• Culture conservatism …and the other kind

    by  • January 31, 2013 • 0 Comments

    I had just finished reading E.D. Hirsch’s “A Wealth of Words” in City Journal when I learned our newly installed governor, Pat McCrory, had appeared earlier in the day on Bill Bennett’s radio show to talk about his plan for higher education. McCrory said he had directed staff to draft a plan that would...

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    Of Pindar, mythy movies, Lance and Manti…

    by  • January 19, 2013 • 0 Comments

    The media ought to stay out of athletes’ private lives. All that matters is what happens on the field. Right? Except, of course, when there’s a sweet, inspiring story about pluck, determination and overcoming obstacles. A girlfriend who just happened to die the same day as your grandmother, say. Or beating cancer and raising...

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    Sports, media and women — Chet’s still in the truck

    by  • January 9, 2013 • 0 Comments

    I teach a class titled “Sports Media Survey,” about the charmed synergy of sports and media, from hunter-gatherer days to the present. It’s offered only during fall semester, but sometimes I wish it ran all year long — there’s so much fodder. Almost certainly, we’d be talking about the apotheosis of (a former) Miss...

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    Appearance, narrative, reality and truth

    by  • January 6, 2013 • 0 Comments

    A treasured theme of my high school English papers has been troubling me again lately. I used to think of the tensions between appearance and reality in terms of misapprehension or deception — Oedipus unwittingly bedding his mother, or Viola pretending to be a man in “Twelfth Night.” I suppose this suited my teen...

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    Debatable

    by  • October 5, 2012 • 0 Comments

    See, this is why I hate debates. Not simply because my guy “lost,” but because “win” and “lose” are potential outcomes. This isn’t the varsity debate team at the state semi-finals. But that’s how it plays in U.S. politics. The presidential election is not so much the horse race of cliché analogy as a...

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    Cotton khakis slightly smoldering

    by  • September 6, 2012 • 0 Comments

    Yes, it was classic Bubba Wednesday night, all folksy and humbly didactic, God bless ‘im. And his insistence on facts and arithmetic was refreshing, after last week’s Mendacity Fest in Tampa. So I was discouraged to check the washingtonpost.com Fact Checkers Thursday and find some FALSEs pinned to Clinton’s speech. First, Sarah Kliff, scrutinizing...

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    Sincerity is bull

    by  • August 29, 2012 • 1 Comment

    I’ve had a serious case of potty-mouth lately. Well, I’ve always been prone to swearing. I blame my f- er, my parents, pious people who never let propriety stand in the way of a good goddamn. Of course, their efforts to sway me  from vulgarity failed miserably. But my recent bout of blasphemy comes...

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    I Got the Swing State Blues

    by  • July 26, 2012 • 0 Comments

    Oh, the joys of living in a swing state. I have pretty much given up watching television because every other commercial is a presidential campaign attack ad. And there’s still four months to go. I knew North Carolina was “in play,” as the politicos like to say — we went for Obama by a...

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    Going positive

    by  • July 23, 2012 • 1 Comment

    How many people have to die to suspend a presidential campaign for a day? Seriously – had, say, only eight persons died in the Aurora shooting, would the candidates have shut down their campaigns? What about five? I ask similar questions of my Basic Reporting students: Suppose Al Qaeda had quietly murdered 3,000 people...

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