Commentaries - September 2007

Teach the conflicts

When I reviewed Gerald Graff's book on "teaching the conflicts," I had as much space as I needed (I was writing for Review and its editor Jay Hoge gave me no limit). In part because Graff's idea had already received a great deal of attention, I decided to set his argument in the context of the Cold War-era political correctness debates. It was an odd gesture, because nowhere in the book does Graff refer to anticommunism or to pedagogy in the 1950s.

Here are the first two paragraphs of my piece:

Confusing justice & vengeance

"We cannot bear to face our knowledge that the satisfaction of our desire for justice, which we confuse with our desire for vengeance, is impossible. And so we invent as a victim the most comprehen

Mining, memory, & Microsoft

Yes, that's Bill Gates at right, tossing a floppy disk into the air.

Erica Baum photographs the card catalogue

When I saw what Erica Baum was doing with photography a few years ago, I knew that it was closely related to what I was trying to teach my students about modern and contemporary poetry, so I invited Erica to visit us at the Writers House. It was a great visit.