Sunday, February 15, 2009

Palestinian "Literature Professor" Salaita Wants Academic Boycott of Israel; More Jihad Activity at Virginia Tech

My alma mater, Virginia Tech, seems to have become a hotbed of jihadist activity, centered around the engineering and English departments.

Recently, Steven Salaita, jihadist professor of "Palestinian literature," i.e. jihadist tracts, sent a letter to the editor of the Collegiate Times denouncing Israel for defending itself and calling for an academic boycott of Israel.

"We stand in support of the indigenous Palestinian people in Gaza, who are fighting for their survival against one of the most brutal uses of state power in both this century and the last.

We condemn Israel's recent (December 2008/ January 2009) breaches of international law in the Gaza Strip, which include the bombing of densely populated neighborhoods, illegal deployment of the chemical white phosphorous, and attacks on schools, ambulances, relief agencies, hospitals, universities, and places of worship. We condemn Israel's restriction of access to media and aid workers.

We reject as false Israel's characterization of its military attacks on Gaza as retaliation.

Israel's latest assault on Gaza is part of its longtime racist jurisprudence against its
indigenous Palestinian population, during which the Israeli state has systematically dispossessed, starved, tortured, and economically exploited the Palestinian people.

We reject as untrue the Israeli government's claims that the Palestinians use civilians as human shields, and that Hamas is an irredeemable terrorist organization. Without endorsing its platforms or philosophy, we recognize Hamas as a democratically elected ruling party."

It is well know that Salaita was hired by racist, bigoted anti-semite Nikki Giovanni and her lifetime partner Virginia Fowler solely because of his anti-Jewish prejudices. But he is not content with teaching "Palestinian literature." He wants to destroy Israel and brainwash young, impressionable college students into supporting his jihad.

First off, as anyone with any knowledge of the Pentateuch knows, Jews have been the "indigenous" population of Israel for at least 3200 years, which beats the Muslims by at least 1800 years. He "rejects" the notion that Palestinians use "human shields." Yes, and Hamas rejects terrorism.

One thing is true: Hamas IS a democratically elected government, which just proves what our Founding Fathers knew all along. Mob democracy by barbarians is not to be a goal by any civilization.

Islam is organized barbarism, and the more of these type of people we let into our country, the more our country is going to resemble a third world nation.

Notice all the Muslims who signed in Blacksburg who signed this petition to boycott Israel. It seems as if there is an jihadist organization of "students" at Virginia Tech using Blacksburg as a base to spread their ideas in America.

In the same week, the Collegiate Times did a sob story about Suleiman Baraka who lost his son in an "accidental" bombing in Gaza on December 29th of last year. Most likely, the house was not bombed by accident; Hamas members were probably using the house, and these Hamas members are mostly likely relatives of Baraka.

Baraka, an astrophysicist working with Virginia Tech and the National Institute of Aerospace for NASA, came to the United States from Gaza in Oct. 2008. He left his family behind to complete his research but could not predict the violence that was soon to hit his home.

After frantically calling around, he found out that his 11-year-old son Ibrahim had been critically injured with shrapnel found in his brain, hand, and leg. Learning that his son was being taken to a hospital in Cairo, Egypt, Baraka knew he had to leave immediately.

Question: What is a Palestinian doing coming to our country in October 2008 and getting a job as an "astrophysicist" with NASA? Is it now a policy to hire Muslims from terrorist countries and giving them sensitive jobs with our government? Notice how he now wants his entire family to move here to America.

It seems we are not serious at all about protecting our country and Israel from future terrorist attacks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"America": Banned from School Textbooks and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); Not Politically Correct; Offends Latinos

One of the best books out there if you are interested in education policy is Diane Ravitch's The Language Police. It is a wonderful, well-researched bestseller by Ravitch, who has a Ph.D. in history from Columbia university and is a professor at New York University, about the purging of true American history and great literature in the public schools, replaced by "multicultural" trash and propaganda. At the end of the book, she gives a thirty-page list of words and situations that are banned from textbooks.
Here is one of them:
"America/Americans (use with care, because it suggests 'geographical chavinism' unless it applies to all people in North America, South America, and Central America; instead refer to people of the United States."
This is the rule for all Scott-Foresman/Addison-Wesley textbooks, Houghtin Mifflin textbooks, Harcourt textbooks, National Evaluation Systems, and New York state public schools.
Here is another:
"American policy, American economy (replace with U.S. policy, U.S. economy)."
Simply amazing. The proper title of our country, "America," has been banned, and we are no longer "Americans." Our country now is "United States" and we are "United States citizens."
This is patently false. The title of our country has NEVER been "United States." It has always been "America." For example, Georgia or Virginia are states in America; they are not states in "the United States."
Also, it is not "chauvinistic" to call ourselves "Americans." There is no continent called "America." There is a region called the "Americas." There is a "North America," which is a continent. There is a "South America," which is a continent.
There is a country, and that country is called "America." There are 50 states, and these states make up the country of "America." The citizens of that country are "Americans," not "people of the United States."
Even if it were somehow chauvinistic to call your country its proper title, it is time to simply and coolly tell Latin Americans to show some tolerance, something they tend to lack. By banning the name of our country to appease them will only incur disrespect and contempt from them for our weakness in trying to appease them.
Sadly, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has kowtowed to liberals and has banned the proper name of our country from the customs forms. I was shocked when coming back from Panama a few months ago to find that the terms "America" and "Americans" had been completely erased. We are now "United States citizens" (of what country?) and we reside in the United States (of what country?).
Plea to all patriotic Americans: Refer to our country by its proper name, "America" and call yourself an "American." Don't give in to political correctness. If you have to abbreviate, use the abbreviation "U.S.A." and not "U.S."

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Virginia Tech Jihadist "Palestinian Literature" Prof Wins Award; Giovanni Claims Middle Passage Facilitates Outer Space Travel for Blacks

Lesbian lovers Giovanni and Fowler love jihadist Salaita

Update on the wacky Virginia Tech English Department: Virginia Tech's jihadist "Palestinian literature" professor and ungrateful immigrant Steven Salaita, whom I have written about before, is winning many awards for his latest book, Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where it Comes From and What it Means for Politics Today, including this one. (How a "Palestinian Literature" professor who received his B.A. from party school Radford University and doctorate in Native American Literature from University of Oklahoma is qualified to write about the history and politics of Israel and "Palestine" is beyond me). His thesis is if Americans do not support Palestianians, it is because we are racist. He cleverly attempts to give Muslims, who killed over 3000 Americans on 9/11 a "grievance status" by making Muslims into an Arab race. Of course, that is what Muslims have always believed: Arabs are not really Arabs unless they are Muslim, hence the second class treatment of Arabs who are Christian or Jew. Muslims are the racists, not Americans. For example, if jihadist Salaita wants to see REAL racism, see how Malays treat the Chinese in Malaysia, the Chinese being the ones who have built up the economic power of Malaysia. However, I doubt that Salaita knows a thing about the real world outside of America.

By the way, I have studied in Malaysia and have worked in Thailand and know that no Muslim would consider himself a citizen of a country unless that country has sharia law. Therefore, Muslims do not consider themselves "American" except for pretending to be loyal in order to better subvert the country.

It is amazing how Virginia Tech's English department has been transformed since they hired Nikki Giovanni--who only has a B.A.--back in the 1990's. Here is an excerpt from a famous poem of hers, "The True Import of Black Dialogue, Black vs. Negro":

"Do you know how to draw blood/Can you poison/Can you stab-a-Jew/Can you kill huh?/ Ni**erCan you kill"

I've written about how radical Giovanni is before here and here, but one naive commenter has claimed that I just don't get it:

"You are reading the poem in terms of black and white. You are looking at what the text says but you are not looking INTO the text. She is sending a message here. Not that you would understand. This is a message for Black people. Over the decades the Black population has fallen and not for something positive. Nigger is not Black people, it is ignorance. In this piece she asking them to leave Nigger (the context of ignorance) behind and rise as a people."

Sorry, I don't buy it. Next thing you know this commenter will be stating that Steven Salaita doesn't really advocate the destruction of Israel and a new Holocaust; he just wants them to "rise as a people."

Steven Sailer has written an excellent article, published in FrontPage Magazine, about just how radical this feminist, Giovanni, is. Lately, though, she just seems to be losing her mind. In her faculty profile she states:

"The recognition of Middle Passage as our porthole to prolonged space travel is a unique way to understand both slavery and space which I explore in Quilting the Black Eyed Pea."

We should not lose sight of the fact, though, that this eccentric who also writes children's poetry is at the core a radical who hates America and Israel. Want proof? The fact that she and her lover just hired Steven Salaita, an extremely radical Muslim hater of Jews, in 2006 offers proof that Giovanni is every bit as radical as when she wrote "The True Import of Black Dialogue."

What was a decent department back when I was a student there has been transformed by hiring radicals and terrorists into a department that produces such students as Cho Seung Hui. "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit." (Matthew 7:17)

Latest outrage: Just a year after the Nikki Giovanni student, Cho Seung-hui, guns down 32 students, including Jewish hero Liviu Lebrescu, who does Virginia Tech's English department praise (look at bottom right corner in link)? None other than Steven Salaita, the professor of "Palestianian literature" who believes that Israel has no right to exist and that the state should be destroyed. They are boasting that he has won a prestigious award for his B.S. that there exists rampant "anti-Arab racism" in America.

Can Virginia Tech's department become any more corrupt than it already is? Back when I was a student there, Virginia Fowler, radical feminist, had just hired her lesbian lover, the radical feminist Nikki Giovanni. The first thing that Giovanni did was to insult all the English professors in the Collegiate Times.

What were Nikki Giovanni's qualifications? She has only a B.A. and she is Virginia Fowler's lesbian lover. Talk about third-world style corruption.

Anti-Jewish radical Nikki Giovanni is the campus celebrity of Virginia Tech. How does she use her celebrity status? By bullying the campus into hiring more radicals that fit her radical, anti-Jewish agenda.

So who did the lesbian duo hire in 2006? None other than Steven Salaita, a Palestianian jihadist, to teach "Palestianian literature." Question that Virginia Tech refuses to answer: Did English major Cho Seung-hui take any classes from this anti-American and anti-Israeli terrorist/"English" professor, Steven Salaita either in Fall 2006 or Spring 2007? Hmm, I wonder where "Ismael Ax" came from.

Take a look at this unbelievable praise for Steven Salaita, who dislikes any portrayal of Muslim women being mistreated in the Middle East (women are much worse treated in America), believes that Israel has no right to exist and that Obama is too conservative to vote for because Obama now claims to not want Israel to be destroyed:

The Department is delighted to welcome this fall Dr. Steven Salaita, who joins us as an advanced assistant professor of American and Ethnic American Literatures. Steve is no stranger to this part of the country, having grown up in Bluefi eld, Virginia, which is still home to his parents. After completing his undergraduate work at Radford University, he entered the doctoral program in Native American Literature at the University of Oklahoma, where he received his Ph.D. in 2003. Although his primary focus at Oklahoma was Native American literature, he also studied Palestinian and Arab American literature. For the past three years, Steve has been an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin/Whitewater, where he has taught a range of courses in American and ethnic American literatures.
Steve’s research primarily takes the form of literary criticism, but he is also drawn to the essay, particularly the political essay, and to creative non-fiction. Because his parents are both immigrants, he fi nds that his own writing, critical and creative, is preoccupied with themes of immigration, American-ness, dislocation, cultural multiplicity, xenophobia, and racialization. In terms of research, 2006 has been an annus mirabilis for Steve, who will have three books published by year’s end:
Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where It Comes from and What it Means for Politics
Today (Pluto Press, UK); The Holy Land in Transit: Colonialism and the Quest for
Canaan (Syracuse University Press); and Arab American Literary Fictions,
Cultures, and Politics (Palgrave Macmillan).

Who is the encomium about the jihadist Steven Salaita written by? None other than Virginia Fowler. Don't think for one moment they hired Salaita for any other reason than his hatred for America and Israel.

Last year--after "Ismael Ax" gunned downed 32 students--A Feast of Words, The Virginia Tech English Department's publication, was gushing about jihadist Steven Salaita's two recent publications, The Holy Land in Transit and Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where it Comes From and What it Means for Politics Today:

Here is what The Holy Land in Transit is about, according to Syracuse University Press:

"Beating The Drums Again. STEVEN SALAITA, assistant professor of English of Virginia Tech, says the Palestinians are currently involved in one of the world’s last colonial wars. In The Holy Land in Transit he sees parallels in the Zionist settlement of Palestine with the colonial conquest of the New World and the consequent displacement of the indigenous peoples. This theme is worthy of further exploration, he says, ‘even though Natives and Palestinians have no other historical connection to speak of...’ Just as Indian attacks on white settlements were a natural reaction to a European colonial invasion, so too Palestinian attacks on the highways and suicide bombings in towns are a consequence to Jewish proliferation in the land.

He sees the European settlement of the New World, at the expense of the Native Indians, as ethnic cleansing, and ascribes the same blame to the returning Jews as they settle the Holy Land at the expense of the original few Palestinians who were living there. "Beating The Drums Again. STEVEN SALAITA, assistant professor of English of Virginia Tech, says the Palestinians are currently involved in one of the world’s last colonial wars. In The Holy Land in Transit he sees parallels in the Zionist settlement of Palestine with the colonial conquest of the New World and the consequent displacement of the indigenous peoples."

It seems the untold story from last year's Virginia Tech massacre is the following:

A disturbed Korean-American teenager enters the Virginia Tech English program. Instead of being guided in the right direction--the love of virtue, God, country, and Western Civilization--he takes classes from disturbed radicals, such as Nikki Giovanni and Virginia Fowler. Instead of learning about our great Western heritage, he gets constant left-wing propaganda from anti-American professors. He very well could have taken Salaita's "Palestinian literature" class. Being already disturbed, he becomes even more disturbed by taking classes from deranged "English" professors. He gets no religious guidance at Virginia Tech except by Muslim sympathizers, including perhaps Steven Salaita and Nikki Giovanni. Then "Ismael Ax" goes on a rampage gunning down students and professors.

Virginia Tech's English Department bears a lot of blame for this massacre.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Joseph McCarthy: Catholic Hero

I'm working on a Master of Arts in Catholic Theology from Christendom College, one of the most rock solid, truly Catholic universities in the nation.

Recently, there was a talk at Christendom by Dr. William Carroll about Catholic Joseph McCarthy, the American hero that liberals and socialists love to slander.

Let's me review my history:

Just after WWII we stupidly give Josef Stalin all of Eastern Europe. In Asia we incredibly allow Stalin to take over Manchuria and North Korea after the War is over. We refuse to defend free China, a place of paramount importance, and it falls in 1949. The Soviet Union tests its first nuclear weapon in 1949, thanks to espionage in the United States. We tell North Korea, China, and Russia we will not defend South Korea and do not let it arm itself, and North Korea invades the South in 1950.

And yet liberals and socialists want us to believe that communism did not exist at the highest levels of the government?

Only liberals would be stupid enough to believe that. That is about as believable as stating that most Social Foundations professors in the top notch Schools of Education are not socialist. No wonder the average American was up in arms and elected Eisenhower. Probably at no time until now, with the prospect of Muslim/Marxist Barack Hussein Obama getting the Democratic nomination, has our nation been under such threat as it was in the 1930s and 1940s from an alien ideology counter to Western tradition.

Here is a great excerpt for the talk at Christendom on hero Joseph McCarthy about his importance and key place in American history:

"If you are Catholic and have believed any of the slanders against McCarthy, you should know first of all that Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin was a loyal Catholic who was buried with a rosary around his neck,'" Carroll said at the beginning of his lecture. “Surely such a man deserves at least a hearing before the tribunal of your soul before you condemn him on hearsay evidence.”

It is amazing how much benefit our nation has received from loyal, conservative Catholics (Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Joseph McCarthy, Rick Santorum, Laura Ingraham, etc.) and how much damage has been inflicted by reprehensible, liberal "Catholics" (John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi)--those who call themselves Catholic but are in reality simply traitors both to the Catholic truth and the American ideal.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Classic Book Recommendation: Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast

Would you like a great book recommendation, a book that is easily one of the very best achievements in American literature? Here it is: Two Years Before the Mast by young Richard Henry Dana, Jr. It was published in 1840 and was a huge success. I just finished reading it, and, believe me, it is one of the best books in American literature.

Yet, sadly, very few Americans have even heard of this book, which demonstrates the power that liberals and Marxists have had in censoring our great literary heritage. Having a Master of Education from University of Virginia, I know first hand the prevalency of censorship by Social Foundations education professors, and it is well documented by others.

It is time to take back our heritage. Unethical liberals and Marxists censor in very many subtle and underhanded ways. The chief way--ever since the late 1980's--has been to replace any piece of great literature by "dead white males" (the stupid, racist, and disparaging term these self-hating, liberals gleefully employ) and replace it with dull, shallow, "multicultural" pap.

It generally takes 50 years or so to declare a work a "classic" because it is all too hard to separate fad from greatness, as liberals are proof of. Of course, liberals automatically canonize anything new and "multicultural"as great. Then, they teach this junk, which means replacing truly great literature that has stood the test of time and generations.

Another way I have noticed liberals censor literature is by picking only literature that is most easily "deconstructed," in their opinion. To "deconstruct" a "text" for liberals and Marxists simply means to trick gullible students into believing that a "text" supports Marxist beliefs, when, in fact, none exists. You can often see this on the summaries on backs of books recently published, often to the most absurd degree. For example I've actually seen 1984 being advertised as a work that shows how "conformity" can cause a nightmarish regime. No, not communism or socialism but, rather, "conformity." Liberal professors and editors love to employ this trick on Charles Dickens' works, in which they often place a liberal, social message that simply is not the major component to his works. However, they would have gullible students believe that it is.

Another artful way that sneaky liberals and Marxists use to censor works is simply not to teach any uplifting works. For example, I never have understood why Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is always taught in high schools and never his sunny, uplifting (and much better, in my opinion) The House of the Seven Gables. Why always F. Scott Fitzgerald's depressing The Great Gatsby and never Ray Bradbury's appealing, intriguing, and poignant Dandelion Wine and William Saroyan's The Human Comedy, with the same qualities?

Answer: Liberals and Marxists dislike students getting anything that uplifts the soul and makes students look at America with pride in her achievements and lifestyle. Therefore, they should only get gloomy and depressing Hemingway and Fitzgerald in modern American literature, for instance. Fitzgerald is great, but there is no reason why The Great Gatsby should always be taught. Of course, liberals love it to hoist some sort of anti-capitalism message upon students. Hemingway, though, I find to be grossly overrated, in comparison with other classic American literature.

The most prevalent way to deny our citizens our heritage, both Western and American, though, is to simply censor any works that have the least bit of objectionable, un-PC material. Entire works have disappeared from the corpus of great literature taught to students: Ivanhoe, The Royal Road to Romance, Brave New World, Typee, A Christmas Carol, The Three Musketeers, Pilgram's Progress, She Stoops to Conquer, Gone with the Wind, Robinson Crusoe, Kim, and Lord Jim come to mind. They all have scenes or attitudes that sanctimonious, insufferable liberals feel students should not be exposed to at all. Because these authors were not enlightened enough to espouse the modern liberal opinions of these postmodern gnostic censors, these works ought to be purged from our Brave New Liberal Utopia. Thanks to these intolerant liberals, much literature of great merit has been completely eliminated. An example in the
post just below is how many Americans have never even heard of Christina Rossetti's wonderful poem "In the Bleak Midwinter."

Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast fits into this latter category. It is a magnificent work. Young Dana takes time off from Harvard College to join a merchant vessel bound from Boston for a two years voyage around Cape Horn to California in 1834 and 1835. He writes extremely eloquently about his adventures on board, the hard but rewarding work of a sailor, his impression of California and the Spanish and Indian natives there, and the often terrifying challenges at sea. For example, on the return voyage around the Cape in the middle of winter is terrifyingly suspenseful.

Two Years Before the Mast obviously has been banned by liberals because Dana's opinions on the lazy Californians does not conform to Marxism. In addition, he has a concluding chapter in which he proposes how the life of a seaman can be improved (and it sure isn't through big government). Education is important but not enough. It must include religion (censor time!): "With the sailor, as with all other men in fact, the cultivation of the intellect, and the spread of what is commonly called useful knowledge, while religious instruction is neglected, is little else than changing an ignorant sinner into a powerful one."
To Dana, knowledge of the tenets of the Bible and practicing them are necessary factors in improving lifestyle and character. He documents abuse of sailors, but he never portrays them as victims, something modern liberals and socialists would do.

Is this not evident today in the public schools, where the neglect of student character has allowed for all sorts of societal ills, from gangs to poverty to teen pregnancy to shallow consumerism? Thank you liberals, including Social Foundations education professors.

Two Years Before the Mast, one of the greatest achievements of American literature is unfortunately, thus, not well known. It has extremely valuable documentation on the lifestyle of 1830's California, the day-to-day work of a merchant sailor, and the adventure and danger of the seas that recommends it as a great American classic. The remarkable American character is evident in this book. Unfortunately, liberals have attempted to purge Two Years Before the Mast from the American canon. Thankfully, it was a recommended book on the "Ravitch-Atkinson Sampler of Classic Literature" found in the back of Diane Ravitch's excellent and highly recommended The Language Police, her bestselling expose on censorship in public schools.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Gloucester Cathedral Choir - In the Bleak Midwinter

We sang this song at my church, St. Michael's Catholic Church, last Sunday as the opening hymn, and I was really impressed with this song. It is a beautiful song and perfect for this frigid midwinter.

In the Bleak Midwinter is wonderful poetry and one of the rare great poems that also makes a great song. It is certainly one of the best poems about the Christmas and winter season.

This has to do with education in the sense that so few Americans are familiar with this great poem by the devout conservative Anglican Christina Rossetti. Why? For the same reason that so few are familiar with their heritage. Liberals in the schools and education schools have pushed horrendous multiculturalism upon students and censored any works with the least bit of religious sentiment. Thus, students are completely unfamiliar with a huge amount of our heritage, especially since the some of the best achievements have been religious in nature.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sense and Social Foundations

Classic literature can be a great place to learn about education policy and philosophy because classic literature by nature has such keen insights into man's behavior and relationships, which is why the literature is considered "classic" in the first place.

For example, Charles Dickens' Hard Times, equally as great as his more famous works, is a terrific novel about the follies of utilitarian and vocational education, which became all the rage among the Progressives (today called "liberals" or "socialists") in the early 1900's, such Columbia's Teachers College's Edward L. Thorndike, whom Diane Ravitch states in Left Back is "broadly recognized as one of the foremost leaders of progressive education" and William Heard Kilpatrick, who literally influenced the entire nation's education philosophy by training nearly all future education professors in the early 1900's from his base at Teachers College. To Kilpatrick, subjects should only be taught if they have socialist utilitarian value. Goodbye to an education in the humanities. Hard Times is an insightful expose into the follies of this utilitarian style of education that has so influenced today's liberals and socialists, including nearly all of the "Social Foundations" professors and other educationists in today's education schools.

Today's liberal educationists are equally as utilitarian as their predecessors in that they believe that all subjects exist only to promote socialism and "social justice." Therefore, math and science are only useful as far as they promote multiculturalism or environmentalism, for example. The Humanities are only valuable if postmodern interpretations can hoisted upon students. Education for its inherent worth is anathema to today's liberals and socialists who dominate education faculties. Their motto: If you can't "deconstruct" it to promote socialism, Marxism, feminism, multiculturalism, gay "rights," and other philosophical errors that they slavishly adhere to in opposition to our classical, Western, and Catholic heritage, it is not worth teaching.

I just finished Jane Austen's wonderful novel Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austin is one of the authors whom liberals and socialist college professors and other shallow, unethical people such as Hollywood screenwriters most absurdly attempt to "deconstruct" and make into a proto-feminist or socialist. In fact, she would be considered a "conservative" or "traditionalist" in today's parlance, which is why she must be "deconstructed" by Orwellian college professors.

Austen in Sense and Sensibility has wonderful insights into education philosophy and how education influences character. Therefore, it is well worth analyzing for students studying education philosophy and policy. She be considered to be a promoter of the type of "character education" that education traditionalists promote and liberals despise.

The shallow, pleasure seeking character of Willoughby is amazingly like what the type of male public schools shape and then put out in droves, and Marianne, who is attracted to and jilted by Willoughby, is exactly the type of female you get from today's public schools. Willoughby and Marianne are entirely influenced by their sensibilities and have very little sense. On the other hand, it is apparent in the novel that traditional morality and a strong academic, humanistic education, combined with virtue--the kind that is sadly absent in most of today's schools--produce people like Elinor and Colonel Brandan, characters with virtue, sense, and charity, exactly the type of individuals that American schools should be forming but aren't.

Austen describes the selfish character of Willoughby through Elinor's perceptions of him:

Elinor made no answer. Her thoughts were silently fixed on the irreparable injury which too early an independence and its consequent habits of idleness, dissipation, and luxury, had make in the mind, the character, the happiness, of a man who, to every advantage of person and talents, united a disposition naturally open and honest, and a feeling affectionate temper. The world had made him extravagent and vain. Extravagence and vanity had made him coldhearted and selfish. Vanity, while seeking its own guilty triumph at the expense of another, had involved him in a real attachment which extravagence, or at least its offspring, necessity, had required to be sacrificed. Each faulty propensity, in leadijng him to evil, had led him likewise to punishment. The attachment from which against honour, against feeling, against every better interest he had outwardly torn himself, now, when no longer allowable, governed every thought; and the connection, for the sake of which he had, with little scruple, left her sister to misery, was likely to prove a source of unhappiness to himself of a far more incurable nature.

Jane Austen could easily be describing, 100 years beforehand, the negative effects of the foremost "progressive" education philosopher John Dewey's education principles: The error that education ought to be based on the "experiences" of the child and governed solely by the interests and whims of the child. He believed this style of education would produce a more just style of government, for him socialism. He is right on the latter (except that socialism is never just), ironically, because his style of education produces, as Austin notes, selfish, coldhearted individuals concerned with shallow pecuniary values (for the good of themselves, not others) and an elite status, exactly the type of individuals who would support John Dewey's socialism--as long as they are in the elite in this socialist government. Everyone gets poorer, but they remain in the elite. It is not surprising that Dewey was a big fan of the Russian Revolution and even visited Russia in the late 1920s.

These type of individuals that Dewey's philosophy and today's public schools, which have been so influenced by him, produce care only about their own pleasures and have no care for traditional morality or other's happiness. Austin writes about Willoughby, "'The whole of his behaviour,' replied Elinor, 'from the beginning to the end of the affair has been grounded on selfishness. . . .His own enjoyment, or his own ease, was in every particular his ruling principle.'" In other words, John Dewey's philosophy that education should be guided by the students selfish whims.

The Catholic belief that Natural Law is unchanging and immutable can explain why Jane Austin a century beforehand so accurately describes the rotten fruits of John Dewey's "education as experience" philosophy and its numerous recycled fads that it has created: "discovery learning," the self esteem movement, learning through projects, students learning "at their own pace, "fuzzy math," and constructivism. No wonder the public schools produce shallow, self-destructive, pop-culture oriented individuals, similar to Willoughby, and those with all sensibility and no sense, similar to Marianne, who self-destructively are attracted to individuals like Willoughby.

When Marianne, through experience, finally gains some sense, she explains how to become a better person. This could easily describe the goal of today's conservative education reformer and traditionalist: "The future must be my proof. I have laid down my plan, and if I am capable of adhering to it my feelings shall be governed and my temper improved. . . .As for Willoughby, to say that I shall soon or that I shall ever forget him would be idle. His remembrance can be overcome by no change of circumstances or opinions. But it shall be regulated; it shall be checked by religion, by reason, and by constant employment."

Religion, reason, and employment (hard work): Exactly the three things "progressives" most deny today's grade school and college students. They get rid of all aspects relating to God in school and society; they destroy reason through their assault on our European, classical, and Catholic heritage and their promotion of barbaric cultures through "multiculturalism." They, through affirmative action and other forms of promotion not based on merit, war against employment and assiduity.

No wonder our society produces so many Willoughbys and Mariannes, and so few Elinors and Colonel Brandons.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Refreshing and Rare: An Actress with Integrity

The other day I was thinking back to a terrific play I saw in high school at the Folger Shakespeare Theater in Washington. I used to always go watch the performances downtown performed by the Shakespeare Theatre Company. The play was The Merry Wives of Windsor with Sir John Falstaff played by the magnificent Pat Carroll. The performance was considered historic and got raves in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other reviews. I also saw her in Mother Courage, which also was performed at the Shakespeare Theatre.

Being a big Wikipedia fan, I decided to check out Pat Carroll and see what she was up to lately. She has done a lot of television and theatre performances. She is perhaps best well known (especially to kids growing up in the 80's and 90's) as Ursula the Octopus in Disney's The Little Mermaid, Ursula being one of Disney's great tradition of vampish villainesses, including Cruella DeVille and Madame Medusa that everyone remembers.

So I look up her up in Wikipedia. What a surprise and a nice one at that! It turns out that Pat Carroll is a devout Catholic that picks and chooses her roles based on traditional Catholic morality:

"As a devout Roman Catholic, her religious views inform her choice of what roles to accept, and in which productions to appear. According to a Current Biography article, she is a supporter of the Republican Party."

It is always refreshing to find the occasional actor or actress that has achieved some degree of fame and also happens to have moral integrity. It is even more stunning in this age of superficial stars who worship multiculturalism, whose highest moral compass is their own superficial whims, and who become liberals to appear intelligent, showing how naive and uneducated they actually are.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Meet Steven Salaita, Jihadist English Professor at Virginia Tech

My dictionary defines jihad as "a war of Mohammedans upon others, with a religious object." Steven Salaita, English professor at Virginia Tech and advocate of "Palestinian literature" (as well as the extermination of Israel) fits this bill exactly.

Every semester I receive as an alumnus of the
Virginia Tech English department a copy of "A Feast of Words," a newsletter update of the going ons of the Virginia Tech staff and students in the English department.

It is the usual postmodern nonsense that quickly goes into the trash bin. Take the first paragraph of the commentary by Carolyn Rude, the chairwoman of the department: "Those of us who work with words understand the role of narrative in defining who we are and where we will go. Our stories become our destiny as well as our story. They become the "truth" as surely as measurable facts."

Notice the quotes around "truth" and the postmodern relativism. This is so normal that it hardly fazes me.

However, one thing did, something I found quite disturbing. Virginia Tech has just hired an English professor that openly promotes jihad and the
extermination of Israel: Steven Salaita.

In the Recent Faculty Publications in "A Feast of Words," I found this book promoted: Anti-Arab Racism in the USA: Where it Comes From and What it Means for Politics Today: Steven Salaita (Pluto Press, 2006). Here is the description in "A Feast of Words":

"Steven Salaita blends personal narrative, theory and polemics to show how deep-rooted Anti-Arab racism in America affects everything from legislation to cultural life, shining a light on the consequences of Anti-Arab racism both at home and abroad."
The premise is definitely from Pluto: America is a racist country where peaceful Muslim Arab-Americans are the victims of violence and hatred, not the perpetrators, and that this supposed racism at home fuels jihad against America. Therefore, when we are attacked like on September 11, we deserve it because we are racists.

Here is another description of the book, which also seems--surprise!--to be published by the University of Michigan.

Of course, the Patriot Act is a crime that Professor Salaida rails against in this pro-Arab and anti-Israeli and anti-American book. It seems according to the Arab jihadist Virginia Tech English professor that fellow Arab jihadists in America are protected by the Constitution they aim to destroy and should be able to plot against us without having their conversations be recorded because we are a racist country that is causing them to hate us. What logic! This type of thinking certainly does not have its origin in America and Europe's Western civilization with its influences of Judaism, Greek and Roman philosophy, and Christianity. Of course, places such as Virginia Tech's English department have dedicated themselves to destroying and replacing our heritage, not celebrating it. Therefore, even a supposed literature professor, like jihadist Steven Salaita, can be an expert of sociology. They can invent a nonexistent field such as "Palestinian literature" and then use that as a platform for their jihadist agenda. They are then in demand by all the postmodern departments that stupidly prize this "multiculturalism."
In another openly anti-Semitic book advertised in this semester's "A Feast of Words," Steven Salaita openly declares that Palestinian terrorists are involved in a "colonial war" against Israel. The book description by the publisher states that Salaita proposes in the book that "Indian attacks on white settlements were a natural reaction to a European colonial invasion, so too Palestinian attacks on the highways and suicide bombings in towns are a consequence to Jewish proliferation in the land." This is shocking that in 2006 Virginia Tech would knowingly hire such a person.
Here are some questions for Virginia Tech, which seems to be a hotbed of Muslim extremism these days:
1) Did they know that Steven Salaita advocates the destruction of Israel when they hired him? He states implicitly that Israel should never have been created. Therefore, logically, he would have no problem if it were wiped off the race of the earth.
2) Did anti-semitic celebrity Nikki Giovanni have any say in hiring Steven Salaita?
3) Did Steven Salaita teach Cho Seung-hui? If not, what contact did he have with him? It is hard to believe that this constant bashing of America would not have had an effect on him.
"'Tis time to give 'em physic, their diseases are grown so catching." Shakespeare in Henry VIII.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I just got back a couple of days ago from a week and a half in Puerto Rico and a week cruise in the Caribbean. It was a lot of fun but am not looking forward to going back to work.

Favorite island in the Caribbean? Definitely Puerto Rico. It feels very American and prosperous, and both San Juan and the island are gorgeous.

I'm not going to be blogging as much in the coming months. I'm taking two classes at Notre Dame Graduate School at Christendom College in the evenings: Intro to Theology and Patristics. I'm also going to concentrate on mastering Spanish.

However, in the near future I will post a recommended book list for those interested in the field of Social Foundations of Education--the bizarre term that is used in most education schools for the fields of the social sciences as applied to education. I don't like term "Social Foundations" at all--education is actually very personal and not social at all . The main purpose of education should be on academics and our Western heritage, not on socialization and socialism, the main concerns of most Social Foundations professors who try to hoist liberalism and Marxism upon aspiring young teachers. However, it has been the accepted term for several decades now--just as "social studies" is the accepted term.

Very few people outside of education schools actually take the time to study the history, philosophy, and policy of American education, and yet it is an extremely important subject for the future of our American and Western heritage. I will have more posts on the subject this fall. I'll also have more exposes on the inanities of Social Foundations professors, so keep checking back every couple of weeks or so!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

In what country is the Catholic St. Maron monastery in Annaya, founded in 1828? The Maronite Church goes back to the fifth century and has always been in communion with Rome. It was founded by St. Maron and became a distinctive rite. It was rediscovered in the West during the Crusades. The Maronite rite escaped destruction by the Mohammedans because of diplomatic and military pressure by the West. Here is a picture of the mystic St. Maron:
Here is the St. Charbel church on the grounds of the St. Maron monastery:
The Maronite order of monks and hermits was formed in 1695. Here is the Hermitage on the St. Maron monastery grounds:
St. Charbel (1828-1898) is one of my favorite Catholic saints. He took vows to become a monk in 1853 in Annaya and became a priest in 1859 in the Maronite order. In 1925 the process for his beatification was begun, and he was beatified in 1865 and canonized in 1977:
Let's pray to St. Maron and St. Charbel for their intercession in the conversion of all Muslims, who worship the false moon god, to the true God and Faith:
The St. Maron monastery receives thousands of pilgrims each year. In which country was the Maronite rite founded, and where is the St. Maron monastery?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What is the Purpose of Education?

For Catholics, the purpose of education is to gain knowledge to change the world for the better in a Catholic and traditional Western sense. This necessitates a strong liberal arts curriculum and a commitment to orthodox Catholic values.

These days it is almost impossible get a genuine liberal arts, humanistic education because of the nutty postmodernists who have taken over virtually every department in the humanities around the world and who attempt to replace truth with jejune, heretical ideas that have no origin in Western Civilization. However, it is still possible to get an excellent education outside these postmodern, Marxist reeducation centers.

From the
mission statement of Christendom College, an orthodox Catholic university on the banks of the Shenandoah River that has a graduate school in Alexandria, Virginia, President Timothy O'Donnell discusses what real education entails:

"A Catholic university must have at least four of the following "essential characteristics." First, the Holy Father says there must be a Christian inspiration which is found not only in the individuals who make up the college or university, but throughout the university community as such. Secondly, in the light of the truths of the Catholic Faith, there must be an ongoing reflection upon the growing body of human knowledge to which the university seeks to add its own unique contribution in the field of research and writing. Third, within the university there must be "fidelity to the Christian message as it comes to us through the Church." It is here, particularly within theological discourse, that the necessity of adherence to the teaching of the Magisterium as an authoritative font of truth is emphasized by the Pope. Fourth, there must be a commitment on the part of the institution to serve the entire people of God and the entire human family of mankind "in their pilgrimage to the transcendent goal which gives meaning to life." That transcendent goal is none other than God, who beckons all men to eternal happiness in the beatific vision. Here again, in all four points the importance of faith is seen. It is central and vital to the integrity to the Catholic university. In an authentic Catholic university, "Catholic ideals, attitudes, and principles penetrate and inform university activities in accordance to the proper nature and autonomy of these activities.'"

A good example of an authentic Catholic education, the new Chavagnes International College in France for grade level students. Here is the reason it was founded:

"Every profession should be able to be evaluated. The difference between Roman Catholic schools and non-Catholic schools is that Roman Catholic schools are supposed to produce young people with a substantively different worldview. As recently as the 1970s, Catholic bishops were saying that Catholicism should permeate every aspect of the curriculum. How do you measure if this is successfully communicated? It doesn’t wash for Catholic headmasters and religious-education teachers to say, 'Our pupils may not go to Mass, but they are very committed to world peace and social justice.' However, rather, than bemoaning this fact, we decided to do something about it."

I'm envious. Those boys are getting an excellent education that many of us were denied. However, you can always educate yourself at any stage in your life. I'm getting an M.A. in Theology from Christendom College. My main purpose was to get an excellent education in the humanities to best understand Western Civilization. One of my friends from Virginia Tech who eventually went on to get a doctorate in microbiology from Johns Hopkins also takes classes at the Christendom graduate school in Alexandria. He has stated how much of an education he lacked before taking these classes, and he attended the best high school in Fairfax County, The Thomas Jefferson School, and some of the best colleges in the nation.

What we are lacking is a genuine, conservative Catholic education, and this is why Christendom College has been such a blessing.

Another excellent school with an authentic Catholic focus is St. Thomas More Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. Here is
their philosophy, a philosophy that is genuinely in the Western tradition:

"STMA recognizes that students must understand themselves and how they are created before they are able to help others. Our late Holy Father wrote in Fides et Ratio 'The admonition Know Yourself was carved on the temple portal at Delphi, as testimony to a basic truth to be adopted as a minimal norm by those who seek to set themselves apart from the rest of creation as 'human beings', that is as those who "know themselves".' We recognize that the search for truth is one that has sparked the keenest minds of all ages to understand their fundamental nature and to uncover the mysteries of the world around them. This gave rise to the arts and all the sciences, and is primarily why STMA uses a classical curriculum, because it has proven to help shape the mind and temper the intellect so that it is most disposed to think and reason, ask the right questions so that the answers can be understood within proper context."

Many Catholic colleges, in response to this need of true liberal arts, have been set up around the world or have been around for a while and are still true to authentic Catholic education. For example here is what Dr. Anne Carson Daly says about the excellent Belmont Abbey College:

"'Belmont Abbey College is a special, blessed place with a terrific sense of community, and it is a community devoted equally to faith and reason,' said Daly. 'I feel privileged to work with a faculty that is not only remarkably talented but also extremely devoted to both the College and their students.'”

Faith and Reason: Unfortunately these are two things that postmodern obsurants eschew, and so it is very difficult to get a real education these days at your average high school or university. After all, there is only one subject sacred to liberals.

A good Catholic education, of course, should always stress the liberal arts. The Christendom College webpage has an excellent explanation on the
value of the liberal arts.

Catholic education (and all education) needs to get back to our roots.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

Every weekend, I have the "Weekend Geography Quiz" to celebrate the field of geography, which arrogant "progressives" subsumed under the field of "social studies" (along with history) as far back as the 1910s.

From Diane Ravitch's
Left Back, a terrific history of American education, about how "progressives" invented "social studies" in the enormously influential 1917 Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education (CRSE), a federal report sponsored by the National Education Association.:

"The chairman of the Committee on Social Studies was Thomas Jesse Jones, the specialist on racial matters who had written the important federal report Negro Education. A well-known proponent of industrial and trade education, Jones was one of the first to coin the term of 'social studies.' This new field was formed by the intersection of two congenial ideas: one was social efficiency, or teaching students the skills and attitudes necessary to fit into the social order; the other was 'the new history,' whose advocates believed that the content of history in the schools should be selected on the basis of 'the pupil's own immediate interest' and 'general social significance.' Proponents of social studies believed that pupils could not possibly be interested in history unless it was directly related to the present.

"The trouble with history, it seemed, was that it frequently didn't have a social purpose at all; too often, it was geared toward satisfying the student's imagination or curiosity, which modern educators deemed socially useless. In its preliminary report, the Committee on Social Studies proclaimed that 'good citizenship' would be the goal of social studies: 'Facts, conditions, theories, and activities that do not contribute rather directly to the appreciation of methods of human betterment have no claim.' Even civics, which was a study of government, had to change to a study of 'social efforts to improve mankind. It is not so important that the pupil know how the President is elected as that he shall understand the duties of the health officer in his community.'"

Diane Ravitch goes on to give a quote from this Committee's report about why they thought that "social studies" was more important than history, civics, and geography. From the report:

"'The old chronicler who recorded the deeds of kings and warriors and neglected the labors of the common man is dead. The great palaces and cathedrals and pyramids are often but the empty shells or a parasitic growth on the working group. The elaborate descriptions of these old tombs are but sounding brass and tinkling cymbals compared to the record of the joys and sorrows, the hopes and disappointments of the masses, who are infinitely more important than any arrangement of wood and stone and iron.'"

Notice the Marxist undertones from this Committee's report of 1917. This report was enormously influential and tragically transformed the entire character of America's schools. You can see its influence in the fact that we still call history and geography at the elementary and middle schools levels "social studies" and the disparagement of subject matter that has no socialist utility. This is yet another reason to take back the schools from the "progressives."

Amazingly, socialists and liberals have attempted to take credit for the Civil Rights Movement, which was a successful movement by Blacks THEMSELVES to gain equal rights that were viciously denied them by DEMOCRATS and LIBERALS in the South. This movement liberals have falsely (and racistly--as if Blacks were not able to organize the Civil Rights Movement themselves without the paternal guidance of liberals) taken credit for gives them the ability to throw the epithet "racist" to anyone who disagrees with their "progressive" and socialist ideas (think The Great Society, discarding prayer and morality in schools, and busing for integration) that tore apart Black communities. The social utilitatrian and "progressive" education methods that date back to the CRSE's report and before are the some of the root causes for societal problems facing the Black community today.

This week's Weekend Geography Quiz:
This attractive city of about 300,000 in the heart of the cotton belt was settled along a river in the area of the Alibamu Indians.
On December 1, 1955 Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, and a bus boycott was launched until the city desegregated the mass transit system in December 1956. Martin Luther King lived here from 1954 though 1960:
This city has not only been integral to the Civil Rights Movement, it has also had important musical contributions. The great Hank Williams lived here and is buried here in in Oakwood Cemetery.

The city has an important historical and musical legacy, but it is also a city of modern cultural achievements. It has a world-renowned Shakespeare theater and is home to the seventh largest Shakespeare festival in the world. It puts on many productions throughout the year:
This city also has the fifth largest museum in the world, the new Fine Arts Museum, also in the huge and attractive Blount Cultural Park that houses the Shakespeare theater. In 1910, the Wright winter flying school was set up in this city by the Wright brothers, and its legacy is still found today in that this city is an important Air Force training center. This very hot and humid city is a city of oaks and pines with many very attractive neighborhoods. It is also very religious. Every other building seems to be a church.

Finally--best of all--this city is home of the VERY BEST hot dogs in the world--even better than Atlanta's the Varsity--and was ranked in the top ten best hot dogs in the U.S. by the Travel channel (it should be number one). They can be found at Chris' hot dogs, founded in 1917,on Dexter Avenue near the Capitol:
What is the name of this all American city?

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Top Seven Classic Novels Banned from High Schools

Gerald at the very popular Catholic blog Closed Cafeteria has a nightmarish but true post about the proposed sex education curriculum in Germany. My first thought was the novel Brave New World. However, so many in America would not be familiar and thus warned about the implications of such a program because they have been exposed to mediocre teen lit and insipid multicultural trash instead of great literature from their time in high school and college. When Barack Hussein Obama states he wants sex education for kindergarteners, many young people instead of running away from this guy as fast as they can as they should, are embracing him because they feel proud of their multiculturalism in this Brave New World. There are so many lessons about life that teenagers should be gaining from classic literature but are not because much of classic literature has been banned from classrooms across the nation. Thus, teenagers are not warned or educated about many of life's lessons and will have to experience them the hard way.

I've come up with the top seven classic novels (in no particular order) banned for a variety of reasons from classrooms that teenagers (and all educated adults) should be familiar with because of the important lessons that these novels provide:

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley's absolutely dazzling science fiction novel about a liberal world shows a society where God is banned, leaving an incredible spiritual void that is filled with sex, drugs, and shallow social relationships. The novel is surprisingly sexually explicit, but it is perfectly suited for teenagers, who instead of being attracted to this type of sex and drugs are guaranteed to be repelled. Liberals are bringing us at warp speed towards this type of society of "community, identity, stability," so teenagers should definitely be forewarned and forearmed to combat this type of society. It is not surprising why liberals have banned this book. They are embarrassed at how similar their ideal society is to that of this book!


This is a dynamite novel by George Orwell that truly is one of the best in the English language. There are three parts in the book. Parts 1 and 2 come across as thrillers whereby the two main protaganists attempt to escape and come to grips with the totalitarian society they are in. Part 3 is totally unexpected and is one of nightmarish horror and will knock you out. This book packs a devastating and disturbing punch. It is unforgettable, and teenagers will be certain to avoid having society go this route that liberals are taking it. Teenagers will be familiar with the terms "Orwellian" and "doublethink" and are sure to be wise enough when liberals start engaging in these activities to call them on it. 1984 has been banned from schools supposedly because of the sex and the intensity of the horror, but that is not to be believed. After all, liberals want sex education for kindergarteners, so it is not possible that liberals would ban a book for sex. The real reason 1984 is banned is because socialists and "social justice" advocates do not want students to be aware of their true agenda (or are not fully aware of it themselves and do not want to be reminded of the actual horror of it ). In fact, if forced to teach this novel, liberals will engage in doublethink themselves and claim absurdly that 1984 is a novel about a society that doesn't value nonconformity and, thus, bizarrely attempt to implicate capitalism and democracy. That's classic doublethink. 1984 is about and only about the horrors of socialist totalitarianism.

3. Ivanhoe

This novel by Sir Walter Scott is perhaps the best historical fiction ever penned, and yet it has been banned from virtually every classroom in America for its anti-Jewish stereotypes in the character of Isaac. First of all, it is somewhat strange that liberals and socialists are so concerned with anti-Jewish stereotypes when they so openly are against the War on Terror and embrace themselves so readily the culture of Islam and Muslim nations. David Horowitz's Unholy Alliance details the close relationship between the Left and Muslims. Leftists, who have banned Ivanhoe, are as anti-Semitic as they come. Thus, it seems that Ivanhoe is actually banned more out of spite for the literature of "dead, white males." Never mind it is one of the most engaging and magical reads in Western literature and that teenagers will really take to it. Furthermore, the character of Isaac (while comical) is also one of the most fascinating in Western literature. The reader is certainly to have sympathy and respect for Isaac. Furthermore, the Jewish Rebecca is one of the most sympathetic, winning characters in Western literature. So, teenagers are much more likely to have a POSITIVE view of Judaism and a distaste for Isaac and Rebecca's treatment than not from reading this book. Liberals are always so eager to nannyishly ban books for what they perceive are negative stereotypes in order to superficially appear enlightened. Instead of banning great literature, however, they should look in the mirror and reexamine their anti-Semitic support of jihadists' agenda. Teenagers should definitely be exposed to this colorful and memorable novel that positively portrays the chivalry and high culture of the Middle Ages (another possible real reason that liberals have banned this book). It will definitely interest them in the history of Western Civilization.

4. Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair is a magnificent book. It is extremely long but engrossing throughout, thanks to Becky Sharp, one of the most fascinating and scheming characters in English literature. I can't help but think that Margaret Mitchell modeled Scarlet O'Hara for her Gone With the Wind (another great banned novel students should be exposed to) after her. There is a lot of comedy and drama in this wonderful novel in which Becky is determined to rise in society, connivingly using every ruse possible. This novel by William Makepeace Thakeray is a terrific expose of the superficial vices or the upper echelon of society--and, of course, remains timely today. This novel is a must for teenagers because they are absolutely guaranteed to be put off by things like superficial, Paris Hilton-like fame and Hollywood pop culture. This classic novel contains an immense amount of wisdom that students should be exposed to. I don't know why this is no longer taught. Perhaps the length takes up too much time for banal multicultural lit. . .or do liberals uncomfortably see themselves in the characters of this brilliant novel?

5. The Portrait of Dorian Gray

If Brave New World will turn teenagers off of casual sex and Vanity Fair will expose the banalities of pop culture, then The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde's great novel, will have teenagers question self-centered gratification of one's desires at the expense of others and of moral and religious principles. Oscar Wilde was one of the most gifted writers of the English language. His wit, dialogue, and descriptions of scene are some of the freshest and most delightful in English literature. The comedic The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the best plays ever written. Oscar Wilde was a flamboyant genius who lived in high artistic society of Victorian London. Yet in The Picture of Dorian Gray, he questions the values of this aesthetic and hedonistic lifestyle of "art for its own sake." In the end, it simply is not fulfilling. Oscar Wilde, as everyone knows, was homosexual, yet he questions the lifestyle that so many gay activists are pursuing. Dorian Gray is a young man mesmerized by his portrait submitted by an admirer. He is brought into a lifestyle he is enthralled with by another friend, a new artistic acquaintance he is attracted to in high society. He pursues nonstop his self gratification. For some reason, though the years pass, he remains beautiful on the outside but on the inside his soul is corrupt and disgusting as shown on his portrait. The more he sins, the more disgusting and evil the portrait becomes. The characters are heterosexual in the novel, but Oscar Wilde makes it clear through descriptions and dialogue that homosexuality is the issue here. It just was simply not possible at that time to openly write that type of novel. However, the implications are there, and teenagers most likely will not be as tempted to get into this type of lifestyle. At least they will have the wisdom of this great novel to fall back upon.

6. Great Expectations

Every teenager should be exposed to Charles Dickens, yet amazingly very few are. Dickens simple is the very best writer in our English heritage. He has the most memorable, fascinating characters, both major and supporting. I would say David Copperfield is my very favorite novel in all of English literature. Great Expecations is another, and this one provides great lessons to teenagers though its memorable and appealing protaganist Pip, who goes from being poor to a wealthy young gentleman through a mysterious benefactor. As he becomes engrossed in money and the debonair lifestyle of the young and wealthy (hello Hollywood?), he becomes more self aware and builds his character as he discards the superficial. This wonderful, memorable novel is a must for students and provides great lessons about life, what is truly important. Dickens is a wealth of wisdom that students should feast upon. This novel will truly build character.

7. Silas Marner

For some inexplicable reason, George Eliot has been banned from the classrooms, mostly from indifference. Yet she is one of the most brilliant writers of our English heritage. I would say she is the second best writer of the novel, second only to Dickens. Silas Marner is a gem of a novel. The protaganist selfishly withdraws from society and miserly cares only about accumulating gold. He adopts a young orphan who is found abandoned in his yard and is touchingly transformed as he cares for the young orphan and reintegrates himself into society. This novel provides a wealth of wisdom about many topics from suffering, materialism, and charity, and it is highly memorable.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Geography Quiz

This city is considered to be the Oriental St. Petersburg because of its beautiful, European and Russian influenced architecture:
This city has beautiful summers but frigid, Siberian winters. It is world famous for its winter ice festival that draws tourists from all over the globe:

This city has a spectacular treasure trove of various styles of European, Russian, American, Japanese, and Chinese architecture, reflecting the international mixture of the population of the city during the first half of the 20th century. The city has had a large population of Russians, Americans, French, Japanese, and Chinese. It had a large Jewish population. Many Whites Guards fled here after the Russian Revolution. The city is now a bustling city of 4.5 million people. What city is this that has played such an important role in 20th century world history due to its proximity to major world historical events?