Friday, October 23, 2009

Around the Web

For the week of Saturday, October 17 through Friday, October 23.

1) At City Journal, Sol Stern reviews "The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schools" by E.D. Hirsch. The book was heretofore unknown to me despite its topic and near-contemporaneous publication with my little essay from a few weeks ago, Revolutionary Education. While Hirsch's book details at greater length the problems of "progressive education," he discusses also the Founding Fathers' ideas on educations.  I will be posting a follow-up discussion of those ideas soon, as well as some thoughts on Hirsch's points, but I thought I would bring this review to your attention now.

2) Victor Davis Hanson is a cultural drop-out, but is compensating:
A final, odd observation. As I have dropped out of contemporary American culture and retreated inside some sort of 1950s time-warp, in a strange fashion of compensation for non-participation, I have tried to remain more engaged than ever in the country’s political and military crises, which are acute and growing. One’s distancing from the popular culture of movies, television, newspapers, and establishment culture makes one perhaps wish to overcompensate in other directions, from the trivial to the important.

Lately more than ever I try to obey the speed limit, overpay my taxes, pay more estimates and withholding than I need, pay all the property taxes at once, pick up trash I see on the sidewalk, try to be overly polite to strangers in line, always stop on the freeway when I see an elderly person or single woman with a flat, leave 20% tips, let cars cut me off in the parking lot (not in my youth, not for a second), and patronize as many of Selma’s small businesses as I can (from the hardware store to insurance to cars). I don’t necessarily do that out of any sense of personal ethics, but rather because in these increasingly crass and lawless times, we all have to try something, even symbolically, to restore some common thread to the frayed veneer of American civilization. . .
3) At Standpoint Magazine, some thoughts on Martin Heidegger.

4) Now on display in New York City:
5) Violinist Janine Jansen discusses her new album, "Beethoven, Britten: Violin Concertos."

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