelings). I will also briefly discuss how Bradshaw's perceptive psychological insights can help us understand conservatives.
Wednesday, May 18, 2016(3 comments)
Is Donald J. Trump a Fascist Candidate, or a Semi-Fascist Candidate?
Is Donald J. Trump a fascist candidate, or a semi-fascist candidate? I don't want to sound unduly alarmist about Trump. But I want to review nine features of fascism that Robert O. Paxton in history at Columbia University discerns as characteristics of fascism in Europe in the twentieth century. Then I want to turn to Peter Steinfels recent op-ed piece describing Trump as a semi-fascist.
Friday, April 22, 2016(3 comments)
Sarah Bakewell Wants Us to Become Existentialists (REVIEW ESSAY)
In her informative and accessible new book AT THE EXISTENTIAL CAFE: FREEDOM, BEING, AND APRICOT COCKTAILS: WITH JEAN-PAUL SARTRE, SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR, ALBERT CAMUS, MARTIN HEIDEGGER, KARL JASPERS, EDMUND HUSSERL, MAURICE MERLEAU-PONTY, AND OTHERS (2016), the British author Sarah Bakewell aims to persuade people in the English-speaking world to reconsider the existentialists. -- and perhaps become existentialists ourselves.
Saturday, April 16, 2016(1 comments)
Marcia Pally Does the Heavy Lifting to Advance Bernie Sanders' Political Revolution (REVIEW ESSAY)
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has been channeling the ancient Hebrew prophet Amos. But our contemporary American consciousness and culture are a wee bit more evolved. As a result, the political revolution that Senator Sanders calls for in the U.S. will probably need the heavy lifting that Marcia Pally ably undertakes in her new book COMMONWEALTH AND COVENANT: ECONOMICS, POLITICS, AND THEOLOGIES OF RELATIONALITY.
Thursday, March 31, 2016 William Egginton Celebrates Cervantes' Achievement (REVIEW ESSAY)
OEN readers might want to take a step back from the news cycle by checking out young William Egginton's accessible new book THE MAN WHO INVENTED FICTION: HOW CERVANTES USHERED IN THE MODERN WORLD. When Cervantes died in 1616, the American colonies were struggling. But the emerging American culture went on to epitomize the modern world that Egginton credits Cervantes with ushering in. But what about American culture today?
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 What's Coming Next in the Republican Presidential Primary?
In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I want to give Donald J. Trump credit for NOT taking out his male appendage and displaying it on national television to show us how big it is -- after he had boasted on national television about how big it is. By NOT doing this, he showed a modicum of restraint. More recently, he and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas have exchanged barbs about their wives. So what's coming next?
Tuesday, March 15, 2016(1 comments)
The American Catholic Law Professor M. Cathleen Kaveny Addresses Our Culture Wars (REVIEW ESSAY)
Many non-Catholic progressives and liberals may understandably be weary of conservative American Catholic cultural warriors. The American Catholic law professor M. Cathleen Kaveny addresses our contemporary American culture wars in her new book PROPHECY WITHOUT CONTEMPT: RELIGIOUS DISCOURSE IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE. Ironically, it has come out at a time when Donald J. Trump is freely expressing contempt in the public square.
Saturday, March 5, 2016(3 comments)
President Donald J. Trump?
Progressives and liberals should carefully consider the possibility that Donald J. Trump could be elected the next president of the United States. At the present time, his grass-roots appeal is spreading like a contagion in the Republican primaries. He could emerge as the Republican Party's presidential candidate in 2016, and he could be elected president of the United States in November 2016.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016(3 comments)
Progressives and Liberals Should Keep an Eye on the Republican Presidential Primaries
Progressives and liberals should keep an eye on the Republican presidential primaries. For understandable reasons, progressives and liberals may not be interested in the Republican presidential contestants. But one of them will emerge as the Republican Party's candidate. Thus far, Donald J. Trump has emerged as the front-runner in the primaries because of the insurgency of anti-60s rage-aholics in the Republican Party.
Monday, February 29, 2016(1 comments)
Three Cheers for Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette's 1990 Book: Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! (REVIEW ESSAY)
OEN's Rob Kall is interested in charming psychopaths. One way to understand charming psychopaths is to recognize that they are manifesting certain "shadow" forms of the archetypes that Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette ably discuss in their accessible short 1990 book about the four masculine archetypes of maturity. Of course women may also be charming psychopaths, who are manifesting "shadow" forms of the feminine archetypes.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016(1 comments)
E.J. Dionne's New Book about Radical Conservatives (REVIEW ESSAY)
Progressives and liberals who are interested in following the old military advice to know the enemy might want to read E.J. Dionne's new book WHY THE RIGHT WENT WRONG: CONSERVATISM -- FROM GOLDWATER TO THE TEA PARTY AND BEYOND. Dionne says the right went wrong by following the radical conservative Senator Barry Goldwater, who lost the 1964 presidential election, instead of the moderate Republican President Eisenhower.
Saturday, January 30, 2016(5 comments)
Hillary Rodham Clinton as Symbol of the 1960s
Hillary Rodham Clinton (born in 1947) may emerge as the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016. But her political journey in the 1960s and 1970s and later makes her a symbol of the 1960s. For decades now, conservatives have used anti-60s rhetoric to denounce the 1960s and 1970s. So to understand the 1960s and 1970s, we should try to grasp the import of Walter J. Ong's account of print culture 1.0 and oral culture 2.0.
Sunday, January 24, 2016 Bill Clinton's Sexual Recklessness and the 2016 Election (REVIEW ESSAY)
Progressive and liberal young women and men will learn more about President Bill Clinton's sexual recklessness with the young White House intern Monica Lewinsky by reading Gil Troy's accessible new book THE AGE OF CLINTON: AMERICA IN THE 1990S (2015). To be sure, President Clinton's sexual relationship with her was consensual. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton carries baggage from the past that Bernie Sanders doesn't carry.
Monday, January 11, 2016 Dr. Larycia Hawkins of Wheaton College in Illinois
Progressives and liberals should be concerned about how the Wheaton College administration is proceeding against Dr. Larycia Hawkins. On December 10th, she posted a statement of solidarity with Muslim Americans on her Facebook page. It prompted outcries from other evangelical Protestants to the administration of the evangelical Protestant college. On January 4th, the administration initiated the process of terminating her.
Sunday, November 22, 2015 Rabbi Jonathan Sacks Confronts Religious Violence (REVIEW ESSAY)
The recent attacks on Paris have made us aware, once again, of religious violence. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks confronts religious violence in his new book NOT IN GOD'S NAME: CONFRONTING RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE (2015). If you are interested in the religious violence of radical jihadists and suicide bombers, you will most likely find his new book enormously thought-provoking. I did. But I don't find everything he says entirely convincing.
Saturday, November 7, 2015 Conservative Journalist Tod Lindberg's New Book (REVIEW ESSAY)
Progressives and liberals are aware that movement conservatives tend to use fear and fear-mongering to advance movement conservatism in the United States. In the accessible new book THE HEROIC HEART: GREATNESS ANCIENT AND MODERN (2015), the conservative journalist Tod Lindberg cherry picks his way through a vast sweep of our Western cultural history to help advance movement conservatism in the U.S.
Thursday, October 22, 2015 On Harry G. Frankfurt's Book ON INEQUALITY (Review Essay)
Progressives and liberals concerned about the inequality of wealth of the super-rich might want to look at Harry G. Frankfurt's short new book ON INEQUALITY. Basically, he argues that we should not be concerned about wealth inequality, but about eliminating poverty. But would it be practical for progressives and liberals to talk up the idea of eliminating poverty in the United States?
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 Walter Kirn Alerts Us about Big Data and Big Surveillance
Walter Kirn (born in 1962), a self-described neurotic, alerts us to the existential threat posed by Big Data and Big Surveillance. But the French existentialist philosopher Louis Lavelle (1883-1951) suggests how Kirn and others can overcome neurotic anxiety aroused by such existential threats.
Tuesday, October 6, 2015 Clifford W. DeSilva's First Book (REVIEW ESSAY)
Progessives and liberals who are interested in working further on their psycho-spiritual development and growth might be interested in Clifford W. DeSilva's new self-help book NOT A SERPENT, NOT A ROPE (2015). In it, Clifford W. DeSilva recounts a number of stories that he thinks are suitable for contemplating because one story may "worm its way into your heart and break down barriers to the divine" (quoted on page 22).
Saturday, September 26, 2015(1 comments)
Are You Ready for BIG MAGIC? (Review Essay)
Are you ready for "Big Magic" in your life? If you are, Elizabeth Gilbert is ready to help you with her aptly titled new self-help book BIG MAGIC: CREATIVE LIVING BEYOND FEAR. But moving beyond fear is easier said than done. Fear is at the base of abandonment feelings. It is not easy to resolve that early childhood fear. However, when it is resolved, it can unleash creative living.
Tuesday, September 22, 2015(1 comments)
Pope Francis and Jean Houston: Brother, Can You Paradigm?
At the present time, Pope Francis is visiting the United States. However, in a recent article in the NEW YORK TIMES, Jim Yardley quote an Argentine professor of the sociology of religion as claiming that Pope Francis does not represent an empowering force, but a paternalistic force. So does Pope Francis represent an empowering force, as Jean Houston does, or does he represent a paternalistic force?
Sunday, September 20, 2015(1 comments)
An Open Letter to the Honorable Jerry Brown, Governor of California
As a follow up to my OEN piece "SOS to American Politicians: Save Our Schools!" I am writing an open letter to the Honorable Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, urging him to establish a national showcase multi-year program using Gary Simpkins' approach to reading instruction in the public schools in Oakland. John Rickford, the African American linguist at Stanford University, is familiar with Gary Simpkins' work.
Friday, September 18, 2015(6 comments)
SOS to American Politicians: Save Our Schools!
What do standardized IQ tests measure? Are the results on standardized IQ tests important for any reason? Let me explain how I see standardized IQ tests and IQ test results. If my view has any merit, then my hypothesis about IQ test results may be worth testing. My hypothesis is testable. But it would take big bucks to test it properly.
Sunday, September 6, 2015(1 comments)
Donald Lazere's New Book Might Interest Progressives and Liberals (REVIEW ESSAY)
Progressives and liberals who are interested in education and political literacy might find Donald Lazere's new book POLITICAL LITERACY: DEFENDING ACADEMIC DISCOURSE AGAINST POSTMODERN PLURALISM (2015) engaging to read. He styles himself as "an unreconstructed New Leftist." His book takes me back to an earlier period in my life when I was publishing articles in composition and rhetoric and to many of my earlier interests.
Saturday, September 5, 2015(5 comments)
David Brooks Predicts a Course Correction Coming in American Culture
The conservative New York Times columnist predicts that a course correction in American culture is coming. If such a course correction in American culture were to emerge progressives and liberals might welcome it. But will such a course correction emerge?
Monday, August 31, 2015(1 comments)
The Pope's Eco-Encyclical and Mario Vargas Llosa's New Book (REVIEW ESSAY)
The Peruvian novelist and essayist Mario Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. In 2012, he published a short book of essays. In 2015, his book was translated into English as NOTES ON THE DEATH OF CULTURE: ESSAYS ON SPECTACLE AND SOCIETY, translated by John King. Like Pope Francis' eco-encyclical, Vargas Llosa's book is a wide-ranging lamentation about our contemporary culture -- and both are jeremiads.
Saturday, August 29, 2015(7 comments)
Donald Trump's antics are not amusing
At times, progressives and liberals may be amused by Donald Trump's antics as a candidate for the Republican Party's presidential nomination. His antics include boasting about himself and insulting his opponents and others. Those antics are not attractive. He is a RINO. His antics may shake up the movement conservatives who have long dominated the Republican Party. But he's not likely to emerge as the Republican candidate.
Friday, August 21, 2015(2 comments)
Ta-Nehisi Coates' BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME (Review Essay)
In light of the riots in Baltimore recently, progressives and liberals may want to read Ta-Nehisi Coates' short new book BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME. Coates in an African American who grew up in West Baltimore. He candidly recounts how fear pervaded his life growing up there. More importantly, he recognizes how fear underlies the dominant American culture against which he sees himself struggling.
Sunday, August 16, 2015(1 comments)
HOPKINS, THE SELF, AND GOD is Ong's Crowning Achievement (Review Essay)
The short but densely packed book HOPKINS, THE SELF, AND GOD (1986) is Walter J. Ong's crowning achievement. A Kindle version of it is now available at Amazon.com. So I'd like to take the occasional to write about it. The poetry of the Victorian Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) is not everybody's cup of tea. But for those who are interested in his poetry and life, Ong's book repays careful study.
Thursday, August 13, 2015 A Dialogue with Pope Francis' Eco-Encyclical (REVIEW ESSAY)
Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the United States in September. In his major public statements during his visit, he most likely will develop certain themes from his recent encyclical letter about climate change. In his eco-encyclical, he repeatedly says that he welcomes dialogue about the views he expresses in it. So in the spirit of back-forth dialogue, I will highlight certain points he makes and comment on them.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015(2 comments)
Pope Francis Versus American Catholic Theocons?
Pope Francis is doctrinally and temperamentally conservative. But he may be a wee bit less conservative than the American Catholic theocons that Damon Linker describes in his book THE THEOCONS: SECULAR AMERICA UNDER SIEGE (2006). Unsurprisingly, the pope's 2015 eco-encyclical challenges many American Catholic theocons -- and other American conservatives. The pope's thinking was deeply influenced by Romano Guardini.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015(2 comments)
Do Rob Kall and other OEN readers want to support Pope Francis' critique of capitalism and social Darwinism?
The news media have reported Pope Francis' critique of capitalism and its social Darwinism. But the news media have reported mostly soundbites. The pope is scheduled to visit the U.S. in September, at which time he will predictably repeat his critique. Now, Rob Kall and perhaps other OEN readers might generally agree with the pope's critique. But his critique deserves to be examined for more than just soundbites.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015(3 comments)
A Reply to Rob Kall's Comment
In response to something Rob Kall said in an email message, I wrote a piece titled "On Ong's Thought and Capitalism: An Essay for Rob Kall" and published it at OEN (dated 7/21/2015). Today Rob Kall posted a comment on that piece. Rather than try to use the reply feature, I have chosen to write this new piece as a reply to his comment.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015(4 comments)
On Ong's Thought and Modern Capitalism: An Essay for Rob Kall
After Rob Kall read a short essay of mine about Walter J. Ong's thought, he sent me a brief email message saying that he did not quite understand what all Ong means by the world-as-view sense of life, which was involved in modern capitalism. So I have undertaken to write this piece to explain Ong's thought further. I show that there is reason to hope that Pope Francis' critique of modern capitalism may resonate with Americans.
Sunday, July 19, 2015(1 comments)
An Argument Against the Taxpayer-Funded Research Advocated by Richard A. Friedman, M.D.
Writing in the New York Times, Richard A. Friedman, M.D., a psychiatrist at a prestigious New York City medical school, advocates increasing taxpayer-funded well-controlled psychotherapy clinical trials. But I see no good reason for increasing public for such research. No one way works for everybody. There's no Procrustean bed. Each person needs to find ways that work for him or her.
Saturday, July 11, 2015 Scribner's Book about American Catholic Theocons (REVIEW ESSAY)
In the book THE THEOCONS: SECULAR AMERICA UNDER SIEGE (2006), Damon Linker alerted progressives and liberals to watch out for American Catholic theocons. Now Todd Scribner, an employee at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, pushes back in his own book about certain American Catholic theocons, A PARTISAN CHURCH: AMERICAN CATHOLICISM AND THE RISE OF CONSERVATIVE CATHOLICS (Catholic U of America P, 2015).
Friday, July 3, 2015(1 comments)
Dionysian Mysticism and Deification (REVIEW ESSAY)
Two new books published by the Catholic University of America Press can help us deepen our understanding of C. G. Jung's thought about Dionysian mysticism and deification. Dr. Jung himself had profound mystical experiences in 1944 involving Dionysian mysticism and deification. But the most important aspect of Jung's work involves the cultivation of the unio mentalis and virtue -- not the rare experience of the unio mystica.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015(1 comments)
The Pope Is Coming! The Pope Is Coming!
The itinerary for Pope Francis' visit to the United States in September has been released. But it's not hard to predict certain themes that he will advance in his various prepared speeches.
Sunday, June 28, 2015(1 comments)
Southern Cultural Pride
Can anything constructive possibly emerge from Dylann Roof's killing spree in Charleston, South Carolina?
Tuesday, June 23, 2015 In Praise of Virginia Woolf's Last Essays
St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle of Brother Sun" is an example of praise poetry. But Pope Francis' encyclical about the environment, in which he pays homage to St. Francis of Assisi's "Canticle," is mostly a jeremiad. No doubt there is no shortage of evil in the world to lament. Nevertheless, in the spirit of praise poetry, I want to sing the praise of Virginia Woolf's last essays, albeit in prose.
Thursday, June 18, 2015(10 comments)
Why Progressives and Liberals Should Be Wary of Pope Francis' Encyclical About the Environment
No doubt the Roman Catholic Church suffered an enormous loss of credibility as the result of the priest-sex-abuse scandal and cover up. Kieran Tapsell has explained how the church's canon law contributed to that scandal and cover up. But Pope Francis has NOT yet changed the church's canon law to stop further clergy abuse and cover ups. Instead, he has issued an encyclical about the environment to distract us.
Saturday, June 13, 2015(3 comments)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Virginia Woolf played a number of public roles in her lifetime. She was a feminist, pacifist, activist, lecturer, novelist, essayist, book reviewer, biographer, and publisher (with her husband). In her mature novels she expresses her sense of communion consciousness in various ways. For this reason, progressives and liberals can cultivate their own sense of communion consciousness by reading her novels.
Sunday, May 31, 2015(2 comments)
Tapsell analyzes the international priest-sex-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church (REVIEW ESSAY)
The news media amply covered the international priest-sex-abuse scandal and cover up in the Roman Catholic Church. In the book POTIPHAR'S WIFE: THE VATICAN'S SECRET AND CHILD SEX ABUSE (2014), retired Australian lawyer and judge Kieran Tapsell thoroughly analyzes the decisive role of the church's canon law in producing the scandal and cover up. Will Pope Francis clean up the mess the church made by the scandal and cover up?
Saturday, May 30, 2015(2 comments)
Peter Gay's Tribute to Modernism
Peter Gay (1923-2015) was a prolific scholar. His book MODERNISM: THE LURE OF HERESY: FROM BAUDELAIRE TO BECKETT AND BEYOND is a deeply researched tribute to modernism. In honor of Gay's memory, I want to discuss his book. Modernism was an important part of my undergraduate education (1962-1966). Ironically, Gay sees modernism as having played itself out by the end of the 1960s. But we may still draw fruit from modernism.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015(2 comments)
The Awe Spectrum: A Reply to Rob Kall's "Awe is a Bottom-up Experience"
Rob Kall, the founder and publisher of OpEdNews.com and the host of a radio talk show, published the article "Awe is a Bottom-up Experience" on May 24, 2015. In reply, I want to suggest that we should think of the awe spectrum. At one end of the awe spectrum, there are people who are incapable of experiencing awe. However, not all people who are capable of experiencing awe are also capable of drawing fruit for their experience
Friday, May 22, 2015 I Support Katie Roiphe's Moral Stand
Katie Roiphe (born in 1968), a professor at New York University, has taken a public stand in her article "Why Professors Should Never Have Affairs With Their Students" at Slate Magazine online. I support her stand by drawing on Walter J. Ong's characterization of the professor-student relationship as a fiduciary relationship. But I also discuss certain other matters she raises.
Monday, May 18, 2015(2 comments)
Harold Bloom's Thought-Provoking New Book (REVIEW ESSAY)
Stop the presses! It's time to tell the world what the literary critic Harold Bloom has figured out about the highest use of imaginative literature for our American way of life. After his years of suffering like a secular Modern Job, Bloom has emerged as a Modern Prometheus in his new book THE DAEMON KNOWS: LITERARY GREATNESS AND THE AMERICAN SUBLIME (2015).