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Tag: politics

My Year of Bookish Wisdom: 2020

My Year of Bookish Wisdom 2020: Superlatives on Strike! You heard it here first: I am predicting that, in 2021, superlatives in every language around the world will join together in a globe-spanning strike. 2020 was just too much––they can’t take it anymore. “Worst” just collapsed from exhaustion and has been confined to quarters, “hardest” [...]

Review: Carl Rogers’s “On Becoming a Person”

When I decided to pursue a career in counseling, a mentor recommended Carl Rogers as one of the key historical figures in the development of modern psychotherapy. On Becoming a Person is a collection of essays originally published between 1951 and 1961, each presenting a portion of Rogers’s insights from over thirty years of counseling and psychological [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: December 4th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. No fancy language or poetic notions as I open today’s pandemic journal––just cold, hard facts. After about eight months of successful suppression, COVID-19 has finally come to Humboldt in earnest. November was by far our worst month since the pandemic began, with our [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: October 28th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. In February, a month before the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life in America and around the world, I spent the better part of a week in Sonoma County and the Bay Area. I was there to share time and music with some of [...]

Review: Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s “Big Friendship”

Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s Big Friendship is a little book with a lot of heart. Having written an essay on the nature of friendship last year, this is a topic about which I am very passionate. Sow and Friedman’s take on the subject is energetic, and in its best moments manages to also be profound. I’ll [...]

Review: Madeleine Thien’s “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”

In his 2011 book Confucian Role Ethics, philosopher Roger T. Ames reflects on the relationship between individual identity, family dynamics, and music in the Confucian tradition: The timelessness and broad appeal of the teachings of Confucius begins from the insight that the life of almost every human being, regardless of where or when, is played out within [...]

Review: Charles Wheelan’s “Naked Statistics”

Charles Wheelan’s Naked Statistics provides a serviceable summary of a field most people don’t properly understand and often misinterpret. “The paradox of statistics,” Wheelan writes, “is that they are everywhere––from batting averages to presidential polls––but the discipline itself has a reputation for being uninteresting and inaccessible” (xii). He makes a spirited though imperfect effort to resolve this paradox [...]

Notes From a Pandemic: September 18th, 2020

Greetings, dear friends of the present and curious citizens of the future. It’s still dark out as I type these words, but a few minutes ago I heard a sound I’ve been longing for since June: raindrops pattering on the roof above my head. It’s probably just a momentary shower, but it’s the first earnest [...]

(De)Liberation: John Dewey’s “Human Nature and Conduct” in the 21st Century

Author’s Note: This essay was originally published as a three-part series by Science and Philosophy on Medium (see posts here, here, and here). This is the original unedited version, which includes an additional section in Part Three that I edited out when submitting for publication. Introduction: (De)Liberation in Times of Crisis In 1918, the world was reeling from [...]

Review: Ada Palmer’s “The Will to Battle”

The Will to Battle, the penultimate installment of Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota Quartet, is somewhat stranger than its predecessors but every bit as brilliant and entertaining. It’s an in-between tale––a bridge from one place to another. Such stories always run the risk of being needlessly convoluted or just tiresome, but Palmer manages to keep the pacing and [...]