Category Archives: rhetoric

Worn Out

Racial Battle Fatigue: What is it and What are the Symptoms? (medium.com) The infamous George Carlin routine about “soft language,” particularly his explanation of how the condition first called shell shock has come to be known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, has more than its fair share of merits. Its strongest point is that medical language, like other specialized language used in small circles of the broader public, tends to obfuscate and depersonalize the serious problems that the words represent. Shell shock may have an additional…

Read More »

Every Day, in Every Way

My generation was supposed to be the “short attention span” generation, at least according to many of the adults around me when I was younger. Their thinking went that since we grew up with MTV just always there in our lives, we wouldn’t be able to focus on anything for longer than four minutes or so. The rise of social media and smartphone-toting adolescents led to its own wave of ballyhooing about how 140-character tweets would lead to a newer generation of young people being…

Read More »

The Struggle Continues

About six years ago, before the Supreme Court decision Obergefell vs. Hodges legalised marriage equality in all fifty states, I heard a common refrain from many of my students that went something like this. “I think I’m a conservative. I don’t like high taxes, and I believe in limited government, but you know what? The conservatives in politics are the same people who are keeping my gay friends from getting married. I can’t accept that, so when I went to vote for the first time,…

Read More »

Four Dead in Ohio

As meaningful as today’s fiftieth anniversary of the Kent State Massacre is for me, I have to admit that my thoughts these past few days have been far more personal. On top of planning to go to the remembrance ceremonies that had been scheduled before the COVID-19 pandemic brought so much of our lives to a standstill, travelling to Kent would have meant that I’d have gotten the chance to visit Toledo for the first time since I moved out over two years ago, and…

Read More »

Enemies, Visible and Invisible

I was thirteen years old when the Berlin Wall fell, but I have a hard time thinking of myself as a child of the Cold War. I certainly heard a lot about how evil the Soviet Union was and all that, but I was totally unaware of how things like Russia’s food problems and Ronald Reagan’s bellicose rhetoric were pushing us to the verge of a hot war when I was still in grade school. More than that, despite how iconic the cartoons and jingles…

Read More »