Memo from John Gardner

“One should fight like the devil the temptation to think well of editors. They are all, without exception–at least some of the time–incompetent or lazy. By the nature of their profession they read too much, with the result they grow jaded and cannot recognize talent though it dances in front of their eyes.”

John Gardner

Excerpted from: Bernard, Andre, and Bill Henderson, eds. Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections. Wainscott, NY: Pushcart Press, 1998.

Superstition (n)

Finally, on this Tuesday morning, here is a context clues worksheet on the noun superstition, which seems like a word students ought to understand clearly–particularly, I think, in these times, as an antonym to reason or science. There is a lot of Counter-Enlightenment sentiment, basically superstition, floating around at the moment. It’s up to educators to keep alive the values of reasoned inquiry.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Accademia della Crusca

“(Ital, ‘Academy of the Chaff‘) Florentine literary academy founded in 1583 to purify Tuscan, the literary language of the Italian Renaissance. It was opposed to Tasso in the debate over the merits of his Gerusalemme Liberata. The first part of its official dictionary appeared in 1612, and the work is still in progress.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Word Root Exercise: Rupt

If there is a better time, for obvious reasons, to post this worksheet on the Latin word root rupt, I can’t imagine it. It means “to break, burst,” and is at the basis of the English adjective, very much in the news of late, corrupt.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Socialization

“Socialization is the process by which we learn to become members of society, both by internalizing the norms and values of society, and also by learning to perform our social roles (as worker, friend, citizen, and so forth).

There is an ongoing dispute about the relative importance of nature versus nurture (or hereditary and environment) in human development. A related debate concerns the extent to which humans are over-socialized. Are humans ruled by their social manners and role-playing skills to the extent that basic human instincts are eradicated? This debate pits the psychological perspective of Freud, which views socialization as working against our natural inclinations and drives, against the functionalist perspective that sees socialization as essential for the integration of society. Recent studies have focused on social class differences in socialization, some of which have to do with language (see B. BernsteinClass, Codes, and Control, 1971), others . of which are more concerned with differences in value orientation (see M. KohnClass and Conformity1969).

Socialization is no longer regarded as the exclusive preserve of childhood, with the primary agents being the family and school. It is now recognized that socialization continues throughout the life-course. It is also recognized that socialization is not simply a one-way process, in which individuals learn how to fit into society, since people may also redefine their social roles and obligations. Any understanding of socialization must therefore take account of how the process relates to social change. In this sense, some schools of sociological theory imply an allegedly ‘over-socialized conception of man in society,’ in that they overstate the extent to which values are internalized and action is normative in orientation–a charge often leveled, for example, against normative functionalism (See D. Wrong, ‘The Oversocialized Conception of Man,’ American Sociological Review1961).”

Excerpted from: Matthews, Gordon, ed. Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Cultural Literacy: Vatican City-State

OK. I must go into work today, if only to show my face and return my computer. I’m finding the motivation for even this small task. It has been a tough year for this teacher.

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Vatican as a city-state. I’ve used it, among other materials, to illustrate the concept of city-states in freshman global studies classes.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Antecedent

“1. The words in a text, usually a noun phrase, to which a pronoun or other grammatical unit refers back. Cook is the antecedent of him in: ‘In 1772. Cook began his second voyage, which took him further south than he had ever been.’ Similarly, his second voyage is the antecedent of which. With impersonal itthisthatwhich, the antecedent may be a whole clause or paragraph, as in: ‘Might not the coast of New South Wales provide and armed haven? To some people this looked good on paper, but there is no hard evidence that it did so to William Pitt or his ministers.’ Despite the implications of the name, an antecedent can follow rather than precede: ‘For his first Pacific voyage, Cook had no chronometer.’ 2. In logic, the conditional element in a proposition. In If they did that, they deserve our respect, the antecedent is they did that.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.