Agency, Structure, and the Myth of the Immaculate Perception

Picture 7

National Public Radio on the weekend played a story (an interview with Neal Gabler, the author of an Atlantic article on the same topic) about how hard many in the US have it economically. Continue reading

“Opie, it seems I made a mistake…”

IllgottengainWhen I first came to the US to work, back in 1993, I wasn’t aware of some of the subtle differences between the US and Canada (or at least where I grew up), but I soon discovered a bunch of them. I could talk about the blank stares I’d get if I said “zed” instead of “zee” for the last letter of the alphabet or, instead, I could tell you the story of, early on, asking a student, at the University of Tennessee, “to write a make-up test” only to be presented by her with an untaken, freshly made-up test a week later. Continue reading

Journalist, Know Thyself

Back in April, 2012, Frank Bruni, a regular columnist for The New York Times Magazine, wrote an Op-ed piece that was much discussed at the time. Entitled “The Imperial Promise of College,” it argued that the condition of the current economy (e.g., the high un/under-employment rate, the staggering amount of collective student debt, etc.) should prompt college students to select majors that have direct, practical pay-off. After singling out a couple of examples of majors that, in all likelihood, turn out to be unrelated (or as he might have phrased it, irrelevant) to someone’s eventual career, he writes: Continue reading