Monthly Archives: December 2012

The Problem of False Consciousness

Hello, all – hope that the holiday season has gone well for everyone, and keeps going strong into the new year. Today, I wanted to add to the criticism surrounding the NRA’s response to the recent spate of gun violence, but I think that there are plenty of other voices rightfully targeting the idea that […]

What Does “Rule of Law” Mean?

It’s begun again, and this time, with good reason: the massacre at Newtown, Connecticut is the poster event for what gun-regulation advocates have been warning the country about for years. Loose United States gun laws, coupled with inadequate mental health support, means that it’s easy for people who want to commit maximum carnage to acquire […]

The Influence of Euphemism

Following up on my piece about Detroit, I wanted to take a look at the cause of all the trouble out there in Michigan today: the so-called “right to work” laws. Like “patient-centered care,” right to work is a euphemism whose particulars have little to do with what the words actually mean. (In the case […]

Detroit’s Dictator

Paralysis and deadlock are watchwords in today’s political commentary: with the national government split between two acrimonious parties, it’s little wonder that democracy today seems designed to get nothing done. Often, that opinion is dispensed pejoratively: lawmakers, we hear, are “acting like children” or “too busy backbiting” to work together and Get Something Done. Thankfully, […]

Of Student Comments

Something interesting happened to me the other day: I received a student’s final reflection that included the suggestion that I “learn to accept other people’s writing as their own” when I make essay comments. In particular, I was admonished to remember that someone else was writing the essay, not me, and that “other people make […]

Copyright and Reward

Plagiarism haunts writers at the highest levels: ask Fareed Zakaria or Jonah Lehrer. (Lehrer’s crime, however, doesn’t involve lifting another’s ideas.) There’s a real concern, especially in journalism and academia, that ideas and language – the lifeblood of both disciplines – might be misattributed. As a writer myself, I understand the desire to have one’s […]