Since No One Read Last Night’s Post II

Gone: “Monday Evening, Returning (Late) From Writing Center”

Ahhh, so many things to blog about, so little time! This morning, early (6 a.m.), self engrossed in perusing the Weekend section of last Friday’s New York Times (14 March), which is just chock-a-block full of interesting articles. Got to the end of the Holland Cotter article on the painting “Wang Xizhi Watching Geese.” It’s a fantastic article, and gets even better towards the end. Self thinks everyone should read it.

Then, self read a book review by Michiko Kakutani of Michael Scheurer’s new book, Marching Toward Hell: America and Islam After Iraq. Here’s a quote from the review:

Mr. Scheuer’s appraisal of the situation in which the United States now finds itself is grim. Because of the “profound and willful ignorance” of the “bipartisan governing elite” (those “individuals who have influenced, contributed ideas to, drafted and conducted U.S. foreign policy for the past 35 years”), he argues, “America has traveled a path that has seen the lethal nuisance originally presented by Sunni militants transformed into an existential threat that is poised to strike at the core of our social and civil institutions in a way that could change our collective lifestyle for many decades, perhaps forever.” If there is “a place worse than hell in 2008,” he adds, “Americans are now in it.”

Mr. Scheuer also wrote Imperial Hubris (published 2004, under byline “Anonymous”), which self thinks would be an exceedingly interesting read.

In other news: Bernanke cuts interest rates again (in order to forestall “market correction,” aka “recession” — which, by the way, self thinks is already here), and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s unassailable (it was thought) reputation is beginning to show some mighty big cracks.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Another Student Paper

The winter after 9/11, self was a guest professor in the Creative Writing Program at xxxxxx University. She devised a writing exercise to tap into students’ emotions about the attacks. Imagine her surprise when self’s proposal was met with exceeding scorn by the students: They said, What a cliché! Can’t you come up with a better prompt for a writing exercise than that?

Because self is quite tenacious (if not stubborn), she resolved from then on that she would never, ever stop bringing up the World Trade Center in class.

This quarter, self has her students in xxxx community college write their last paper for the quarter on an event that marked their lives. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly, since self did show “United 93” in class a few weeks ago), about half chose to write about the World Trade Center attacks. Here’s the big difference in the two classes: The students in self’s Creative Writing class at xxxxxx university were almost all white. The ones at xxxx community college are mostly non-white, and over half are new, first-generation immigrants.

Tonight (while watching “Project Runway” — was there ever a more glaring example of situational irony?), she reads a paper from a student whose family immigrated from Bolivia. This boy can really write. It took him only a few years to master English. Here are his words, words that seared self, almost as much as the image of Ying’s blindness:

So the terrorist attacks did much more damage to our country than the actual destruction of the buildings themselves and the death of thousands. The events of September 11 caused a wave of misplaced hatred and ignorance that infiltrated our communities, because of the paranoia and the fear that the attacks spread throughout our nation.

The essay continues for two more pages. Read the rest of this entry »

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