Monthly Archives: March 2018

The Banality of Evil in Context

“It was as though in those last months he [Adolf Eichmann] was summing up the lessons that this long course in human wickedness had taught us—the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.”

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil ch. 15 (1963)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

The Weekly Text, March 30, 2018

Today is the final Friday of Women’s History Month 2018. I’m actually posting this week’s Text from my phone, as spring break has begun, and I left my computer at work; I’m on a train headed for lovely Cold Spring, New York for the day.

Depending on what and how you teach, you may find useful this reading on Jackie Joyner-Kersee. If you do, then here is a comprehension worksheet to accompany it. Finally, here is an Everyday Edit worksheet on Bessie Coleman, the aviatrix. (And, incidentally, if you like the Everyday Edit worksheet, the magnanimous people at Education World have a year’s worth of them on offer–for free!).

If you find typos in these documents, 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.

Marie Curie (1867-1934)

“Originally Maria Sklodowska. Polish-born French physical chemist. Born in Warsaw, she studied at the Sorbonne (from 1891). Seeking for radioactivity, recently discovered by Henri Becquerel in uranium, in other matter, she found it in thorium. IN 1895 she married fellow physicist Pierre Curie (1859-1906). Together they discovered the elements polonium and radium, and they distinguished alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. For their work on radioactivity (a term she coined), the Curies shared a 1903 Nobel Prize with Becquerel. After Pierre’s death, Marie was appointed to his professorship and became the first woman to teach at the Sorbonne. In 1911 she won a Nobel Prize for discovering polonium and isolating pure radium, becoming the first person to win two Nobel Prizes. She died of leukemia caused by her long exposure to radioactivity. In 1995 she became the first woman whose own achievements earned her the honor of having her ashes enshrined in the Pantheon in Paris.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Lady Godiva

It’s Wednesday morning, and we here in New York City are on the downhill slope to the spring break. As the weather slowly warms, this seems like a good day to post a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Lady Godiva for general consumption. She was a “freedom rider” according to the theme song from the 1970s show Maude (which was sung, to my surprise, by the late, great Donny Hathaway, which explains why I liked it so much at the time, and like it still).

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.

Iris Murdoch on Failure

“All our failures are ultimately failures in love.”

The Bell, ch. 19 (1958)

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Cultural Literacy: Sally Heming

If we are going to face the truth about our national past, then perhaps perhaps this Cultural Literacy worksheet on Sally Hemings will be of some use in your classroom.

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.

Dorothy Parker (1893-1967)

[Whenever I feel down, I turn to the the Algonquin Wits, and especially one of its most brilliant, albeit self-destructive, members, the late, great Dorothy Parker. I want to annotate this quote with something few people know about Mrs. Parker: she was a dedicated civil rights activist who greatly respected Martin Luther King, Jr.; indeed, she she left her estate in its entirety to him.]

“American writer of short stories, verse, and criticism. Parker was noted for her caustic wit, as a drama critic for Vanity Fair and later a book reviewer for The New Yorker, and she became one of the luminaries of the Algonquin Round Table. Her works in verse are equally sardonic, usually dry, elegant commentaries on departing or departed love. The collection Enough Rope (1926), contains the much quoted ‘Resume’ on suicide, and ‘News Item,’ about women who wear glasses. Her short stories, which were collected in After Such Pleasures (1932) and Here Lies (1939), are as imbued with a knowledge of human nature as they are deep in disenchantment; among the best known are ‘A Big Blonde’ and ‘A Telephone Call.’”

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