My Silver Linings Playbook

Believing as I do that the words we use influence the way we experience the world, I have decided that rather than referring to this current situation as a “crisis” I will instead use the word “opportunity.”

I don’t mean to make light of what’s going on. My sunny outlook is entirely situational of course, and not in any way meant to downplay the very real and very serious impact of this pandemic: death, illness, sacrifice, extreme economic hardship, social isolation, anxiety, and more.

It’s just that for me and for many millions of others, doing our part to comply with stay-at-home orders means changing our expectations and our mindsets rather than enduring any actual hardship. Having to work from home, spend more time with my spouse and my cat, wear gloves and maintain social distancing, and watch a lot of Netflix isn’t exactly a crisis. It’s an opportunity.

Continue reading “My Silver Linings Playbook”

Much Ado About Learning

Shakespeare me

This year I’m participating in the Shakespeare 2020 Project, wherein members are challenged to read Shakespeare’s entire canon in one year. All 37 plays, 154 sonnets, plus poems, books and even a few things that he may not have actually written. So far, it’s going pretty well, but it’s early days yet.

Part of the fun of this experience (adventure?) (boondoggle?) is the distraction of discovering so many Shakespeare-related resources, recordings, productions, quotes, household products, t-shirts, and of course memes.

One quote in particular has stuck with me:

Compulsory Shakespeare gives a student as much love for literature as compulsory chapel gives them reverence for religion.

Isn’t that the truth.

In fact, when I mentioned to one of my friends that I would be spending (wasting?) (investing?) my entire year reading Shakespeare and that she might want to join me, she answered with an emphatic no! and went on to explain that she had been forced to study Shakespeare in high school and that it was such a bad experience — and it had made her feel like such a failure — that she has not and will never read anything he’d written ever again. Certainly, it’s fair to say, no love of literature was created there.

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We’re Talking About the Wrong College Admissions Scandal

The college admission bribery scandal is all my friends are talking about the last few days, but I really don’t understand why they all have their knickers in a bunch. Maybe the scandal did involve dozens of seemingly “respectable” families and millions of dollars and did temporarily sully the reputations of some of our nation’s best universities, but the only question that’s of interest to me is why on earth those cheating parents took such extraordinary, blatantly illegal, and frankly stupid measures to get their kids into college instead of using the perfectly acceptable methods like writing big checks and inviting the Dean of Admissions for a weekend at their beach house like everyone else does.

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Happy Birthday, Susan B. Anthony

“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.”

“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.”

“It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people – women as well as men.”

“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.”

Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820.

She was a tireless social reformer and advocate for women’s rights and played a pivotal role in securing the vote for American women.

Thanks, Donald! I’m Learning So Much

Who says Donald Trump’s administration will be bad for education? I’ve already learned so much!

For example: I’ve already learned the definition of the word Kleptocracy

(noun: government by those who seek chiefly personal gain and status at the expense of the governed)

and also Plutocracy

(noun: government by the wealthy).

I’ve learned a lot about citizens’ rights under our immigration laws.

I’ve learned so much about the rise of Hitler in 1930s Germany.

I’ve also learned how to spell demagoguery (that “u” kept throwing me off), and white-Supremacist (lower-case “w” capital “S”). Same pattern with neo-Nazi and anti-Semitism.

These last few weeks have been a real education. Can’t wait for more.