A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring :
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
-- Alexander Pope
I cannot remember when I first fell in love with the English language, but subjectively, it seems like I could have fallen in love with it in utero. (My parents tell me I talked at an exceptionally young age, and both times I took the GRE, I blew the top of the scale off the language-skills section.) So it always irritates me to no end to look at the way people misuse and abuse the English language. (It also irritates me when people misuse foreign words that are imported into English, like the German Weltanschauung and Angst, but these are rants for another time.) Sometimes the frustration cro
Does anyone besides me remember Marshall McLuhan?
Like a lot of other people, I was drawn to McLuhan and his writings, beginning as a college sophomore in the late 60s and continuing into graduate school in the early 70s. When I was an undergraduate, everyone and their dog was reading Understanding Media. So, at first just to follow campus fashion, I bought the paperback edition of the book and began reading. I was captivated from the first paragraph of the first page. In fact, one of my most vivid memories of that time is of being in my room in my parents’ house and being totally engrossed in Understanding Media while a violent Kansas thunderstorm raged outside. I vaguely remember the air-raid sirens howling holy Hell, warning of an approaching tornado . But I did not come fully aw
Back in April of 2009, the Pew Forum published the results of a survey The Religious Dimensions of the Torture Debate which attracted little more than passing interest at the time, but which has assumed additional significance in the wake of the publication of the so-called “torture report” under the auspices of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The survey was updated in early May of 2009, and the updated version was published simultaneously with a cautionary note, The Torture Debate: A Closer Look , about possible reasons for the correlation of religious beliefs and attitudes toward torture. The latter publication wisely notes that, while religious beliefs may be decisive in determining attitudes toward torture, there is an equally strong possibility that both religious beliefs and attitudes toward