There has been a fair amount of press recently about the rise in challenges and bans of books in libraries and public schools. A recent, high-profile example has been McMinn County, Tennessee, which is near where I live and work. At the end of January 2022, the McMinn County school board released a statement explaining its decision to “remove the graphic novel Maus from McMinn County Schools because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.”
Now, community hysteria and moral panic and desperate pleas to “PROTECT THE CHILDREN!” are nothing new. Several decades ago, it was the Harry Potter series, and before that, heavy metal. One of my favorite old books is Paths to Perdition, which was published in 1922. It includes a section about the evils of ‘modern dance.’ The modern dance to which the book referred was not the jitterbug or Charleston; it was the Viennese waltz.
Do you remember being read to when you were really little? Can you think of any stories that were your favorites? I don’t have the book anymore, but one of my favorites was from a collection of stories, and it was “The Little Lonely House,” about a house whose family had moved away, and it watched people come and go on the street, and there was lots of description of that. But then, eventually, one of the cars turns, and it comes up the drive, and it stops at the house, and a family gets out and goes inside. And the house was filled with noise, and light, and laughter. I still remember the final sentence: “And the little lonely house wasn’t lonely anymore.”
I want you to think about the feelings that are associated with those memories. Hold onto them for a few moments.
Hi everybody! Today we’re going to look at figurative language – specifically, why people choose to use it. I’ll discuss different types, how to recognize them, and how to use them in later posts, but I think that before we get to knowledge and skills, it’s important to reflect on purpose. This will help provide a foundation for understanding the knowledge and skills once we start exploring them.
As always, follows are great, hallelujah, but what I would REALLY love is if you left me a comment. Maybe your favorite example of figurative language and why it’s so interesting or meaningful, or something you don’t understand that you’d like me to explain in a future video. Or further discussion of some of the points that I raise in this one. Or even just a comment to say hello. I love all of that.
The internet is an amazing thing. It gives us access to all kinds of information and enables us to connect with many different people from all over the world. In a lot of ways, that’s fantastic. And in some other ways, it sucks.
I was thinking about women on the Supreme Court as I got ready for school one morning in late February. I think this was mostly because I had dreamed about a new appointment that night.
That dream was probably influenced by one of the books I was currently reading, which talked about the effects of explicit gender bias, and how that without deliberate countermeasures, lead to non-gendered situations having a lingering implicit bias as a result. So I had been thinking a lot about representation, and culture, and society, and the interconnections between them.
This is in response to an ongoing (every other week) livestream in which a friend and I are discussing Ursula LeGuin’s classic novel, The Dispossessed. It’s a work of science fiction set in a distant star system, on the planet Urras and its moon, Anarres. Generations ago, a group of political dissidents on Urras were offered the opportunity to become settlers on Annares and to run their society as they saw fit, in exchange for mining a valuable ore that had limited availability on the planet but was apparently plentiful on the otherwise nearly-barren moon.
The protagonist is Shevek, an Anarresti physicist who travels to Urras. He is simultaneously curious and also bewildered at the vast differences between the society in which he was raised and the one he is visiting. His own society aims to be stateless, classless, and egalitarian, while Urras is comprised of nation-states with rigid class and gender structure. Things escalate to full-out sexual assault in chapter 7, which was part of the discussion in the livestream. However, I woke up at two in the morning with further thoughts, which you can find behind the cut.