We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • http://twitter.com/quyethtd Pragmatism
  • Clayton Burns

    There will have to be changes in American journalism.

    This silly thing–which got dumped off on a Friday afternoon by someone who declined to provide an analysis, but instead just snapped a link into place–some really important weekend stuff coming up–is indicative.

    Journalism schools in America are not functioning. They are churning out generic graduates who seem to have misplaced their brains.

    OK. Put it to me. Is there a better way, or am I just shooting the breeze too?

    I recommend that Journalism schools, beginning with Columbia’s, focus on education journalism.

    For example, the reporting on high school English is atrocious. The habit of distracted education reporters is not to pay any attention to comment. Unlike these helpless people, I will give you my e-mail address– claytonburns@gmail.com –and respond to all comments, except for ungrammatical death threats.

    If you are going to have the gall to write about English teaching in American schools or colleges, you should (must) have mastered The American Education Reporter’s English Short Course: The Peter Beidler “The Turn of the Screw,” the Helen Vendler “Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries,” the Arden Shakespeare “Hamlet,” and the COBUILD English Grammar. Your word guide is the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.

    If you are going to have the gall to write about History or Politics as taught in the colleges or schools, you must have mastered the Special Project, the one-volume Kershaw “Hitler,” “Hitler’s Hangman,” by Robert Gerwarth, “The Magic Mountain,” and Laurent Binet’s “HHhH.” If you have not done the work, shut up.

    In Psychology, Mark Ashcraft’s “Cognition” is an excellent focusing text because it has many strengths and some deplorable weaknesses.

    My message is, if you do not know what you are talking about, just shut your mouth.

    As for the incompetence of the magazine, try using your head, if possible. There are many opportunities to learn. “Tree of Smoke” is useful for integration of Literature and History. Just as “The Magic Mountain.” In the Woods translation, the latter is just as good a writing model as “Tree of Smoke.” It also teaches analysis of History.

    The theory in American journalism is that you do not need a mind or an intellect to do the work. That is why these comical episodes keep happening.

  • Clayton Burns

    I cannot understand why journalists and editors do not do the work.

    I know as a matter of fact that the reflex when faced with the slightest challenge is to take evasive action. So that the important matters of life, such as inane chatter with friends and attending at a drinking hole, can be attended to.

    You would think that at Journalism programs there would be some mild attempts to deal with these problems, the worst of which is overpowering cynicism.

    I am now engaged in a Special Project which I find valuable, even if many are angling for another holiday.

    Here is my challenge to the wretched mag: have your writers read The NYT for a month on education so as to have a discussion at the end. Pay attention to language: the COBUILD English Grammar and the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English should be official for your operations.

    Well, we are just helpless. That is the tacit message.

    The other elements of my Special Project include “Hitler’s Hangman: The Life and Death of Reinhard Heydrich,” by Robert Gerwarth, and the novel on Heydrich, “HHhH,” by Laurent Binet.

    The idea is that at the end of the Special Project, we would have to be able to have an intelligent discussion about its elements, the 30 days of The NYT on education, COBUILD, LDOCE, Gerwarth, and Binet. Not having anything of value to say would mean the inconvenience of being fired.