Author Archives: Peter Schmidt

16 postcard-length meditations on the Game of Thrones ending

Does this really need a spoiler alert?  OK, spoiler alert.  Don’t have a meltdown. Dany touching the Throne of Swords in the snow in 8.6 completes one of the dream-visions she had in the House of the Undead in the … Continue reading

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download Ecotone and/or Spleen (my 2 new poetry chapbooks)

Ecotone // 14 poems by Peter Schmidt, about wandering through the natural world … A downloadable pdf, from Pixel Press / Swarthmore You may also download SPLEEN (political poems protesting + reimagining the fate of society and nature). =====For either or … Continue reading

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Cultural biases built into Gmail and FB autocorrect spelling

Two examples: 1. No matter how many times I type a student’s name, Shaoni, in Gmail, Gmail’s autocorrect always wants to convert that to “Shane.” Ditto for Facebook. Shaoni is a South Asian name. Shane is a name popular with … Continue reading

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On Contradictions in Nathaniel Rich’s “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.”

Nathaniel Rich’s issue-long essay in this week’s New York Times Magazine receives a title worthy of a play: “Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change. A tragedy in two acts.” It’s definitely worth an hour or two of … Continue reading

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Garbage In / Garbage Out: Why is Facebook Using Its Powerful Resources To Help Teachers Teach Bad Common Core Standards In AP English Classes?

Facebook on its Summit Learning Resources Site for K-12 English & Language Arts teachers is now promoting ready-made lesson plans for teaching Common Core standards. Sounds good, right? But many of the lesson plans are screwed up because so many … Continue reading

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On Canons and “Headcanons” in Cultural Studies

Yes, “headcanons” (one word) is a term. Has been for awhile. Interesting conundrum: while the idea of an agreed-upon “canon” has been treated with increasing skepticism in literary studies (though not by all parties), the concept thrives in popular culture, … Continue reading

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Why Judith Butler is Overrated

One of many reasons why Judith Butler is grossly overrated: Here’s a passage from her new book Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, followed by 2 brief comments of mine, one a translation of Butler-ese into regular English. Overall, … Continue reading

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On Colson Whitehead’s new novel, _The Underground Railroad_

Three chapters of Colson Whitehead’s new novel, The Underground Railroad, were published as a special print supplement to last Sunday’s New York Times (Aug. 7). What’s so extraordinary about the novel’s vision is not that he makes the “underground railroad” … Continue reading

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Brief comments on Terry Eagleton’s latest book, Culture (2016)

See Culture by Terry Eagleton My rating: 4 of 5 stars Lucid and concise readings of Burke, Swift, Herder, Austen, Marx, Wilde, and T.S. Eliot, among others. The book is less focused and persuasive when Eagleton traces the long and … Continue reading

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Freedom and Fate in Game of Thrones, “The Door”

For Game of Thrones fans, please don’t read this until you’ve seen Season 6, Episode 5 (“The Door”). Normally stories about time travel dramatize the power of human agency, our potential ability to know and intervene in past events and … Continue reading

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