Monthly Archives: July 2019

Two Great Thinkers and Writers on Patriotism

“Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

Samuel Johnson

“In Dr. Johnson’s famous dictionary, patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer, I beg to submit it is the first.”

Ambrose Bierce

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

The Weekly Text, August 2, 2019

[Today is Tuesday, July 30; I have a very busy week in store making the rounds of job interviews, so I am publishing The Weekly Text for this week today.]

The dog days have arrived. You are, I hope, by a body of cool water with your favorite cold beverage nearby. Remember: stay cool and hydrated!

The Weekly Text for this first Friday in August is this reading on muckraker Jacob Riis and its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. New York City teachers, nota bene: Riis’s name is on parks, monuments, and buildings in your town.

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.

Term of Art: Affective Fallacy

“affective fallacy: A critical term denoting the confusion between what a literary work is and what it does. That is, a work should be judged solely on its literary components, not by its emotional (or affective) impact on the reader. It was first identified as a critical ‘error’ by Monroe Beardsley and W.K. Wimsatt in The Verbal Icon (1954). It is related to intentional fallacy, in which a work is judged according to what the author presumably intended to say or in relation to the author’s biography.”

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

Growth Spurt

If you teach middle-schoolers, this reading on growth spurts and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet might be something helpful for you. The Sheltered English Immersion class I took last winter for my Massachusetts license was held in a middle-school health classroom, and I saw a lot of stuff like these materials there.

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.

Historical Terms: Baskaap

[Here’s an ugly term and concept to consider in the present-day United States; we have elected representatives, alas, articulating garbage like this.]

baskaap (Afrikaan, ‘masterhood’). The underlying white supremacist ethos crudely expressing the ideology of Apartheid.

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.

Book of Answers: Zora Neale Hurston

“What did Zora Neale Hurston do before becoming a novelist? Hurston was a folklorist who studied with anthropologist Franz Boas at Barnard College. In Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938), she compiled black traditions of the South and the Caribbean. Her novels include Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937).”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Seldom (adv/adj)

This context clues worksheet on the adverb seldom–nota bene that it’s also used as an adjective–introduces a word in common enough use in English that students would benefit from knowing it.

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.