Category Archives: Talent Is Not Enough

Pyramid Scheme

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I had a really interesting interview this afternoon with a scholar who, for over thirty years, has taught in a writing program at a major research university, a giant school with more undergraduate students than the entire population of my hometown. And this writing program is staffed as follows: about 100… Read more »

Flooding the Market

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Just got back from some chores, looking through the mail. My wife (Ph.D. Environmental Psychology, CUNY Graduate Center, 1982) got an alumni solicitation letter from the psychology program’s new-ish “Acting Executive Officer,” crowing about the status of the program and asking for dough. Along with the bragging points about $25M in… Read more »

Stack of Futility

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I took my trash and recycling down to the local transfer station this morning, chatted with Glen our dumpmaster about our coming plans for large waste and scrap metal collection day (a town official’s work is never done). One of the things Glen does is to take things that others… Read more »

Eighty Dollars an Hour!!!

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As a member of the select board in my small town (and the board clerk), I receive a stipend of $700 per year. I’ve never actually done the arithmetic, but as close as I can tell, that comes to about a buck or buck and a half an hour. The $700… Read more »

Wait, what?

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One of the joys of being on my small community’s selectboard is that you never know what the next meeting is going to bring. Buy 440 cubic yards of gravel? No problem. The ATV club wants permission to operate four-wheelers on North Street? Sure, we’ll consider that. Property tax rates,… Read more »

Learning to Teach

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I remember being a TA for ARCH302, Architecture and Human Relations. It was my second year of grad school, and I got to give three or four of the semester’s lectures. And because I was still pretty new to the field, and because I didn’t trust either my knowledge or… Read more »

Ready to be a dandelion?

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I’ve just been pointed to science fiction writer Cory Doctorow’s blog post in which he claims that the characteristics of intellectual work in the Internet age (ease of duplication and transmission, immediacy of reach, lack of reader focus and followthrough, an immense ocean of choices) means that artists of all… Read more »

Words Unspoken in My Home

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I recently spent a few days with a friend about to send her eldest son off to college. And as she talked about their plans for the summer and fall, I realized that there were just a lot of things we take for granted as white-collar professionals that many of… Read more »

Level Playing Field

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For many decades, major American orchestras were overwhelmingly male. And every time that was pointed out, the response was “It’s a shame, but there just aren’t as many excellent female musicians out there,” and all kinds of faux-sciology was invented to explain that paucity of musical talent and commitment. And… Read more »

Copying the masters

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One of the things I think we do poorly in teaching young people to write is that we either teach it as a mode of self-expression, in which anything goes as long as it’s authentic… or as a mode of linguistic science, a series of parts of speech and moods… Read more »