Monthly Archives: April 2006

One More Dog On the Pile

I…can’t…help…myself. Wii?

Posted in Games and Gaming | 5 Comments

Kaavya Viswanathan, Christopher Paolini, and Remixing

The first few examples that I read of Kaavya Viswanathan’s alleged plagiarism, I thought, “Well, that’s not so bad, or that a bit ambiguous.” Then I saw more and more examples and the ambiguity went away. Nor, like just about … Continue reading

Posted in Intellectual Property, Popular Culture | 11 Comments

Editor, Edit Thyself!

For whatever reason, I’ve been really focused this semester on commenting on the writing style of my students. Maybe because I’m seeing more students who have a handle on building their essay around an argument or a strong analytic perspective … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Blogging | 24 Comments

Designing the Final Exam

One complaint you hear fairly often from students about professors or courses involves exams whose relationship to material covered is vague or unclear. Sometimes students feel like they cannot reasonably guess what terms they will be asked to identify or … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 9 Comments

No Straight Lines

Jane Jacobs has died. To my mind, she was exactly what an intellectual should be, in every respect. I like the quote from the Globe and Mail referenced at Crooked Timber: “She believed implicitly that there was no such thing … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellany | 1 Comment

Lolly Lolly Lolly, or the Adverb Pusher

I’m not the right person to make this complaint, considering how prolix my blog entries are, how hastily overwritten they can be. (I’m thinking of bringing a few of my entries into a class to show how an edit can … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 18 Comments

The Shape of the Gordian Knot: Advocacy and the Classroom

I’ve been trying to figure out why a blog entry by Erin O’Connor (whom I’m glad to see is actively blogging again at her own site, as well as continuing her participating at Actablog) has been gnawing at me. (Her … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 14 Comments

Eternal Return

The four-year cycling of some issues at colleges and universities is pretty damn annoying sometimes. Right now, for example, we’re voting again here at Swarthmore about whether to have a mascot or not. We just did the same thing a … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 21 Comments

The Concept of Moral Panic

The responses to my post on Flanagan’s oral sex article raise some interesting questions about the concept of “moral panic”. I agree with Alan Jacobs that the accusation of moral panic is easily misused to preemptively shut down public discussion … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Politics | 5 Comments


Is there any purpose or meaning that the word “societal” has which is not equally well served by “social”? Is “societal” just one of those words that makes you sound more policy-wonkish? Or does it really have some more specific … Continue reading

Posted in Academia | 16 Comments