Monday, March 27, 2017

The Russians Hacked my Homework - Column, 26 March 2017

Lawrence Hall

The Russians Hacked my Homework

Why is any murderous loser referred to as a “lone wolf?” “Lone reptile” is more appropriate.

Let us not sentimentalize wolves; they are carnivores who eat calves, colts, sheep, rabbits, housepets, children, joggers, and each other. They are not rational beings and cannot exhibit any sense of mercy, pity, or ethics. Even so, they are superior to the sort of human who, although blessed with a brain, a soul, and a universe in which to pursue the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, can only obsess on his own grievances and resentments (cf. C. S. Lewis’ A Preface to Paradise Lost).

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Do congressmen have to worry about insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays? No? That’s the affordable care act the rest of us want.

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The Writers’ Guild of America (which isn’t really a guild since they do not have a patron saint or a parish church they support) is threatening to go on strike. And one understands: the daily terror of possibly being crushed by a falling laptop computer, the risk of toxic chemicals in fashion coffees, heatstroke while lounging by the pool, being gored by a rogue pencil, and the back-breaking agony of re-typing Beauty and the Beast every few years must be soul-destroying.

Yes, the idlers spending leisurely days at the bottom of coal mines and on factory floors and high up on utility poles during storms understand the agony of the WGA. After all, how can Americans survive these challenging times without the literary wit and ethical uplift of each weekly episode of Mom?

Are carpenters, bricklayers, plumbers, roofers, and electricians paid residuals every time a house they built long ago is bought and sold? No?

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In our Republic’s capital reposes an institution styling itself Excel Academy Public Charter School. Just why a school requires four adjectives to identify itself is unclear. Further, a charter school is a public school, and “academy” is synonymous with “school,” so this accumulation of puffery could read “Excel Academy Public Public Academy” or “Excel School Charter Charter School.”

That’s the sort of non-thinking that leads committees to re-name libraries “learning resource centers.” If you plop down a lot of polysyllabic words the children will magically become better readers and thinkers, right?

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This month’s Imprimis from Hillsdale College features Christopher Caldwell’s excellent article about why Americans don’t understand Russia and why Russians don’t understand Americans: An acquaintance suggests that the most salient sentence in the article is this: "Most Russians have come to believe that democracy is what happened in their country between 1990 and 2000, and they do not want any more of it."


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