This report on the grotesque economic boom in Dubai shows that the globalizing, capitalistic answer to the problem of modernization in the Arab world is more or less as inhuman as the fundamentalist solution. In a way, the two are complementary and represent two sides of the same cultural breakdown.
Paper Clippings The Blog of The Crossroads Cultural Center
Paper Clippings, more than a classical blog, is a service providing valuable reading material in order to help readers reach a judgment about current affairs. Comments and discussion are more than welcome.
This article on Sen. John Allen of Virginia is more interesting from an anthropological than from a political point of view. Many of us have met that unique American phenomenon: the fake hillbilly. That means someone who grew up in the suburbs around Los Angeles and, in order to find some kind of meaningful identity, in his teenage years embraced the romantic mith of rural America, and especially of the Old South, to the point of sincerely thinking of himself as a Good Old Boy from Virginia. That includes dreaming about the glories of the Confederacy, chewing tobacco, wearing cowboy boots, developing a Southern drawl, embracing a certain brand of red-state republicanism etc. It is obviously a genuine expression of the Religious Sense.
What's going on with the Intelligent Design movement? After a federal judge in December stopped Intelligent Design from being taught in a Pennsylvania school district, the Seattle think tank that promotes the challenge to Darwinism is struggling.
This article on the contemporary dance scene in New York is somewhat interesting because it points to a simple fact: contrary to all romantic notions, art is not a spontaneous, self-supporting enterprise that springs eternal from the genius of the artist. Instead, art reflects the depth of a civilization and the education of a people. If people are not educated, art will wither away, regardless of all the hype in the New York Times.
This lead article in American Educator is excellent. It talks about teaching to read, but what it is really about is the Deweyan ideology that has devastated American education since the 1920's. It forcefully makes the astonishing point that education is about transmitting knowledge. And that you cannot learn any method ("skills") separate for facing some object ("content"). The whole issue of the magazine is about teachers who discovered that kids like to be introduced to reality ("gain knowledge") as opposed to be taught tricks like circus dogs ("developing strategies"). If this points to a larger shift in the educational establishment, it would be one of the best things that happened to this country in a long time.