Re: Books: check 'em out!, huh?

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Title of previous post to this post.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 9:15 PM
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You mom is telling you to hit on older, divorced women who have just returned from India or Italy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 9:15 PM
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Oddly enough, the first time through I thought it was an annoying, self-centered, occasionally unpleasantly exoticizing midlife crisis book. The second time, following a long conversation with a friend, I was able to see the disarmingly personal and rather appealingly honest love story that runs as an undercurrent.

I'm hard-pressed to think of a man of my acquaintance that I would give it to, though.

In other exciting news, vacation = books to me, so I spent a chunk of today luxuriating in free access to university special collections. And the person who signed in just in front of me was...Annette Gordon-Reed.

I felt like going up and being excited, but I decided to be tactful and let her do her research in peace.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 9:25 PM
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I haven't read EPL, bu my ex wife is friendly with the author, which makes me afraid that I'll be cast as the villainous ex in a popular memoir of survival and self-discovery.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 9:59 PM
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4: This happened to my ex, whose ex-wife was friendly with two, er, super-famous authors who published books with him (my ex) as really-obviously-him main characters. One of these characters is very positive, the other comically negative.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 10:06 PM
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|| ARG, David Brooks, why do you have to use authors I love to make some fucking stupid and irrelevant point about nothing? |>


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 10:16 PM
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Thanks a lot. You made me read skim a Brooks column for the first time in a long time. Towards the end he acknowledges that sometimes it's necessary to raise taxes. I'm sure I'm clinging to straws, but I hope this is a sign that conservatives will be a little more flexible on that. Brooks's column is just a forum for laundering conservative ideas, right?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 10:32 PM
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Can you explain what it has to do with Fanny Burney writing about her mastectomy? Because I can't figure it out.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 10:34 PM
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It's a complete mystery to me too. It seems like he's using it as a "people were tougher back then" kind of story, but it's a very very odd one to choose for what the column ends up being about.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 10:52 PM
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Thanks a lot. You made me read skim a Brooks column for the first time in a long time.

Yeah!

To be honest, this reads to me like there's some kind of backstory. Maybe it's a simple as "I was on deadline, and my wife was just reading a book about Fanny Burney, so I strung some thoughts together." Maybe it's more like "I really wish my fellow Republicans would stop being so stupid about the Obama/Muslim stuff and face up to the fact that we're going into a double-dip recession and we can't just cut taxes to get out of it."

But it's so incoherent it's hard to tell. Which is a shame, because Brooks is at least capable of coherence. I don't get the same sense of active-negligence-bordering-on-malice towards his fellow humans from him as I do from, say, The Youngest NYT Columnist Ever.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 11:06 PM
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I don't get the same sense of active-negligence-bordering-on-malice towards his fellow humans from him as I do from, say, The Youngest NYT Columnist Ever.

Largely because that isn't his schtick. Brooks supposed to be the friendly, mellow uncle who tells you how the world really works and why you can't have nice things. Or wearily explains that not the entire world is like the Upper West Side and that's why gay marriage is wrong or something.

Also difficult to stay evil when you got the easiest job in the world.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 08-24-10 11:33 PM
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Of the problems that afflict the country, this is the underlying one. And that's why Larry and Tim had to take away your houses and retirement savings.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:39 AM
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AWB should perhaps take comfort from the idea that there exists a conservative columnist who has heard of Burney. In years to come, when the commentariat's agenda is entirely set by people who make Sarah Palin look like a cultural heavyweight, this will be remembered as a high point.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:09 AM
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My BF's mother gave me that. I haven't been able to get through it. People assure me that it gets better toward the middle, and people who come back to it just look at certain passages. I've liked Gilbert in the interviews I've seen/heard her do.

I'm thinking of watching the movie on Netflix to get the background.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:41 AM
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13: Some friends of mine have been tracking how many times Brooks refers to books and authors we care about (like 17-18c stuff) in the most ignorant or useless way possible. How do you read something as wrenching as Burney's mastectomy account and say "And that's why people should agree with me about piddling political stuff, even if it 'hurts'! Heh heh"?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:33 AM
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15. Three points about what you say: firstly, like yourself and fake accent, I've forced myself to read the thing and I haven't a clue what point he's trying to make - it's just whining by numbers, with an irrelevant reference to Burney at the top; secondly, your friends may be doing a public service, but if that's their idea of fun they could try sticking hot needles in their eyeballs instead, which would be quicker and have a similar effect; but thirdly the only real point I was making at 13 was that even in the quality prints it's so rare to see evidence that the leader writer has ever read anything worthwhile except under duress at school that it's almost a pleasant change. But not quite.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:46 AM
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except under duress at school

This is quite literally what Brooks usually does. See here for example. I was shocked that there wasn't an opening line about how Fanny Burney is this person he vaguely remembers having heard of from a TA at U of C.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:49 AM
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My god the link at 18 is precious. My wife is likely to be laid off soon and she's read quite a few early 20th century novels. How does she get a gig misinterpreting them for the NYT op-ed page?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:58 AM
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And Bentham and Hume are handy stereotypes for kinds of economic actors in the 21st century. Convenient!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:03 AM
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19: I always prefer to think of it in terms of Marx and Spencer.
(KILLER FACT: who are buried opposite each other in London's Highgate Cemetery.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:05 AM
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I have trouble keeping my Gilberts straight. Melissa, I keep reminding myself, was the Little House on the Prairie, not Elizabeth. Elizabeth is the Coyote Ugly Gilbert.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:37 AM
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21: Gottfried's the guy with the funny voice who tells bawdy jokes; Arenas is the basketball player.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:41 AM
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Conservatism in a nutshell: "you don't know where you are, so you should not explore".

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Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:54 AM
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re: 19

Jesus! That's it. Time to launch the war coracles again.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:02 AM
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I'm going to the post office today to complain about a package that I received open and with the contents missing, and I need some talking points. I ordered this book used for $55. (I know, now it is showing up new for $16.49, but when I placed the order only the used volumes were available, and even now the cheapest used volume is $60.) Instead of getting the next installment of the comic my kids and I were eagerly awaiting, I got an empty envelope in a plastic wrapper that said in big letters "WE CARE" and then had a note about how sometimes things get damaged in shipping.

I don't feel like asking the seller for a refund, because it really isn't her fault. What I really want is for the guy at the post office to day "Oh Mr. Helpy-Chalk, we found you book on the sorting room floor. Its right here." Barring that, I want my $55 back and an apology that begins "we screwed up" and not "we care."

So what should I say?

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Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:04 AM
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23: I almost linked to this coverage yesterday, which at the time had a really funny map of a teensy tiny "safe zone". (The map, still there, doesn't seem to be working for me at this point.) This line from the linked-to Tea Party dude is just odd:

But you don't know where you are so you cannot go, especially at night, unless you take me with you.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:07 AM
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Er, that is this coverage.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:07 AM
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But you don't know where you are so you cannot go, especially at night, unless you take me with you

Stalkeriffic!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:10 AM
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25: My mother once worked, teaching languages, with a woman who had actually been a little girl in Nazi Germany. Fortunately, her dad managed to get posted to France with the army rather than, say, Stalingrad, so when the rationing began to bite, they could count on regular parcels of French goodies. Until the day he wrote to say that he'd had an unusual piece of good luck and might be able to get hold of some cognac, which would be coming in the next parcel.

Next parcel arrives, obviously opened, goods missing. Mum marches down to the post office to complain. Nothing much happens for a while. She goes back to find out what's happened. Ah, the postmaster says, there was an investigation into your case. Really? Yes, and your usual postman has been shot dead.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:15 AM
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29: That wasn't the outcome I was looking for.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:18 AM
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19 Has Brooks suffered a head injury? I haven't read him regularly in years, but I remember him being reasonably good at putting out glib arguments about how why even though the Repubs may sound evil and crazy, they're actually right and represent Real America. That article is like some very stoned college freshman babbling on at 3AM.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:18 AM
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25: If the envelope got ripped open by the sorting machines, it is the seller's fault, I think. And it ought to have been shipped with insurance, no?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:28 AM
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And it ought to have been shipped with insurance, no?

I think this is the key question. If so, you may have to fill out something called a PS1000 at the post office or put something in writing (e-mail may suffice) to the seller, so they can start the claims process with the USPS. If the seller shipped it without insurance, it's on the seller* and not USPS to reimburse you or re-ship. But, it any event, my first call/e-mail would be to the seller before I wandered over to the post office to see if they happened to find the missing merchandise.

*Their willingness to accept this responsibility will vary widely across sellers.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:39 AM
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33: Most small-scale merchants I've dealt with give you an insurance option; hopefully insurance wasn't offered and declined.

There's a whole lot of law about who bears the risk of losses in shipping that comes up in first year contracts, but I don't remember any of it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:44 AM
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In other exciting news, vacation = books to me, so I spent a chunk of today luxuriating in free access to university special collections.

Fabulous!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:50 AM
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There's a whole lot of law about who bears the risk of losses in shipping that comes up in first year contracts, but I don't remember any of it.

Yeah, 33 should probably have more caveats like "IANAL" and "I have no idea about the specifics of your purchase" and "But here's a bunch of random shit I've figured out from past interactions that were at least similar".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:59 AM
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The meaning behind her gift is inscrutable.

Most likely means, I liked this so I think you will too.

Or maybe - I can see that whiny middle aged lady inside of you, tranny boy.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 9:00 AM
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36: Oh, I doubt any of it is meaningfully relevant. It's just one of those issues that you spend an awful lot of time on in law school for no very good reason.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 9:12 AM
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38: It's just one of those issues that you spend an awful lot of time on in law school for no very good reason.

Good meta-training for being a Biglaw associate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 9:20 AM
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Figure you've saved more than $60 over the years by always declining to insure packages, and consider yourself ahead of the game.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 9:29 AM
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29: Wow, those Bernie Gunther mysteries by Philip Kerr don't exaggerate.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 9:51 AM
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Hmm, I can't find any notice of insurance on the part of the seller, but Amazon does have an "A to z Guarantee Protection." I'll look into filing a claim there.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 9:52 AM
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OT to McManus (and to anyone else with an interest in dogs): Have you read Inside of a Dog? The author is a psychology professor and dog lover, and offers all sorts of interesting stuff on how dogs perceive the world. She writes beautifully, too (which is rare for this type of book).

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Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 10:13 AM
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Have you read Inside of a Dog?

No. Dark.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 10:21 AM
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Figure you've saved more than $60 over the years by always declining to insure packages, and consider yourself ahead of the game.

Even if you've only saved $17 over the years you're still ahead of the game -- I think replacement cost is more important than original cost here.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 10:24 AM
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44: We can help!


Posted by: Bioluminescent Worms | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 10:29 AM
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Figure you've saved more than $60 over the years by always declining to insure packages....

A friend of mine had a gift for his girlfriend shipped to me to avoid sales tax. I didn't know what sort of numbers we were dealing with until I asked him how much insurance to buy when I shipped it to him. I was quite surprised by how little FedEx insurance costs, really.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 10:40 AM
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Pandora just informed me there's an album called 20th Century Masters: The Best of Semisonic The Millennium Collection.

Mighty small collection that's gotta be, right?

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Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 10:53 AM
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48: they had 10 singles and the CD has 12 tracks, so I guess they dug into the back catalog.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 11:09 AM
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AMG

The disc does a good job presenting Semisonic as one of the better bands riding the tail end of the alternative wave.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 11:22 AM
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42: Amazon does have an "A to z Guarantee Protection." I'll look into filing a claim there.

Rob, that may be the way to go, ultimately. But I'd really email the seller first; he or she may just refund you directly -- that's what we usually do -- or may prefer that you go through the A to Z Guarantee (in the latter case, Amazon may reimburse you out of their own pocket, or may decide that the seller must reimburse you, but that's neither here not there from your perspective).

The reason for going to the seller first is two-fold: if he/she reimburses you immediately, it's quicker and easier than going through Amazon. Also, too many A-to-Z Guarantees claimed on a given seller (I think it's 3 per year) counts as a ding against the seller -- often for nothing he/she actually did wrong -- so the seller may prefer to leave Amazon out of it altogether.

In any event, it's not your responsibility to talk to the Post Office, or take the loss. It's the seller's (or Amazon's). For one thing, even if there is insurance on the package, it's not in your name; it's in the seller's, so he/she would have to make any insurance claim with the Post Office.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 11:34 AM
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If the advice in the link at 23 were written as satire, it would be dismissed as so broad as to be humorless.

If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night.

Don't they know that the Scary Black People sometimes transfer from the Green to the Red line?!! Even some of the young men who menancingly wear oversized jeans!!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 12:28 PM
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Don't they know that the Scary Black People

You could just stop the sentence right there. That's about as deep as the thinking gets, in my experience.

I don't think it's violating the sanctity of off-blog communication to say that my visit to Charlottesville was delightful and the mini-meetup was especially so. (Will is modestly not mentioning that he and BR are the ones who encouraged me to go to the special collections library.) Relaxing, fun, historic -- everything I like in a vacation.

But I have to say that every one of the deeply weird things that happened to me were about race. From the dude at the bus stop who walked up and accosted me out of the blue (white guy, warning me about black people), to the taxi driver whose "proof" of non-racism was "When my father divorced my mother, he married our black maid," it was pretty remarkable.

The special collections people were so nice I couldn't bring myself to march back in and complain that their gorgeous, remarkable Declaration of Independence exhibit was marred by the inexplicable inclusion of the South Carolina "Declaration of Secession" from 1860 (?!), although I did write a tactful note in the guest book pointing out the unseemly nature of one of their other exhibit plaques.

The whole trip was a good reminder of all of the things that are different among communities, from the mundane to the charming. But wow, I really did not expect to have so much unsolicited racial stuff thrown at me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:14 PM
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Eat, Pray, Love would have gotten an entirely different reception if it had been about a guy who divorced his wife to travel the world eating and having affairs.

But Elizabeth Gilbert's first husband apparently got a huge alimony award off the book revenues, so I guess he came out OK.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:25 PM
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54.1: Anthony Bourdain writes books*.

*Okay, okay: uncharitable; I have no idea about any affairs.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:28 PM
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55: There's at least one young child and no wife. I haven't read Kitchen Confidential in years, but I seem to recall at the end of the book he talks about how his wife is his best friend, and if he were ever not with her, he'd end up being one of those asshole tv personality "chefs" who don't actually cook anymore, but frolic a lot with 20yos. He meant those things as bad things.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:35 PM
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54.1: It's almost as though there's some kind of double standard around gender!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:44 PM
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unsolicited racial stuff

We can spot Northern rabble-rouser instantly. Witt even brought her own milk crate to assist her with her rabble-rousing.

(Witt was delightful, despite her occassionally yelling at random passers-by.)


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:45 PM
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Carpetbagger, please.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:46 PM
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56: I've only seen a few episodes of his show, but the ones I saw featured an Italian wife (his second?) and his daughter pretty heavily.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 1:59 PM
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Eat, Pray, Love would have gotten an entirely different reception if it had been about a guy who divorced his wife to travel the world eating and having affairs.

In 1980, or 1970, or 1960, etc., yes, but now, no. Now a little army of well-educated women would drag the notional writer across their acid-etched microplanes in Blogsylvania (and many reputable publications, I'm sure) on charges of "privilege" and "TMI" and, inevitably, failing to "say something new about...," and then there would be a round of "I wasn't going to weigh in on this, but..." posts by men without chests from Park Slope to Berkeley, preening in their uxoriousness. Every piece would start with something about the author photo and conclude with some horrible, obvious kicker.

Then the guy would, instead of getting an honest job, try again in a couple of years with some apologetic, wretched "I'm a docile househusband now..." wedge of recycled pulp about changing diapers and being the only man in Mommy & Me yoga.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:18 PM
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61: I think you misinterpreted 54. If I read PGD correctly, he was claiming, as I understand you to be, that a male counterpart to the author of E,P,L would have been received with disdain rather than admiration. You and PGD both agree about how badly a divorced man would get treated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:25 PM
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62: Ah, I was thinking of the many, many people attacking/dismissing EPL for navel-gazing, shallowness, etc., etc.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:29 PM
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Sigh, more "What about the men?" comments. the situations are incommensurable due to the millenia of male privilege and the oppression of women. This is the exact equivalent of Tea Party complaints about black racism. Not what I expect to see an Unfogged.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:42 PM
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100% OT
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Who is this idiot Dylan Ratigan on
msnbc? I am watching him make fun of the fact the DEA hired people conversant in what he keeps calling Ebonics and saying "isn't that just slang? How can you hire an interpreter for something that keeps changing?" And then he did a little quiz with some blogger (or something) translating phrases like "you need some benjamins so you cin get some bling bling"!

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Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:45 PM
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Nothing oppresses women or men more insidiously than the predictability of your comments, bob.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:46 PM
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44 Yeah, yeah. Fruit flies prefer a banana.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:52 PM
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65: Argh. I scared Buck a bit last night -- the same story came on the news with an offhanded slap at the proposal back in the 90s to use [what the proponents of the proposal actually did, I think, refer to as Ebonics but is I think formally called African American Vernacular English or A.A.V.E.] in teaching English in California high schools. Buck gave a bit of a "Heh, that sure was stupid", and got a bottled up rant on how AAVE is a dialect different than, but in no way linguistically inferior to, Standard English, rather than being a collection of grammatical errors, and if you're trying to teach a class of children that are native speakers of AAVE how to speak Standard English, systematically teaching them the grammatical structures of their native dialect, and the grammatical structures of Standard English, and where they differ, really isn't insane or silly at all. I hadn't quite realized how much that sort of offhanded ridicule annoyed me.

Probably has nothing to do with the 'Ebonics' translators the DEA hires, which would be more about keeping up with current slang.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:55 PM
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66:As 64 was a actual spasm of bitter sarcasm and irony, I guess you know me better than I know myself, Flipper

Finally got around to Miike's Ichi the Killer last night. Uncut on Sundance. Terrific.

Hmmm

1. Very good or fine; splendid: a terrific tennis player. 2. Awesome; astounding: drove at a terrific rate of speed. 3. Causing terror or great fear; terrifying: a terrific wail. 4. Very bad or unpleasant; frightful: a terrific headache.

...free dictionary. As I thought, and thus appropriate for the movie.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 2:56 PM
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Argh. I scared Buck a bit last night

I thought the rest of this comment would detail your plan to divorce him and move to Bali.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:01 PM
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61 reminds me, indirectly, that we haven't trashed last week's Modern Love yet. It's entirely pointless to do so, but it was so obnoxiously self-centered, even by ML standards, that I can't resist. The author's mother died, and "Thus began my reluctant journey as my [mentally disabled adult] brother's keeper."

To be sure, suddenly becoming responsible for someone is a big deal. Fortunately, the author has a little help (all put in place by her mother):

There's St. Joan, as we call her, John's caseworker via a vendor agency that oversees people with disabilities. Joan has assumed the parental rights of John. She manages his numerous medical appointments, works with trust officers to ensure he has spending money, orchestrates his comings and goings, cleans closets, fixes broken chairs and talks to him at least once a day.
There's Kathy, who tolerates John's meddling as she attempts to clean his little Section 8 apartment on a bus route with easy access to Arlington, Woburn and Cambridge.
There's the spirited Kirsten, an art educator who takes him to galleries, museums and county fairs every Saturday and who shares his love of sports.
There's the security guard at the TD Garden who sneaks John in the side door so he can watch his beloved Boston Celtics, and the women at the cafeteria in Arlington Center who have his brunch ready and waiting every Sunday when he arrives by bus for his favorite meal of the week.
The baristas at Starbucks have John's coffee (with room for cream) poured and ready within minutes of seeing him crossing the street every morning. Every other Tuesday, a man named Bob, whom I have never met or talked with, takes my brother home from his Knights of Columbus meetings where he is the sergeant in arms (read: official coat checker).
And then there's me.

What does our intrepid author do? As a "dutiful daughter," she has John over for the occasional weekend stay. Brava!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:02 PM
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the security guard at the TD Garden who sneaks John in the side door so he can watch his beloved Boston Celtics

Way to ruin that one for him, sis'. You can bet someone's going to be watching the side doors much more closely come b-ball season.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:06 PM
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70: Eat, Blog, Put on Suncreen doesn't have the same ring.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:07 PM
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72: I know, right?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:08 PM
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71: That was a bit weird. On the one hand, she seems awfully uninvolved. On the other hand, John seems to be capable of living alone, and to have sufficient local support -- to be much more involved, she'd have to either uproot him or herself, which doesn't seem that it would actually improve his wellbeing all that much. But the travel screwup made me think less of her: surely a reasonable person would have arranged for him to be met at the airport somehow?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:08 PM
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fixes broken chairs and talks to him at least once a day

I initially misread the bold word as "chains".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:08 PM
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71: Not sure I've ever read an article with as big a gap between self-congratulation and actual effort. You could feel her wracking her brains for something in her life that could possibly, possibly get her into the Times.

She could have just had an affair instead and at least written a more entertaining column.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:11 PM
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"A shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot"

Wikipedia">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialect">Wikipedia

It is interesting how clear, how basic, power and institutional privilege are in linguistics.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:13 PM
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75: I would have no problem with her being uninvolved if she hadn't described herself as taking on a burden to honor her dead mother.

On preview, what PGD said.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:14 PM
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75: That was sort of my take -- her brother was raised to be as independent as possible, and she is proud of that (both on behalf of her brother and of her mom). Is the idea that she's selfish for not moving her family to Boston? Or forcing him to move south? The airport screw up didn't make me think less of her, though. It didn't sound as if he needed to be met (indeed, now that they've sorted out the key problem and better communication, he isn't), but for the fact that his luggage never arrived and he kept waiting. And I was really touched by the story of the old prom date: "Sometimes people just do the right thing, and we don't know why. They just do."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:15 PM
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79: She's not misrepresenting her degree of involvement, though -- the article's honest about that. And she's acting as "her brother's keeper" at least enough that she'd know (in a month or two) if something had gone wrong with his support structure, which really is a big deal, even if not terribly effortful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:22 PM
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This is a weird issue for me, because my brother in law is disabled and absolutely incapable of living independently. The plan is for him to move in with my sister-in-law when my parents-in-law become unable to care for him, with financial support from us but the day-to-day caregiving on her. But things happen, and plans change, and so there's a possibility that Buck and I could end up as his brother's caregiver at some point. Which, selfishly, I'd prefer not to do, but on the other hand I can't see him in a nursing home with no one he knows.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:36 PM
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I wasn't really bothered by that ML. Sure, it's kind of a boring story, and she's not the world's most self-sacrificing person. But she's not really claiming to be an incredible sacrificer, either, just someone who took on a burden, which, it seems, she did.

I mean, it's not like I fell in love with the author or anything, and the piece felt a little thin to get published in the NY Times, but it didn't strike me as qualifying for the top 200 most annoying Modern Love columns.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:41 PM
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And there seems to be a hint that she hasn't been particularly close with her family. I didn't take it as self-congratulation so much as "Huh. Weird that it's me."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:44 PM
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Huh, I'm surprised by how differently other people reacted to it. She has exactly no responsibility for her brother. If she completely cut herself off from him tomorrow, his life wouldn't change -- -- someone else has parental rights, he seems to be provided for financially from a trust, and he is fairly independent. There's nothing wrong with that per se, but it really goes against what I expect from terms like "brother's keeper" and "burden" and "dutiful daughter" which suggest self-sacrifice or at least responsibility of some kind.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:48 PM
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I was surprised that a caseworker, personally, had assumed parental rights for a client -- I wondered if that was garbled somehow in editing. Wouldn't it be the agency rather than the caseworker? What if she changed jobs?

But back on the author, she does have at least some responsibility, even if all the legal responsibility is on the caseworker. She's in contact, aware of her brother's situation, and would, presumably step in if there was a problem (say, if St. Joan turned out to be embezzling his funds and leaving him uncared for). That's not a high-effort burden, and it's not a legal responsibility, but the family member who's in closest contact does have some real responsibility, even in a self-managing situation like this.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 3:54 PM
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85, 86: I think her degree of involvement and everything else is legitimate, understandable and appropriate, but somewhat per 77.1 the questionable thing is: Why write it up for the Times?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:13 PM
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t really goes against what I expect from terms like "brother's keeper" and "burden" and "dutiful daughter" which suggest self-sacrifice or at least responsibility of some kind.
And yet she qualifies the terms -- heavily -- as soon as she uses them. "Thus began my reluctant journey as my brother's keeper, a role I would share with cousins and siblings, agencies, caretakers and good-hearted strangers." Or "I choose to be a dutiful daughter in honor of a mother who prepared John so that not only he, but also I might live independently -- because that was her way." She's her "brother's keeper" -- along with a whole lot of other folks with more day-to-day contact with him. She's a "dutiful daughter," but insofar as she is maintaining her own independence as well as her brother's.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:15 PM
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87: Well, it's kind of an interesting position to be in -- being the most involved family member for someone who does need care, and yet being at a distance. She's certainly no hero, but I wasn't aggressively bored by the article.

Actually, what hit me was how humane his situation was, and how dependent that was on the trust fund; you want to bet that without that there wouldn't be a governmental safety net providing the care he needed? Her life doesn't have to revolve around her brother because her family was quite rich -- if they hadn't had assets to put in a trust for his care, she would have had to move him closer to her, or vice versa.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:19 PM
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I was quite surprised by how little FedEx insurance costs, really.

Not worth squat unless you have the receipts for what you lose, though. And maybe not even then (I've never gone through the process).


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:37 PM
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89: Yeah, I guess I should actually read the article first ... (if that's the precedent).

OK, read it. Several further reactions:
1) Money helps. A lot.
2) To me the airport going home anecdote is really the story hook and somewhat justifies the article. But the loosely fleshed out context still grates a bit in its presentation (the headline in particular is not good and sets it up for negative reactions).
3) Still not sure it should have been written and published in consideration of the brother and possibly some of the "keepers".


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:37 PM
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You mean just ratting out the guy who sneaked him into games? I didn't see anything else that struck me as wrongfully invasive or privacy-violating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:41 PM
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92: The Starbucks people will probably lose their jobs, too. I mean, they don't try to up-sell him or get him to buy a Dave Matthews CD or anything. ABC: Always Be Closing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:49 PM
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And somewhat like LB, this one is a bit weird for me as we are in the midst of a family situation with some common elements--especially the "where" part (but also with some very different factors)--which make me very reluctant to judge *anyone's* choices looking in from the outside. (Although I will readily admit that my stance might in part stem from discomfort with some of my own (and other family member's) choices.)

92: Not really invasion of privacy, but just a general concern about unintended consequences that might negatively impact what looks to be a decent setup for her brother. (Maybe one of the "keepers" resenting their representation (I know she intended to portray them very positively but still), or having a different interpretation of an event, or who knows what.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 4:58 PM
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The special collections people were so nice I couldn't bring myself to march back in and complain that their gorgeous, remarkable Declaration of Independence exhibit was marred by the inexplicable inclusion of the South Carolina "Declaration of Secession" from 1860 (?!)

I'm guessing that there was something in the curatorial presentation of this that made it gross -- otherwise, especially if the latter was consciously modeled on the former, it seems just local-historically interesting and relevant.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 5:06 PM
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. . . if the latter was consciously modeled on the former, it seems just local-historically interesting and relevant.

I'm not sure about the word "just" in that sentence.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 5:18 PM
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I'm not sure about the word "just" in that sentence.

You're right. Neither am I. But still, in the absence of information about how it was presented, it doesn't strike me as a necessarily unseemly thing to include, especially if it's a rare document that the particular institution has in its own collection.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 5:21 PM
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Hm, that Modern Love column doesn't bother me either; it's rather nicely sewn up by the final line, "And I aspire to be a loving sister in honor of all my brother's keepers in the greater Boston area, whoever they may be" (though "keepers" is mildly grating, and occasional other word choices throughout are as well).

It actually sounds to me that it's more about the writer's loss of her mother than it is about the brother. Cf. "that's what happens. People die. Their burdens don't." (Again, here, though, I'd have preferred "responsibilities" to "burdens.")

I've certainly felt some of this after my mother's death: felt that I was being forced to replace her, complete with the choices she had made -- especially with respect to our extended family -- but which I might not have. Failing to follow through with or for the family is out of the question, so there's a sense of duty and responsibility that's not exactly resented, so much as shouldered, but with (hopefully) grace rather than grimness.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 5:37 PM
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||

Not just because I know her, but also because it's an Unfogged tradition and she's pretty close to the top ten: you should all go cast a vote here.

|>


Posted by: Grover Cleveland | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 5:46 PM
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People die. Their burdens don't.

She used the word "burden" because she had used the old expression for dying "laid her burden down," and was playing on the notion that while the deceased may have laid them down, they do not go away.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 5:49 PM
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99: that's not catherine.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 5:58 PM
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100: Right. The same with "keeper" as in "brother's keeper," which isn't necessarily pejorative. It just occasionally struck me -- not in an overwhelmingly irritated way -- that the preponderance of terms like these cast the brother in somewhat less-than-human terms.

That may be why it seemed to be more about the loss of the mother, and carrying on after her loss, than about the brother.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:01 PM
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Further to 95, I can't really understand why it would be so horrible to include the Declaration of Secession. It's a part of their history, no? Was the exhibit glorifying secession in some way?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:24 PM
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The "modern" part of ML generally comes from relatively new or unorthodox gender roles and the unpredictable struggles they cause. The infuriating part, I think, in addition to onanistic writing, comes from how the supposedly new stuff really is pretty vanilla and familiar to everyone but age 70-plus WASPs, and the struggles are trivial for the author compared to the effect they would have on someone of lower SES.

Well, I haven't read the link, but it sounds like this is more about unorthodox family dynamics or care for the disabled in general than about gender, and variety might be nice. It's certainly as modern as anything else in ML. And the author seems to acknowledge the large safety net. So just based on comments it seems likely this is better than average as ML goes.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:25 PM
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Without having seen the exhibit, I agree with Paren in 103.

Here is the website for the exhibition in question. It looks like they've put on displays of old copies of the declaration of independence, together with examples of how the declaration's language was used in other contexts, including both abolitionists, confederate secessionists, etc. Again, I haven't seen the exhibit, but unless the display included some bizarre pro-Confederacy endorsements (which seems pretty unlikely, even at UVA), it looks unobjectionable to me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:30 PM
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I almost mobbed Annette Gordon Reed when I was in the same elevator as her awhile back. But I, like Witt, decided not to. I wonder if perhaps we should be telling her that she has fans?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:32 PM
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104: Ha, yes, it struck me that if nothing else, the column was "modern" only insofar as people apparently forget that some things are as old as the hills.

The column is an easy ready, Cyrus, if you care to check it out.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:32 PM
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even at UVA

*Cockpunch*


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 6:33 PM
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95-97, 103, etc.

Hm, let me see if I can explain my reaction better. First off, it's an exhibit about the Declaration of Independence. Yes, okay, rich white men who didn't want to pay taxes.* But also these really lofty and revolutionary (ha) concepts that are sewn so deeply into American society that today we almost don't recognize them as optional.

So you're wandering through this nicely laid-out exhibit, which has good lighting and clear writing and neat chronological progression showing the document that was voted on, explaining the various printed versions, discussing the famous "Thunder and Rain" letter from the Delaware delegate who rode through a bad storm in poor health to cast the critical vote. The whole thing is generally well curated, because you get context, but not so much that it overwhelms a non-historian, and they have good use of images and illustrations throughout.

But the vast, vast bulk of the exhibit -- unless there was more in the room across the hall that I missed, but I think that was just the Mark Twain exhibit -- is about American revolutionary history. In other words, ideals and values that are still widely supported and held today.

And then you get to the end (or at least what I perceived to be the end) of the two rooms, and there hanging in a corner is this glass-framed document. With precious little -- if any -- curatorial framing and context.

To be clear:
1. I agree that it's historical
2. I agree that it's interesting and valuable
3. I understand why it is worth displaying (although it's mildly confusing to me why it's in VA and not SC, but whatever -- lots of documents end up far from home)

It is not at all clear to me why in an exhibit on American INDEPENDENCE should include an odious document issued nearly a hundred years after the Revolutionary War, which is part of official statements made by the government of South Carolina complaining about their fellow states' refusal to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, and admonishing the federal government for its perceived interest in abolishing slavery.

This is not a praiseworthy document or a praiseworthy moment in American history. Never mind that they felt it was a "declaration of independence," it wasn't. And it's certainly not an illustration of values that are widely supported and viewed as a cornerstone of the U.S. today.

IMO, it should not be on exhibit in a setting that leads the viewer to believe it is being endorsed. Put it on display, sure. Put it in a Civil War exhibit. Put it in a South Carolina exhibit. Put it in a "why people claimed to be rebelling at various times and points in history" exhibit. But don't leave the casual browser with any hint of the notion that you think this document reflects an honorable moment in US history.

*And indeed, the item I diplomatically objected to was a plaque discussing the tremendous losses suffered by those who signed the declaration -- the British singled them out, burned their homes, they were separated from their children...oh yeah, and Mr. X lost 130 slaves and Mr. Y lost 200. Gosh, how terrible and awful for Mr. X and Mr. Y!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:01 PM
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Btw, I want to be clear that while I'm kvetching over this one part of the exhibit, the thing itself is really marvelously well done. I got shivers looking at the subscription book (aka order form) with Jefferson's and Madison's signatures ordering a copy of the copied Declaration to have for themselves.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:07 PM
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Whoops, s/b "ordering a copy of the Declaration"


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:08 PM
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But the vast, vast bulk of the exhibit ... is about American revolutionary history.

I'd been listening to Curtis Mayfield because, inspired by Heebie's last post, I wanted to find the version of "We're A Winner" in which he sings, "... Like Martin Luther told us to."

Just after I read your comment, quoted above, I put on "People Get Ready" and it brought tears to my eyes.

I say, again, in that concert Curtis Mayfield manages to combine passionate conviction and political engagement with a striking lack of anger. It is so generous that it moves me instantly.

When he sings, "There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner / Whom would hurt all mankind / Just to save his own" it's pointed, but there's no trace of sarcasm. It sounds like a completely straightforward appeal to one's better nature.

[I hear that song as being explicitly connected to the civil rights moment and makes me think of, for example, "I'm Own My Way". ]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 7:36 PM
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110 is very cool.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-25-10 8:10 PM
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Never mind that they felt it was a "declaration of independence," it wasn't.

Well, it kind of was. In fact, it completely was. They were declaring that they wanted to be independent. Now, it's true that their motives were slightly more odious than those of the 1776 authors*, but that doesn't alter the nature of the document.

*"We want to go on treating black people as property" vs. "we want to go on massacring Indians and stealing their land".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 2:18 AM
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There's a difference between an exhibit about a document and an exhibit about an event. An exhibit on American independence would be different than an exhibit on the American Declaration of Independence. This seems like the latter, and as such, including material on how that Declaration was re-interpreted later seems perfectly fine. The fact is that the subscription book is itself part of that re-interpretation process - it's certainly not strictly about the event of American independence.

Unfortunately, you can't tell from the website exactly what documents are on display and what text accompanies them. I would think that an exhibit that does go into the re-interpretation part of the document's history would have to address the secessionist use, along with other, praiseworthy, uses (as the exhibition website puts it: "reform and political groups from abolitionists and secessionists to labor unions and civil rights activists have used the words of the Declaration to support their causes"). Not because of questions of balance or praise or criticism but because it was a part of the history and to fail to address it - in an exhibition where you have materials that can address it - would be to leave out an important, if dishonorable, part of that history.

How to address it is another question, and without seeing the exhibit I can't say anything about what they've done there. I would guess that a large, heavily visited museum would take a different approach than a small special collections library. You're probably going to get a more one-sidedly celebratory (of currently held values) exhibition out of a large museum, while a smaller one in a university setting is likely to pay more attention to the complexity of the past, or to the past as it was understood by the people who created the materials on display. An exhibition dealing with controversial topics is obviously going to have to be careful about how they present things, which is why I think the exhibit text and context is so important here. Maybe they botched that part of it.

although it's mildly confusing to me why it's in VA and not SC, but whatever -- lots of documents end up far from home

As far as I can tell, some donor, probably very wealthy, decided to collect materials related to the Declaration of Independence. This included things like the subscription book - which probably did not start out in Virginia (as far as I can tell, Tyler went from New England to New York to Washington and made his copies of the Declaration there) - and the South Carolina document and a whole bunch of other things that seem more obviously related to the documents that were created around independence time. Then he gave the whole collection to the library. And then then the library decided to take some stuff out of that particular collection to make an exhibit. The title of the exhibit prominently features both the name of the collection and the donor's name (since it's in the collection name).


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 3:59 AM
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Generally speaking, these are the kinds of issues that make me not want to get involved in the exhibits side of history work. I suspect I'd be too thin-skinned about feedback.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 4:07 AM
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The striking thing about the subscription book is how awkward John Quincy Adams' handwriting looks compared to the rest of them. Was he a leftie who had been forced to write right handed, or did he suffer from arthritis, or what?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 4:11 AM
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117: Possibly, or maybe even the effects of a stroke (although he was only about 50)? At any rate, in a contemporaneous letter to his mother. My eyes are not much worse than they were before the violent attack which for several weeks deprived me of their services; but it is in the right hand that I most seriously feel the effects of my declining years. You cannot fail to have perceived it in my handwriting. ("Keep telling me about your declining years, sonny boy, 'cuz it makes me want to puke." - Abigail)

Although this sample of Presidential signatures shows that his father's writing had some of the same cramped look.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 5:34 AM
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118. That's an interesting page. Most of them have the compromised scrawls of the overworked, but GWB seems to have written something in Pitman shorthand.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 5:45 AM
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68

... if you're trying to teach a class of children that are native speakers of AAVE how to speak Standard English, systematically teaching them the grammatical structures of their native dialect, and the grammatical structures of Standard English, and where they differ, really isn't insane or silly at all. ...

Speaking of rants this sounds like a remarkably bad idea to me for many of the same reasons that bilingual education has been a disaster in practice. Except worse.
1. You severely limit your teacher pool. What fraction of potential hires know the difference between grammatically correct and gramatically incorrect AAVE (even granting that AAVE is uniform enough that the distinction makes sense of which I am unconvinced)? And what fraction of principals could properly evaluate whether a potential teacher was competent in AAVE? Also note bilingual classes tend to attract a disproportionate number of teachers who don't speak English well.
2. How are you going to assemble your class of native AAVE speakers? In practice this probably means sticking all the black kids in one class and all the white kids in another. Which has a certain appeal but probably won't help the scores of the black kids much. Especially the ones who don't speak AAVE and have no desire to learn it. How many black parents want their children instructed in AAVE? In practice bilingual education sometimes meant forcing native English speakers with Hispanic surnames who spoke little or no Spanish into Spanish language classes in which not surprisingly they didn't learn much. And how many black children aren't native speakers of Standard English anyway? How many hours of Standard English TV shows have they watched?
3. The idea of systematically comparing and contrasting correct SE and AAVE, like teaching group theory to third graders, is the sort of thing that appeals to academic theorists (and might actually make some sense for very bright children) but is counterproductive in practice for average and especially below average children.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 6:05 AM
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But things happen, and plans change, and so there's a possibility that Buck and I could end up as his brother's caregiver at some point. Which, selfishly, I'd prefer not to do, but on the other hand I can't see him in a nursing home with no one he knows.

My daughter's neurologist sat us down and suggested that the disabled make transitions better when they are younger. Thus, it is better for them to go into a group home in their twenties, than to wait until their thirties or forties. Often, parents think they can handle the situation and that, hopefully, they will outlive their child.

When that doesnt happen, the transition can be really difficult for them.

So, the difficult question is "Is keeping the disabled relative (child/brother/sister) with you a selfish thing?"

I'll get back to you when I have a good answer.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 6:29 AM
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34

Most small-scale merchants I've dealt with give you an insurance option; hopefully insurance wasn't offered and declined.

IANAL but my understanding is that the seller is responsible (and if you pay by credit card this is true in practice as well as theory) so buying insurance is basically a gift to the seller.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 6:48 AM
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Huh, something I actually agree with JBS on: bilingual education is a bad idea. Having some bilingual teachers in schools with a large number of kids who don't speak English is a different story, but children can pick up languages remarkably quickly if you put them in a situation where they have to use them.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:04 AM
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123: Sure, but while they are picking up English remarkably quickly, they are falling behind in math, science, history classes that are being taught in a language they do not understand. Picking up a language as a general matter is one thing, where it's largely a matter of picking up new vocabulary for objects, actions, concepts you already understand. But if you don't know the words being used to describe a concept, the likelihood of simultaneously picking up the concept and the language is decidedly slim.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:14 AM
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124: Absolutely. But the goal should be transitioning the kids when they're ready -- and that just isn't the goal in a lot of places. It's weird -- I worked on a bilingual ed. project for a textbook publisher and went around Bakersfield, southern CA, and East Palo Alto interviewing teachers and administrators, and the goals of these two groups were not compatible. The teachers (frequently Latino/a) were blunt and would say things like, "Every year we keep them in Spanish only classrooms puts them another year closer to working in the fields." The administrators were hardcore identity politicians (well, in reality, I think most of them were selfish fiefdom preservers) who would insist that the kids should never fully transition, for reasons of "pride" and "culture." I ended up very passionately Team Teacher.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:24 AM
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re: 124

I don't think that is really borne out for young children [rather than teenagers or adults].

But if you don't know the words being used to describe a concept, the likelihood of simultaneously picking up the concept and the language is decidedly slim.

And I don't think this makes any sense, either. How do you thing we do our primary language learning? We pick up the word and the concept at the same time.*

* eliding all kinds of philosophical and linguistic issues here, of course.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:27 AM
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First, I think Shearer's comment on teaching Standard English by means of AAVE is fundamentally confused, because AAVE and Standard English are close enough that they're perfectly mutually comprehensible. The grammatical differences are something you could lay out systematically in a couple of pages, and teach over a fairly short period of time. The point of the exercise isn't to make the students more comfortable, or preserve their identity, but to give the teachers a point of reference from which to teach Standard English. ("While [grammatical structure X] works in AAVE, when you're writing Standard English, remember that [grammatical structure X] turns to [grammatical structure Y]. Now go through your essay, look for examples of [X], and rewrite changing [X] to [Y]." That sort of thing. It's nothing like the demands of full-scale bilingual education, and nothing that would require perfect segregation of native speakers of AAVE.

I'm not sure it's the best way of teaching Standard English -- lots of things sound good but don't work well in practice, but it's not ridiculous.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:47 AM
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120: In my experience, AAVE isn't solely limited to black kids; the white kids I mentored needed to learn about code-switching too, and I think that's the key idea in what LB was suggesting. Well, and the other key idea is that it can be counterproductive and hurtful to tell these kids that the way they talk is wrong and ungrammatical when it does in fact follow its own grammar.

I have a friend who's a foster parent who can't get the 5-year-old in her care to accept that "your daddy's house" is grammatically correct because the girl insists it should be "my daddy house" since she only has one daddy. This is the kind of thing LB is talking about, I think, and it's fine for this girl to speak a dialect where she says "gots" and "my daddy house" but she's also going to need to be able to function in standard English to succeed in all the usual aspirational ways.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:52 AM
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On the bilingual education thing, I'm on both sides. Oudemia's 125 accords with everything I've heard about bilingual programs generally -- that they're damaging to the abilities of the kids in them to function successfully in English, and motivated by a combination of misguided identity politics and other less commendable motives.

OTOH, the program my kids are in (which calls itself 'dual language immersion', not 'bilingual') seems to have the virtues, for the kids who come in without functional English, that Di lays out in 124, without hurting their English language development. The kids who come in without any English learn good English very fast: by second grade or so, everyone's functional in English (it doesn't work as well the other way -- lots of the Anglo kids don't learn solid Spanish. But some do.) And they never have a period when they're lost and non-functional in the classroom: they're full participants from day one, and as academically successful as the Anglo kids (allowing for SES differences. The Anglo kids have richer and better educated parents, on average, and on average do better academically. But there's not a huge academic gap between the English language learners and the Spanish language learners.)

I don't know if there are reasons that programs like the one my kids are in can't be duplicated on a large scale. But I do think that what's wrong with bilingual education (and I think there's a lot wrong with it generally) is a matter of the design of the programs and the people running them, not that it's fundamentally misguided to support English language learners by teaching them partially in their first language.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:57 AM
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*"We want to go on treating black people as property" vs. "we want to go on massacring Indians and stealing their land".

Independence from Britain was necessary to let the colonists massacre Indians and steal their land?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 7:58 AM
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130: The British were quite opposed to this and wanted to end the practice, but Thomas Jefferson wouldn't let them.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:01 AM
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I have a friend who's a foster parent who can't get the 5-year-old in her care to accept that "your daddy's house" is grammatically correct because the girl insists it should be "my daddy house" since she only has one daddy.

Exactly. You can't code-switch successfully until you've got the concept that there are two distinct codes. "My daddy house" is a grammatically correct possessive in AAVE; the five-year-old is resisting the Standard English possessive because it sounds like a plural to her, and she doesn't have the grammatical concepts to understand that there are two distinct dialects, with distinct ways of forming the possessive, and she needs to learn how to switch from one to the other.

Most speakers of AAVE pick this up organically as they get older, but teaching it systematically seems perfectly reasonable to me. I don't know that it does, in practice, work well, but it's worth trying.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:01 AM
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125: Comity. I just think it's necessary to distinguish "Many/most bilingual programs are poorly run" from "Bilingual education is bad."

126: We learn the word "gravity" at the same time* we learn the concept "gravity," but we already understand words like mass, distance, attraction. But your point about student ages is well-taken. I did have an older student in mind (I.e. not preschool/Kindergarten).

* Actually, we probably learn the word long before we learn the concept in any serious way. But I'm having a hard time thinking of concepts. It's maybe like trying to explain the concept of a tort to someone who doesn't understand the words for injury, wrong, care, duty, etc. But probably most school kids don't need to understand what a tort is...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:09 AM
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119: That is, indeed, truly odd, and again makes you wonder where the hell they got him from. Follow the link - his sig looks weirdly like an illiterate attempt at the word "Mugabe".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:15 AM
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Why is bilingual education getting such a bad rap here? Vladimir Nabokov, "a perfectly normal trilingual child" (Speak Memory), seemed to do OK. Just as a frinstance...


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:19 AM
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135: What do you mean by "bilingual education"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:20 AM
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re: 133

Language learning is one of those pulling-oneself-up-by-one's-own-bootstraps activities. Particularly when learned via immersion at a younger age. Kids pick up lots of words simultaneously, all the time. One doesn't need to be able to provide some high-level philosophical analysis of a concept in order to be able to demonstrate competence in the use of a word. And one's understanding of the uses of a word can evolve over time.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:21 AM
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118.2: Strange how "Eisenhower" begins with an Omega.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:23 AM
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135: "Bilingual education" is being used to mean "Programs in American schools that teach English language learners partially or entirely in their primary language and are identified as 'bilingual education'". They all seem to suck for the kids in them in practice, the question is whether the idea is fundamentally misguided, which I don't think it is, or whether there's something systematically wrong with our execution.

118: My continuing crush on Grant comes out in my thinking that he has the best-looking signature.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:26 AM
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I ask 36 because Teraz seems to be saying "Bilingual education is unnecessary because kids should learn multiple languages" and Chri s Y seems to be saying "Bilingual education is valuable because kids shoul.d learn multiple languages".

||
This Paul Simon collection my officemate has been playing all week is surprisingly heavy on "Songs from the Capeman."
|>


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:27 AM
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136. I think I should be asking that. I thought it was about teaching children in two languages so that they're comfortable in both. I know of schools that charge a shitload of money to do this, and of parents who are sufficiently convinced that it's a good idea to pay it. Getting it free from the government sounds more like a privilege than a problem.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:29 AM
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In America "Bilingual education" basically means teaching kids whose parents only speak Spanish in both Spanish and English instead of just English.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:32 AM
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142. I still don't understand why that's a bad idea. I was only taught in English, but if anybody had had the gumption to teach me in Spanish as well I'd probably speak it better.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:34 AM
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Getting it free from the government sounds more like a privilege than a problem.

Yeah, my kids do, and it's great. But programs in the US that are called "bilingual education" seem, in practice, to usually keep the English language learners isolated from the mainstream and unsuccessful in English. I'm not sure what goes wrong in practice, but they seem to be consistently screwed-up programs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:35 AM
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It took me about four months to get from 'je ne parle pas francais, parlez vous anglais', 'combien', etc. to knowing enough French to learn properly. The Maths and science teacher spoke English and made sure I and the other American kid understood what was going on; the French and history teacher knew about as much English as I did French going in. This was in middle school and I had just spent two years in Geneva learning the absolute bare minimum of French to survive. Even without the bilingual teacher, I think the rapid acquiring of language skills would have more than compensated for the few months of sub-standard ability to learn other stuff.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:35 AM
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141: It's natural for you to think that way, being over there on your side of the pond. Here in America, however, speaking two languages is subversive.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:36 AM
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145: Part of the challenge for ESL students in America that you didn't face, though, is that they have a largely non-Anglophone peer group. One Spanish-speaking kid in an all English-speaking school would probably learn as fast as you did. If they can talk to their friends in Spanish, and they only need English to understand the teachers, I'd guess that that slows the process.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:39 AM
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My opposition to 'bilingual' education in US public schools stems from an impression that in practice it often tends to become quasi monolingual education for Latino kids who aren't forced to function in English. And while keeping up Spanish language skills is a good thing, it is less important than learning English if you're going to be living in the US. Plus you don't need bilingual education to know a foreign language if that's the language you use at home.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:40 AM
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I could speak to my friends in English over at the English speaking sister school that I'd been attending on the same campus. The schedules weren't exactly the same and we weren't attending classes together but it's not like I was isolated from English speaking folks in my own age group.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:44 AM
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Plus you don't need bilingual education to know a foreign language if that's the language you use at home.

Not completely true -- the stereotypical teenage child of Spanish speaking immigrants in NYC speaks accented English, but very vocabulary-impoverished childish Spanish. My kids' Spanish speaking classmates are, at least I'm told, coming out of the program with stronger English and stronger Spanish than their peers in regular schools.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:44 AM
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The thing is, I agree with the first sentence of your 148. But I think it's a mistake to look at the consistently bad results bilingual education has gotten in the US, and think that the idea of teaching kids partially in their native language is fundamentally misguided, rather than something that's been really badly implemented.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:46 AM
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re: 148

Plus you don't need bilingual education to know a foreign language if that's the language you use at home.

Yes, although I have friends who are educated to doctoral level in English but functionally illiterate in their mother tongue. Some of my friends who are Punjabi speakers at home have some basic literacy, I think, but I had university friends who spoke Cantonese or Hakka at home who were illiterate in Chinese. So I expect they'd have gained some benefit from formal education in their mother tongue [although 'bilingual education' of the type under discussion probably wouldn't be the appropriate source for that].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:46 AM
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131: exactly.

"He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands."

i.e. "He is trying to stop us nicking more land off the Indians."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:51 AM
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I said you don't need bilingual education to know your parents' language well, not that you necessarily will. The majority of the children of my parents' friends spoke Polish badly or not at all. (They all spoke English very well and I am sure that's true of Latino kids of a similar socio-economic background.) But that's partially their parents decision to not consistently use only Polish in their early years, and partially the children themselves. I was semi-illiterate in Polish well into my teens until I decided to start reading it. The first book was a nightmare of sounding out words letter by letter, but if you already know a language well, and you know how to read, learning how to read it doesn't take that much effort unless it's not an alphabet based system.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 8:59 AM
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Sure, but that's true of anything you learn in school. You could learn it on your own time, but most people don't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:00 AM
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No, you will speak the language fluently without any effort at all if your parents decide that that's what they want. From that point becoming literate takes a few dozen hours of effort.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:04 AM
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My nephew just started kindergarten in a "Two-Way Dual Language" pilot program. There are 2 kindergarten classes, both of which have native Spanish and native English speakers, and both teachers are bilingual. I don't get exactly how it's going to work yet, but the kids will switch back and forth for different subjects in different languages.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:06 AM
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re: 156

From that point becoming literate takes a few dozen hours of effort.

Unless the language in question is say, Chinese, or Japanese. Or is written in non-Roman script using, say, lots of words from a high literary vocabulary that you don't use as a vernacular speaker, and so on.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:06 AM
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I'm not clear on what we're arguing here. My understanding is that in NYC, children of Spanish-speaking immigrants tend, in fact and for whatever parenting/schooling reasons, to emerge from the public schools with impoverished Spanish skills: teaching in Spanish, like that in the dual language immersion school my kids attend, can prevent that without necessarily retarding their acquisition of English.

I don't think that directly contradicts anything you're saying about your experience as a bilingually-raised child who learned a third language in middle school.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:09 AM
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159 to 156.

To 157: Yay! The way my kids' school did it was switching day by day, all subjects in either language. (Actually, lower grades was MWF Spanish, TTH English, and then after second grade it was mornings and afternoons.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:10 AM
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say, lots of words from a high literary vocabulary that you don't use as a vernacular speaker

That would describe the nineteenth century classic I used to learn how to read Polish. Lots of dictionary use and 'Mama, tatus, co znaczy...?'. Like I said, a few dozen hours of sustained effort.

or is written in non-Roman script

Memorizing a couple dozen characters does not take long, judging from my experience in learning Cyrillic.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:12 AM
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139.2: 118: My continuing crush on Grant comes out in my thinking that he has the best-looking signature.

YOUR SIGNATURE ON A BIKE AIN'T SO BAD, EITHER. IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: ZOMBIE GRANT | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:23 AM
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162: (I do, actually, wave as I pass on occasion.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:25 AM
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I'm not clear on what we're arguing here.

My view is that in practice the actually existing bilingual programs in the US tend to offer very little benefit to Latino kids while often causing significant harm to their English language skills. Yes, a well designed one with full integration between native English and native Spanish speakers can work well, but those seem to be more the exception than the norm. And in any case, even the good ones are far more beneficial to the non-immigrant kids, particularly ones from higher SEC families, than they are to the average kid from a poor Latino immigrant family.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:28 AM
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163: Ha. I wave at him, too. During the whole idiotic and embarrassing French-hating episode of the early aughties, I would wave at the Statue of Liberty and speak French to her. (I am unwell.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:29 AM
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And in any case, even the good ones are far more beneficial to the non-immigrant kids, particularly ones from higher SEC families, than they are to the average kid from a poor Latino immigrant family.

I'd agree with your first two sentences. To the quoted sentence, though, I would say that it does not accord with my observations of the program my kids are in. (Well, actually, I'm not sure if my kids are getting more out of it than their originally Spanish-speaking classmates, which is literally what you said -- I don't know how to make that comparison. By comparison to kids in other neighborhood schools, though, I think the originally Spanish-speaking kids in my kids' school are better off then similar children in English-only schools with a heavy concentration of originally Spanish-speaking children.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:38 AM
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I don't know where all the subjunctive in that last comment came from. Consider it all restated in the indicative mood.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:39 AM
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will@121: Often, parents think they can handle the situation and that, hopefully, they will outlive their child.

Similar considerations were the sober genesis of the whole giant nuclear fireball/ WAAGNFNP silliness at Michael Bérubé's blog a few years back (post title, "A matter of will").

...and how we can even try to begin to think about the possibility of our outliving Jamie--and the possibility of Jamie outliving us. It's one thing to write about this in a book, now, and quite another to sit down and go about the process of setting up a "special needs" trust, decide who should administer the trust, think up a couple of backup plans, and so forth. So it occurs to me that one of the more pleasant aspects of a giant nuclear fireball that consumes all life on earth is that it would render all these difficult decisions moot.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 9:55 AM
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165: Bi-lingual education for the symbolic gesture win.

167: Consider it all restated in the indicative mood.

I would be inclined to think that it's a too late for that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:00 AM
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That's the subjunctive/comedy Italian immigrant mood?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:04 AM
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170: Shit. I'm Chico to your Groucho.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:08 AM
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The conditional/comedy Italian immigrant tense:

"Euripides pants, I breaka you face."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:15 AM
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Speaking of musical comedy, the title of this post has been sung in my mind to the tune of "Fish Heads" since I first saw it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:16 AM
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in practice the actually existing bilingual programs in the US tend to offer very little benefit to Latino kids while often causing significant harm to their English language skills

I absolutely don't think this is true. It might be true if you define "actually existing bilingual programs" as "really badly designed programs designed for ESL students", but then it would be a pretty boring claim.

There are highly successful programs all over the US that use home language literacy as a teaching tool to acquire English language fluency and then English literacy. Every study that I have read on the subject supports the idea that teaching content in a home language and literacy in a home language provide enormous advantages for English learning, both on the spoken-fluency and reading/writing levels.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:34 AM
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I don't actually know anything firsthand about bilingual education other than the program my kids are in. But I've always had the same impression, from news coverage and so forth, that bilingual education programs generally are very troubled, along the lines of Oudemia's 124. Do you have a sense as to why they generally seem to be ill-thought of, if in fact they work pretty well?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:39 AM
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Well, education in general is troubled. Education for children whose parents don't speak SAE and/or don't have much money is worse. I don't think there's enough of a standard curriculum or protocol that "generally troubled" says anything about anything except "fucked up schools with no money and not enough teachers".

Also, I may have misunderstood what various people mean by "bilingual" and/or "ESL" in this thread. I was mainly responding to the idea that using a native language to teach English is bad- I think it's good. But "Spanish only classrooms" doesn't sound like anything I would call "bilingual"- it sounds like ghettoization and failure to teach English. So, comity, maybe?

ALSO, also, Americans have super weird ideas about "letting" people speak languages other than English, in general. So that UMC kids get lots of bilingual immersion type things, because of the proven benefits, while poor/immigrant/Latin@/deaf kids get forced English only, because of assimilation.

And finally, also, news coverage of this issue is almost always incredibly bad.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 11:26 AM
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news coverage of this issue is almost always incredibly bad.

Fixed.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 11:34 AM
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Here's a 2002 report on California student achievement over a period in which many schools transitioned from offering bilingual programs to not, pursuant to a state law discouraging them. The best summary of the findings I found on a quick read was here:

There is no clear pattern favoring one instructional model over another. Our analyses by instructional model revealed gains in all subject areas, for both EOs and EL/RFEPs in each of the three instructional models over time. In addition, performance gap narrowing between EOs and EL/RFEPs was evident in every model. The size of the gains and the extent to which the gap closed varied by grade level and subject tested, and no one model emerged as the most effective. Demographic analyses reveal important differences in socioeconomic status and EL concentration across the models, leading to the conclusion that the three instructional model categories delineate very different schools and are likely influencing performance outcomes.

Seems to be a wash, which is a surprise -- I had thought that there was good evidence that actually existing bilingual programs were mostly damaging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 11:53 AM
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I'm not sure what my high school did in the way of bilingual education or ESL, but there was a Spanish-for-native-speakers course. Mostly grammar, literacy. For the highest level of high school Spanish, they put native speakers and people learning Spanish as non-first language were put together. The native speakers were clearly better at speaking and listening, but it seemed like the non-native speakers might have had an edge in writing and possibly even reading too because they knew the grammar better.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 11:57 AM
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Sally's middle school offers Spanish as its only second language, but they have two tracks along those same lines: Spanish for native speakers and Spanish for beginners.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 11:59 AM
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178.last see 176.last.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 12:10 PM
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Scottish schools, or at least some Scottish schools, teach Gaelic, and they (as far as I can remember) differentiate between Gaelic for learners and Gaelic for native speakers. I have vague memories that there might have been one or perhaps two people at my school who did it, but I think they had outside tuition.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 12:42 PM
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This discussion is interesting to me because my mom used to teach in a Spanish-language-immersion high school (all subjects taught in Spanish except English and their elective {e.g., band or chorus}). It's different from what's been described, in that the kids all had English as a mother tongue, and they were accepted to the program based on, among other things, their middle-school grades, so that fact alone tended to skew outcomes towards the positive; they were already excelling in their classes. Anyway, I'll have to ask her if she still has some studies to point to, while at the same time letting her know she might be today's candidate for History's Greatest Monster.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 12:47 PM
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My continuing crush on Grant comes out in my thinking that he has the best-looking signature.

I'm just trying to figure out how he managed such tidy script what with being hammered all the time.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 12:55 PM
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There are highly successful programs all over the US that use home language literacy as a teaching tool to acquire English language fluency and then English literacy.

I would really like to believe this. My own experience (in-depth knowledge of two programs and superficial knowledge of maybe ten others) suggests that actually existing bilingual programs in urban public K-12 schools in the US range from mediocre to awful.*

Every study that I have read on the subject supports the idea that teaching content in a home language and literacy in a home language provide enormous advantages for English learning, both on the spoken-fluency and reading/writing levels.

Yes. I'm totally on board with this. The devil is in the details implementation. In general, things seem to bog down when the teaching staff is not sufficiently literate, and the administrators don't care enough in their hiring to test for the difference between someone who can speak a language fluently and someone who can read and write fluently.

ALSO, also, Americans have super weird ideas about "letting" people speak languages other than English, in general.

Oh man, that is so, so true.

And finally, also, news coverage of this issue is almost always incredibly bad.

You can say that again.

*I'm fully prepared to believe that programs such as LB's kids' school are terrific -- the difference is that they're generally designed and marketed as dual-immersion, which sounds like a distinction without a difference until you get into the weeds of US public education policy.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 3:11 PM
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Yeah, that last bit has been very noticeable in six years at the school. No one ever says bilingual, which would be a natural way to describe the program.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 3:35 PM
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I did a research paper on the subject during law/grad school and I remember the results being very much consistent with 185 and similar comments, with dual-language immersion being more or less the ideal. But damned if I can remember any specifics.

Also, my brother just accepted his very first teaching job, having finished his certification this summer. Not that this has any bearing on bilingual ed, but Yay Big Brother!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 5:34 PM
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184: I just finished Grant's memoirs. Spectacular book. What a man, what a penetrating intelligence and noble character he had.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 6:22 PM
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This NYT article makes it pretty clear the Ebonics in Oakland was a silly idea promoted by a nut. And that it was inspired by bilingual education.

But others, including some blacks, say the recommendations had as much to do with self-esteem and racial politics as with sound pedagogy. And they say the resolution and policy statement -- explicitly saying blacks ''are not native speakers of a black dialect or any other dialect of English'' -- was clearly addressed to gaining Federal money, which is available only to those for whom English is not their native language.

....

Dr. Smith, a short, stocky man with a shaved head, began his talk by stressing the importance of religion, saying those without religion were merely educated fools. Then he launched into stem-winding oratory, defending ebonics and arguing that the black children who speak it deserve special programs and funds similar to those from other ethnic groups who receive bilingual education.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:44 PM
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178

Seems to be a wash, which is a surprise -- I had thought that there was good evidence that actually existing bilingual programs were mostly damaging.

According to the NYT it wasn't.

And the NYT on actually existing bilingual education.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-26-10 10:51 PM
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189: Yes, it makes that point about the specifics of how far it went in Oakland. However:

Dr. Baugh does not believe ebonics is a separate language. He questions Dr. Smith's linguistic credentials and he thinks the Oakland board's actions began from an inaccurate linguistic premise. But, like many linguists, he said there was much that was valid, sensible and important in the Oakland initiative. Indeed, he said, one of the pressing needs in education is finding a middle ground that accommodates not only children who speak standard English or those for whom English is a second language, but also those like many urban blacks or second or third generation Asians or Latinos who speak English but with ''non-standard dialects.''


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 5:51 AM
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190: Did you read that first article? It appears to me to be all excited about the fact that restricting bilingual education didn't cause scores to plummet, and that English language learners had their scores improve in parallel with English only speakers over that same period. That's all consistent with the study I linked, and with bilingual education programs in California having been at least not damaging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 5:58 AM
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And yes, calling 'Ebonics' a separate language, rather than a dialect of English, was certainly wrong, and seems from that article to have been an attempt to get federal funding inappropriately. That doesn't discredit the general idea of teaching SAE through systematic instruction using AAVE.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 6:01 AM
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192

The bulk of the article is critical of bilingual education and suggests eliminating it was a good thing. For example.

''I thought it would hurt kids,'' Mr. Noonan said of the ballot initiative, which was called Proposition 227. ''The exact reverse occurred, totally unexpected by me. The kids began to learn -- not pick up, but learn -- formal English, oral and written, far more quickly than I ever thought they would.

''You read the research and they tell you it takes seven years,'' added Mr. Noonan, a Californian whose Mexican mother never learned English. ''Here are kids, within nine months in the first year, and they literally learned to read.''


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 6:13 AM
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193

... That doesn't discredit the general idea of teaching SAE through systematic instruction using AAVE.

As a practical matter if 90% of the supporters of some proposal are crackpots it is unlikely to be implemented wisely.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 6:18 AM
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192: So, you're relying on the opinion of a reporter, rather than the linked statistics tending to show that bilingual education did not damage the achievement of California students.

193: And here you've got an article about one school board with a crackpot on it. Comment when you get to 90%.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 6:23 AM
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183: Another important difference there is that you're talking about high school but most bilingual dual immersion bilingual programs people are talking about here start in elementary or earlier. If well-implemented, starting as early as possible would be ideal because all kinds of research shows that language-learning ability is greatly reduced after liberty or so. Unfortunately, IMex rectoO starting early makes good implementation even less likely than it is in general because the general attitude towards primary education seems to be "You'll get the three Rs and be grateful for that, boi gezzum!"


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 8:32 AM
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The bulk of the article is critical of bilingual education and suggests eliminating it was a good thing.

The anecdotal evidence looks like the type that would easily translate into data. If the kids learn to read earlier it makes sense that they would test better in English. That fact that they don't is surprising.

I think the fact is that a vast amount of educational reforms and fads have little effect on the test scores. Ideas have consequences, but apparently not educational ideas.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 10:39 AM
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So I asked my (former immersion teacher) mom if she had any suggestions for where to read up about immersion/dual-language education, and she suggested CARLA at the University of Minnesota or ACIE (American Council on Immersion Education). I haven't gone and looked, but I wanted to say


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 3:05 PM
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Kobe.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 3:05 PM
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Immersion school in Kobe sounds like a fine idea. When do you think you might matriculate?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 3:10 PM
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201: Is that the kind of school where you're constantly massaged and fed beer? I think there's probably a market for that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 3:20 PM
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And on graduation your kids get their happy end. No need to worry about saving for college.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 8:53 PM
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196

So, you're relying on the opinion of a reporter, rather than the linked statistics tending to show that bilingual education did not damage the achievement of California students.

Since the NYT article better matches my prejudices, of course.

A paper which concludes that bilingual education doesn't teach young children English very well. The abstract:

English Learners, students who are not proficient in English and speak a non-English language at home, make up more than 10 percent of the nation's K-12 student body. Achieving proficiency in English for these students is a major goal of both state and federal education policy,
motivating the provision of bilingual education policies. Using data for nearly 500,000 English Learners from California, I show that students in bilingual education have substantially lower English proficiency than other English Learners in first and second grades. In contrast, there is little difference between bilingual education and other programs for students in grades three through five. These results hold across fixed effects, propensity score, and instrumental variables models.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 10:16 PM
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196

And here you've got an article about one school board with a crackpot on it. Comment when you get to 90%.

1/1 is 100%. You have some non-crackpot Ebonics advocates to cite?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-27-10 10:19 PM
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Another article confirming my prejudices.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 08-28-10 8:14 AM
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