I’ve attended my share of graduations and hence my share of graduation speeches—from politicians more interested in stumping than inspiring their audience; to local TV personalities assuring graduates they too could become local TV personalities; to the real Patch Adams, who wasn’t nearly as funny as Robin Williams in his less-tha[...]
Like many people of my generation, I got my first electric guitar as a teenage birthday gift, took a few lessons and learned a few chords, and immediately started a band that bashed out angry punk rock at breakneck speeds.[...]
Ludwig Wittgenstein finished writing the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, the achievement for which most of us remember him, in 1918; three years later came its first publication in Germany. And to what problem did Wittgenstein put his luminous philosophical mind in the interim? Teaching a class of elementary schoolers in rural Austria.[...]
As if we needed the competition—am I right, parents?—of some very excellent children’s books read by some beloved stars of stage and screen, and even a former vice president.[...]
Produced between 1956 and 1964 by AT&T, the Bell Telephone Science Hour TV specials anticipate the literary zaniness of The Muppet Show and the scientific enthusiasm of Cosmos.[...]
Image by Università Reggio Calabria, released under a C BY-SA 3.0 license.
In general, the how-to book—whether on beekeeping, piano-playing, or wilderness survival—is a dubious object, always running the risk of boring readers into despairing apathy or hopelessly perplexing them with complexity.
Woe to the famous actor who dares to write a novel or start a band or design a line of clothing. The public can be awfully snobby about such extracurricular pursuits. We reward our children for cultivating a wide range of interests, but heaven forfend a celebrity who wanders away from the accepted script.[...]
How do you draw Batman?
Don’t say you don’t, or that you can’t. According to cartoonist and educator Lynda Barry, we’re all capable of getting Batman down on paper in one form or another.
We can probably all agree that it’s a little premature, but all the same, the BBC has barreled ahead with its list of “The 21st Century’s 12 greatest novels.[...]
What is “Philosophy”? Yes, we know, the word comes from the Greek philosophia, which means “the love of wisdom.” This rote etymological definition does little, I think, to enhance our understanding of the subject, though it may describe the motivation of many a student.[...]