Things Noted Here and There
Antiquities Department: Stephen Oppenheimer,"Myths of British Ancestry," Prospect, October, claims that everything you thought you knew about British ancestry is wrong. Thanks to Arts and Letters Daily for the tip.
Grammaticks Department: The first thing that baffled me in elementary school was diagraming sentences. I never understood why it was important to know how to bracket"See Dick, Jane, and Spot run." And, yet, its lesson – that words play specific roles in coherent sentences – remains with me. Scheiss Weekly and elementaryhistoryteacher may be on to something, however. Take a sentence of historical importance and, even if it is more complex, the experience of close analysis cuts across fields of study and highlights major themes and subordinate ideas. Thanks to Jonathan Dresner for the tip.
Free Speech Department:"Conservative UGA Student Mag Trashed," AJC, 23 September, is further evidence that freedom of speech and the press on campus are at risk.
Gun Control Department: After Ohio State's Saul Cornell appeared in Minneapolis-St. Paul recently, the Star-Tribune's editorial,"The Constitution's Gun-Control Pledge," 23 September, generated a detailed response from our friend, Clayton Cramer. Clayton's finished reviewing the page proofs of his book, btw, which will appear anon by a Thomas Nelson imprint. Nelson needs to clean up its online biography of Clayton, however. It's been two and a half years since he last taught at Boisie State and George Fox's website has never heard of him. We wouldn't want Michael Bellesiles catching Clayton guilty of false advertising or anything.
Mass-Observation Department: Caleb Crain,"Surveillance Society: The Mass-Observation Movement and the Meaning of Everyday Life," New Yorker, 11 September, is a nicely crafted essay about the eccentric mass-observation movement in World War II-era England."Mysteries reside in the humblest everyday things," [said one of its founders];"they are a kind of legacy, and the poet, by examining them, can extract 'an idea of"what I am" from the past.'" For more, see Crain's Steamboats Are Ruining Everything. Thanks to Brian Sholis, In Search of the Miraculous, 22 September, for the tip.*
*See also: Sharon Howard's Early Modern Notes, which has lots of good links.
Radical History Department: Christopher Phelps,"Morris Slavin: 1913-2006," Against the Current, September/ October, marks the passing of a historian of the French revolution and one of the last American Trotskyists.
Clayton Earl Cramer - 9/24/2006
Thomas Nelson pulled that biographical information abou t me off the manuscript--and that information was several years old. I asked them to correct it a couple of weeks ago.
I taught a class at George Fox University's Boise branch in 2003, and it was a year or two, while administrators were changing there, before I was sure that I wasn't going to be teaching there again. (As near as I can tell, I gave out a few too many Bs, causing much consternation among the students, who were apparently under the impression that they would never get such low grades. These aren't traditional age students.)